12 March 2008
TOYOTA SPRINTS TO CUP 1-2
Kyle Busch secured Toyota its first NASCAR Sprint Cup victory during the company's 40th race in NASCAR's top tier, meaning Toyota is the first foreign manufacturer to win a Cup race in more than 50 years.
Busch led home Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) team-mate Tony Stewart to make it a Camry 1-2 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the fifth round of the 2008 championship.
"This is a date that will forever go down in the history of Toyota Motorsports," TRD president and CEO Jim Aust told NASCAR.com.
"And we look at it, certainly, as one of many to come. It's obviously a historic day for Toyota to get the first Sprint Cup win of our short career. Certainly, we were looking at that possibility last year, but it was a learning year."
The win caps off a stunning reversal of form for Toyota in just its second year of Cup racing.
Multi-championship-winning JGR switched to Toyota in the off-season, bringing years of invaluable experience to Toyota's fledgling Cup program.
JGR driver Denny Hamlin scored a win in the second of two qualifying races at the season-opening Daytona 500, but team-mates Busch and Stewart have been in contention for a win at every round this season.
"When you take a look at what JGR has in their trio of drivers, any one of those guys is capable of winning three or four races a year," Aust said.
"So you add those numbers up by themselves, and my forecast was eight or nine wins for the year. And I'd like for that to come true by the end of the season."
Busch leads the Cup standings, and in a stellar weekend for the young driver he also won the Atlanta Truck Series race in a Toyota Tundra, retaining his lead in the third-tier series.
Team Red Bull driver Brian Vickers finished ninth in the Atlanta Cup race and now lies ninth overall.
Vickers' performance highlights the second-year team's improvement compared to last season, when it struggled to qualify for the early season races.
Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series teams now head to Bristol for next weekend's round of racing, while the Truck Series takes a break until late March when racing will resume at Martinsville.
Kyle Busch celebrates Toyota's first NASCAR Sprint Cup victory with TRD president and CEO Jim Aust.