Kyle Busch and other Toyota drivers comment on Daytona Duels

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Kyle Busch won the second Daytona Duel race today, Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth and Mark Martin finished 4th, 5th and 6th.

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Duel 2 Finishing Position: 1st

What did you learn on the track today? "It's hard to pass the leader. Just stay out front when you can get out front and you can run pretty good and just try to hold everybody off behind you. There wasn't enough lane by lane racing -- I'd call it -- here. But, it's awesome to be able to put the M&M's Camry in victory lane. You use those tools to your advantage as best you can when you learn what's going on with the races around you. I can't say enough about everybody at M&M