A statistical look ahead to the opening race of the Contender Round RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Below is a look at the 12 Contenders – and beyond – at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas going into the Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday, October 5. Coverage begins on ESPN at 1 p.m. ET and the race is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET. KANSAS-SPECIFIC STATISTICS 1 - Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 105.0 2014 Rundown • Five wins, 13 top fives, 16 top 10s; five poles • Average finish of 12.4 • Led 23 races for 1,496 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • One win, two top fives, four top 10s • Average finish of 10.6 in nine races • Average Running Position of 13.8, 10th-best • Driver Rating of 89.2, 11th-best 2 - Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 106.5 2014 Rundown • Four wins, 13 top fives, 18 top 10s; one pole • Average finish of 12.2 • Led 19 races for 794 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • Two top fives, two top 10s • Average finish of 21.7 in 10 races • Average Running Position of 20.3, 24th-best • Driver Rating of 73.2, 21st-best 3 - Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 108.8 2014 Rundown • Two wins, 10 top fives, 15 top 10s; seven poles • Average finish of 14.0 • Led 21 races for 1,592 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • One win, three top fives, eight top 10s; two poles • Average finish of 11.5 in 17 races • Average Running Position of 11.8, seventh-best • Driver Rating of 99.1, fifth-best • 202 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most • Series-high 969 Green Flag Passes • 468 Quality Passes, fifth-most 4 - Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 100.8 2014 Rundown • Three wins, 10 top fives, 18 top 10s; one pole • Average finish of 13.4 • Led 15 races for 1,035 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • Two wins, six top fives, 14 top 10s; three poles • Average finish of 7.6 in 16 races • Series-best Average Running Position of 7.5 • Series-best Driver Rating of 117.4 • Series-high 478 Fastest Laps Run • Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 167.549 mph • Series-high 3,042 Laps in the Top 15 (89.0%) • Series-high 614 Quality Passes 5 - Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 110.4 2014 Rundown • Four wins, 11 top fives, 19 top 10s; two poles • Average finish of 10.0 • Led 20 races for 665 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • Three wins, 10 top fives, 12 top 10s • Average finish of 10.1 in 17 races • Average Running Position of 9.7, third-best • Driver Rating of 101.1, fourth-best • 147 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most • 2,878 Laps in the Top 15 (84.2%), second-most • 536 Quality Passes, second-most 6 - Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M’s Toyota) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.6 2014 Rundown • One win, six top fives, 12 top 10s; two poles • Average finish of 17.1 • Led 13 races for 411 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • Two top 10s • Average finish of 22.7 in 14 races • Average Running Position of 18.7, 19th-best • Driver Rating of 76.8, 19th-best • 864 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most • 404 Quality Passes, 11th-most 7 - Dale Earnhardt Jr . (No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 97.2 2014 Rundown • Three wins, 11 top fives, 17 top 10s • Average finish of 11.0 • Led 12 races for 220 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • Two top fives, eight top 10s; one pole • Average finish of 15.2 in 16 races • Average Running Position of 14.5, 12th-best • Driver Rating of 91.5, ninth-best • 108 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-most • 855 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most • Average Green Flag Speed of 166.627 mph, eighth-fastest • 1,981 Laps in the Top 15 (62.8%), 10th-most • 424 Quality Passes, eighth-most 8 - Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 93.5 2014 Rundown • 11 top fives, 18 top 10s; one pole • Average finish of 13.8 • Led 17 races for 467 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • Two wins, six top fives, 10 top 10s; two poles • Average finish of 14.3 in 17 races • Average Running Position of 10.4, fourth-best • Driver Rating of 107.4, second-best • 235 Fastest Laps Run, second-most • Average Green Flag Speed of 166.855 mph, third-fastest • 2,623 Laps in the Top 15 (76.7%), fourth-most • 418 Quality Passes, ninth-most 9 - Ryan Newman (No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 85.1 2014 Rundown • Two top fives, 11 top 10s • Average finish of 14.0 • Led 4 races for 24 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • One win, three top fives, four top 10s • Average finish of 18.7 in 17 races • Average Running Position of 20.6, 25th-best • Driver Rating of 69.6, 25th-best • 908 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most 10 - Carl Edwards (No. 99 Fastenal Ford) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 82.5 2014 Rundown • Two wins, six top fives, 11 top 10s • Average finish of 14.8 • Led 10 races for 134 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • Five top fives, 10 top 10s • Average finish of 10.5 in 14 races • Average Running Position of 12.1, eighth-best • Driver Rating of 97.1, seventh-best • 131 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most • 877 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most • Average Green Flag Speed of 166.689 mph, seventh-fastest • 2,352 Laps in the Top 15 (68.8%), sixth-most • 493 Quality Passes, fourth-most 11 - Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.8 2014 Rundown • One win, six top fives, 12 top 10s; two poles • Average finish of 15.5 • Led 12 races for 195 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • One win, three top fives, three top 10s • Average finish of 15.1 in 12 races • Average Running Position of 14.3, 11th-best • Driver Rating of 87.7, 14th-best • 69 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-most • 2,002 Laps in the Top 15 (63.5%), ninth-most • 399 Quality Passes, 12th-most 12 - Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 88.7 2014 Rundown • One win, three top fives, 10 top 10s • Average finish of 16.5 • Led 10 races for 204 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • Four top fives, seven top 10s; three poles • Average finish of 13.2 in 14 races • Average Running Position of 13.6, ninth-best • Driver Rating of 93.0, eighth-best • 147 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most • 939 Green Flag Passes, second-most • Average Green Flag Speed of 166.619 mph, ninth-fastest • 2,208 Laps in the Top 15 (64.6%), seventh-most • 436 Quality Passes, sixth-most 13 - AJ Allmendinger (No. 47 Clorox Chevrolet) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 70.1 2014 Rundown • One win, two top fives, four top 10s • Average finish of 20.7 • Led 5 races for 68 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • Two top 10s; one pole • Average finish of 22.8 in nine races • Average Running Position of 22.7, 27th-best • Driver Rating of 68.2, 26th-best 14 - Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 86.5 2014 Rundown • One win, six top fives, eight top 10s • Average finish of 19.3 • Led 11 races for 181 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • One top five, four top 10s; one pole • Average finish of 17.6 in 17 races • Average Running Position of 14.9, 14th-best • Driver Rating of 87.3, 16th-best • 121 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most • 923 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most • 1,980 Laps in the Top 15 (57.9%), 11th-most • 405 Quality Passes, 10th-most 15 - Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Filtrete Ford) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 79.4 2014 Rundown • Three top fives, 10 top 10s • Average finish of 15.8 • Led 6 races for 109 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • Two wins, seven top fives, nine top 10s; one pole • Average finish of 10.7 in 16 races • Average Running Position of 9.5, second-best • Driver Rating of 104.7, third-best • 205 Fastest Laps Run, third-most • 837 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most • Average Green Flag Speed of 166.836 mph, fourth-fastest • 2,755 Laps in the Top 15 (80.6%), third-most • 506 Quality Passes, third-most 16 - Aric Almirola (No. 43 Farmland Ford) • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 73.5 2014 Rundown • One win, two top fives, seven top 10s • Average finish of 20.6 • Led 5 races for 23 laps Kansas Speedway Outlook: • Three top 10s • Average finish of 15.6 in five races • Average Running Position of 15.3, 15th-best • Driver Rating of 88.1, 13th-best • Average Green Flag Speed of 166.561 mph, 11th-fastest The 12 Challengers at Kansas Speedway Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Brad Keselowski 9 0 1 2 4 0 10.6 89.2 2 Joey Logano 10 0 0 2 2 1 21.7 73.2 3 Kevin Harvick 17 2 1 3 8 1 11.5 99.1 4 Jimmie Johnson 16 3 2 6 14 1 7.6 117.4 5 Jeff Gordon 17 0 3 10 12 2 10.1 101.1 6 Kyle Busch 14 0 0 0 2 4 22.7 76.8 7 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 16 1 0 2 8 2 15.2 91.5 8 Matt Kenseth 17 2 2 6 10 2 14.3 107.4 9 Ryan Newman 17 0 1 3 4 3 18.7 69.6 10 Carl Edwards 14 0 0 5 10 1 10.5 97.1 11 Denny Hamlin 12 0 1 3 3 0 15.1 87.7 12 Kasey Kahne 14 3 0 4 7 1 13.2 93 * – Based on last 13 races at Kansas Speedway . Kansas Speedway: History · Groundbreaking was held on May 25, 1999. · The official opening of Kansas Speedway was in 2001, with the first events being an ARCA race and a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race on the same day – June 2. · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was on Sept. 30, 2001 – won by Jeff Gordon . · During the 2012 season, between the April and October events the 1.5-mile track underwent a repave adding variable banking in the corners. Notebook · There have been 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway , one NSCS event from 2001 - 2010 and two races per year since 2011. · 116 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas; 86 in more than one. · Five drivers have started all 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway – Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch , Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman . · Jason Leffler won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Kansas Speedway in 2001 with a speed of 176.499 mph. · 11 drivers have Coors Light poles at Kansas, led by Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne with three each. · Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick are the only two drivers to win consecutive Coors Light poles at Kansas Speedway (Johnson – 2007, 2008 and Harvick – fall 2013, spring 2014). · Youngest Kansas pole winner: Jason Leffler (09/30/2001 – 26 years, 0 months, 14 days). · Oldest Kansas pole winner: Mark Martin (10/04/2009 – 50 years, 8 months, 25 days). · 11 different drivers have won at Kansas Speedway , led by Jeff Gordon with three. · Hendrick Motorsports leads the series in wins at Kansas with five: Jeff Gordon (three) and Jimmie Johnson (two). · Chevrolet leads the series in wins at Kansas with nine victories; followed by Ford with four wins. · Four of the 17 (23.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway have been won from the Coors Light pole; Joe Nemechek (2004), Jimmie Johnson (2008), Matt Kenseth (spring 2013) and Kevin Harvick (fall 2013). · Five of the 17 (29.4%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway have been won from the front row: four from the pole and one from second-place. · 10 of the 17 (58.8%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Kansas Speedway have been won from a top-10 starting position. · Two of the 17 (11.7%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway have been won from a starting position outside the top 20. · The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Kansas Speedway was 25th, by Brad Keselowski in the spring of 2011. · Youngest Kansas winner: Ryan Newman (10/05/2003 – 25 years, 9 months, 27 days). · Oldest Kansas winner: Mark Martin (10/09/2005 – 46 years, 9 months, 0 days). · Martin Truex Jr., Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman are tied for the series most runner-up finishes at Kansas Speedway with two each. · Jeff Gordon leads the series in top-five finishes at Kansas Speedway with 10; followed by Greg Biffle with seven. · Jimmie Johnson leads the series in top-10 finishes at Kansas Speedway with 14; followed by Jeff Gordon (12), Edwards, Kenseth each have 10. · Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Kansas Speedway with an 11.000. · Jimmie Johnson (7.625) leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at Kansas Speedway – he is the only driver with an average finish in the top-10 at Kansas. · There has been one NSCS race resulting with a green-white-checkered finish at Kansas Speedway : fall of 2011 (267/272). · Only one of the 16 races at Kansas Speedway has been shortened due to weather conditions: fall of 2007. · Qualifying has never been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Kansas Speedway . · Denny Hamlin has participated in the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway without posting a DNF (12). · 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion and 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Austin Dillon (10/09/2011) and Denny Hamlin (10/09/2005) made their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career starts at Kansas Speedway . · Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth are the only two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers that have posted consecutive wins at Kansas Speedway : Gordon (2001 and 2002 – the first two NSCS events at Kansas) and Kenseth (fall of 2012, spring of 2013). · Nine of the 10 active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners at Kansas Speedway participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Jeff Gordon won at Kansas in his first appearance. · Kevin Harvick competed at Kansas Speedway 15 times before winning last fall; the longest span of any the 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners at Kansas. · Kevin Harvick (15) and Matt Kenseth (13) have made 10 or more attempts before their first win at Kansas Speedway . · Kurt Busch leads the series with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Kansas Speedway without visiting Victory Lane at 17. · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Kansas Speedway was the (10/10/2004) race won by Joe Nemechek with a MOV of 0.081 second. · Jimmie Johnson leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Kansas Speedway with 586 laps led in 16 starts. · Danica Patrick is the only female driver that has competed at Kansas Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Driver Starting Position Finishing Position Date Danica Patrick 40 32 10/21/2012 Danica Patrick 25 25 4/21/2013 Danica Patrick 29 43 10/6/2013 Danica Patrick 9 7 5/10/2014 NASCAR in Kansas · There have been 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup races in Kansas. Track Name City NSCS Kansas Speedway Kansas City 17 · 17 drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Kansas. · Two drivers from Kansas have won at least one race in NASCAR’s three national series; both have won in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Driver NSCS NNS NCWTS Clint Bowyer 8 8 3 Jim Roper 1 0 0 MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Take a moving look back at the NASCAR career of Jason Leffler .
Jason Leffler , driving for KBM, gets caught up in a crash early in Daytona, taking him out of the race.
Elliott Sadler cuts the dogleg and Jason Leffler turns the No. 2, putting a major dent in Sadler's championship chances.
Jason Leffler spins in Turn 4 after battling with Joey Coulter.
Hundreds of friends and family attended Jason Leffler's memorial service on Wednesday to celebrate his life and racing career.
Frontrunner Jason Leffler is sent to the garage after problems under the hood of the No. 18.
Friends recall the racer, the father, the free spirit who continues to touch lives
Sprint Cup stars Kahne, Tony Stewart part of 'great tribute' to late driver
First decade in NASCAR includes five driver titles, nearly 300 wins RELATED: Enter Chase Grid Live Sweepstakes " Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today The words came loud and fast over the public address system. "Who wants to see Chevy win today?" the announcer screamed, drawing plenty of cheers from the crowd assembled at Michigan International Speedway . "Who wants to see Ford win?" More cheers. The fans, it seemed, were split. And then came something new, as the crowd was asked how many were hoping for a Toyota victory at the 2-mile track. "You heard a lot of noise. Yeah, we were not the most popular manufacturer at Michigan," recalled Dave Wilson, president and general manager for Toyota Racing Development, USA. "But to win there was really special." The year was 2004, and it was the debut season for Toyota, the newest automaker in one of NASCAR's top three national series. Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford teams competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series suddenly found a newcomer in their midst. They soon found a newcomer in Victory Lane as well, as Travis Kvapil , competing for Bang Racing, won the Line-X Spray-On Truck Bedliners 200 that July day at MIS. It was the first victory for Toyota in one of NASCAR's three national series. By season's end, the manufacturer had been to Victory Lane three more times. The following year, Toyota teams scored nine more victories, and in 2006, Todd Bodine claimed the series' championship with Germain Racing. Toyota also clinched its first manufacturer's title. But long before the championships, and likely even before Kvapil's win, the question was already being raised. "The icing on the cake, once we started racing in the Truck Series," Wilson said, "was when we started hearing from our own (TRD) team members and from the folks at the plant, from dealers -- and what they were saying was 'this is awesome; when are we going to go Cup racing? When are we going to go to the Show?' " It wasn't a "foregone conclusion" that Toyota would eventually begin supporting teams at the Sprint Cup level, he said. "We thought we would. We aspired to. We had to sell it into our management group that this was the right place for us." Ten years after its debut, it's a question that's no longer asked. Bang Racing's Travis Kvapil and members of Toyota Racing Development celebrate the manufacturer's first NASCAR national series at Michigan International Speedway in 2004 following a win with his Toyota Tundra in the Camping World Truck Series Courtesy of Toyota Racing • • • Two concerns hung over Toyota as it prepared to launch its NASCAR program. The first, coming from outside the company, was that the hugely successful group would simply come into the sport with an open wallet and purchase the best teams, drivers and crews. However, Toyota officials took just the opposite approach, in most cases reaching out to those who were interested in starting brand-new teams and building from the ground up. According to reports at the time, as many as 84 potential and existing teams either were courted by Toyota officials, or approached Toyota themselves as the automaker prepared to enter the Truck Series. Eventually, only four organizations were chosen -- Bang Racing, Darrell Waltrip Motorsports, Innovative Motorsports and Bill Davis Racing. That might have quelled some concerns, but it also meant the newest player would face tremendous growing pains. Two of the first four organizations, Bang Racing and Innovative Motorsports, would last only through that inaugural season. "They didn't want to buy their way into the sport; they wanted to have new owners," said Michael Waltrip , younger brother of Darrell and one of the first Sprint Cup team owners with Toyota backing. "They wanted to help grow the sport, and I think their presence here has grown the sport immensely. Not only new car owners like myself, but new fans, a different demographic of people who maybe drove Toyotas started watching NASCAR and maybe folks that were NASCAR fans decided that they thought it would be OK to drive a Toyota since Toyota was here." The second concern came from within -- building acceptance in what is still considered a uniquely American sport. Toyota officials knew there would be some backlash from some fans. "We did a lot of research," Wilson said. "We talked to a lot of fans before we ever turned a wheel in this sport. Our management was very sensitive to how we overcome this potential resistance that the fan base may have to a 'foreign' company. "We had a certain reputation, whether it was perception or real, that we would come into the sport and spend too much money, that we would ruin the sport." Coming in through the Truck Series, he said, gave the company a chance "to just start building those relationships. Not just within the NASCAR community but within the NASCAR fan community." Tom DeLoach, owner of Red Horse Racing, said the brand was "kind of semi-loved and kind of semi-unloved" when it arrived on the scene. DeLoach, who had been a co-owner of a Sprint Cup team before making the move into the Truck Series, had years of experience in working with global companies during his tenure with Mobil. "I worked internationally so I appreciate the international piece. When Mobil went into Formula One racing, we married up with Mercedes. So for me, an international manufacturer, I'm fine with it, because I see that we're in the international economy. So let's don't get all bent out of shape because of American vs. non-American. "You look at where the jobs are, where they build the cars, where you create the jobs. And if you go back and look at what Toyota's done, it was a lot of noise, but when you cut through the noise, it's 'Hey, the jobs are in the United States.' They build a lot of cars in the United States. That creates a lot of jobs in the United States. That always frustrated me when I saw that." In 2013, Matt Crafton (ThorSport Racing) became the third Toyota driver to win the Truck Series title. It was his first title and the manufacturer also won its sixth championship. Crafton, whose teams fielded Chevrolet entries until making the switch in 2012, said he saw first-hand what the addition of Toyota brought to the series, and to NASCAR. "I was on the other side of the fence at that point," Crafton said. "One of the things ... I had seen was in the previous seasons before Toyota came in, the other manufacturers had pulled back so much. We didn't get hardly anything. They did help us a little, but not much. As soon as Toyota came in, (the other manufacturers) stepped it up. Because they didn't want to have the new kid on the block come in and beat them up. I saw that. It was huge. "Even when I wasn't driving for Toyota, I said it was great because it made everyone else step up their support." Jason Leffler drives his Braun Racing NASCAR Nationwide Series Toyota Camry to victory in 2007 at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis for the manufacturer's first Nationwide win. Courtesy of Toyota Racing • • • The 2007 racing season was one of change for NASCAR. Not only was the Sprint Cup Series debuting a new car, labeled the Car of Tomorrow, for the first time, but Toyota was joining the ranks of Nationwide and Sprint Cup teams as well. The company's approach hadn't changed -- find new owners and build from the ground up. For Sprint Cup, that meant aligning with Michael Waltrip Racing and Red Bull Racing. A third team, Bill Davis Racing, was the lone group already in the sport, and made the switch from Dodge to Toyota. "They paid a price for that (approach)," said MWR driver Brian Vickers . "It took a while for teams like Red Bull and MWR to really get going. But ... I think they earned a lot of respect for doing that, and if they didn't, they should have. Anyone that didn't respect that just probably wasn't ... you weren't going to get them anyway. Their mind was already made up." While Toyota teams had 13 victories and won 17 poles in the Truck Series in '07, as well as a pair of wins and four poles in Nationwide, the Sprint Cup efforts produced only a pair of top-five finishes. But from a timing standpoint, the move into Nationwide and Cup was on target, according to Wilson. "This was us working in concert with NASCAR," he said. "We had a timeline. We came into Nationwide and Cup in the same year. I remember having the conversation with NASCAR; there may have been a consideration to push our entry back one year because ... the COT came on board (that year). "It would have been cleaner, and less expensive for us, to come in in 2008. But NASCAR wanted us there in '07. We wanted to be there in '07. But it really came together pretty much as we hoped it would." Then, in 2008, Toyota added another team to its roster -- Joe Gibbs Racing . Four races into the new season, JGR driver Kyle Busch scored the first Sprint Cup victory for Toyota, winning the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway . "That was special," Wilson said. "It was first Cup win, that's a given, but really behind that, what makes it special is that Joe Gibbs, his family, his organization, they took a leap of faith. This is an organization that had already won three national championships with Chevy, had been with Chevy for 14 years. Certainly through 2007, we hadn't established ourselves; we were learning, learning about what it was going to take to win. "To have that validation, to put those guys in the winner's circle, I think Kyle won eight races that year, there was a tremendous sense of validation with that." For Gibbs, the switch from Chevrolet to Toyota wasn't made in haste. The team owner is fiercely loyal to the organization's sponsors, and aligning with Toyota was a huge move. "I think what made it difficult was we had 15 years with GM," said Gibbs. "You go through so many things when you're in a racing program -- there are extreme highs, extreme lows, you win championships. So you develop all those relationships and partnerships, so it's hard when you've got to make a decision like that. "But we felt like after analyzing it, if you really look at the lineup inside GM, Rick Hendrick ( Hendrick Motorsports ) was in there and had won championships, Childress ( Richard Childress Racing ) had won many championships, and had been there longer than we had. We felt like moving to Toyota -- this is a very competitive world -- it gave us a better chance to distinguish ourselves and maybe be an elite team for a manufacturer that racing means a lot to. "Certainly I think this partnership for us has been great. It was the right decision; we all feel that, way, a hard one but the right one." Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch celebrates Toyota's first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory in 2008 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Courtesy of Getty Images • • • Today, Toyota supports seven organizations fielding 18 teams in one or more of NASCAR's top series -- Sprint Cup, Nationwide and the Camping World Truck Series. In 10 years, those teams have combined for 281 victories, five driver championships and nine manufacturer titles. Although they've yet to walk away with the biggest prize, a Sprint Cup championship, Toyota drivers have finished second in the standings three times in the last four years. "This isn't something we try on for size," Wilson said. "NASCAR isn't going away. For us, where I knew that we did our job in getting that understanding is 2004, our first in the Truck Series, ... at the time our president Mr. (Yukitoshi) Funo coined the phrase that we will be in NASCAR for 100 years. "It's a figurative statement. ... It's an understanding of the sport and it's an understanding of the cultural relevance that the sport has in this country. It has nothing to do with whether we stay or go but as long as NASCAR is around, we're going to be around. That's very much the mentality." Oh you know just hanging out @toyotaracing pitpass waiting for @BubbaWallace #ItsBristolBaby pic.twitter.com/0w2RqFPME1 — Megan (@mnreed6) August 20, 2014 • First season of competition: 2007 • First pole: July 1, 2007, Dave Blaney, Bill Davis Racing, New Hampshire Motor Speedway • First win: March 9, 2008, Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Atlanta Motor Speedway • Driver championships: 0 • Manufacturer championships: 0 • Wins in series: 65 (through Sept. 3, 2014) • First season of competition: 2007 • First pole: Feb. 24, 2007, Dave Blaney, Braun Racing, Auto Club Speedway • First win: July 28, 2007, Jason Leffler , Braun Racing, O'Reilly Raceway Park (Indianapolis) • Driver championships: 1 (Kyle Busch, 2009) • Manufacturer championships: 3 (2008, '09, '10) • Wins in series: 93 (through Sept. 3, 2014) • First season of competition: 2004 • First pole: March 13, 2004, David Reutimann, Darrell Waltrip Motorsports, Atlanta Motor Speedway • First win: July 31, 2004, Travis Kvapil, Bang Racing, Michigan International Speedway • Driver championships: 4 (Todd Bodine, 2006, '10; Johnny Benson, '08; Matt Crafton, '13) • Manufacturer championships: 6 ('06, '07, '08, '09, '10, '13) • Wins in series: 123 (through Sept. 3, 2014)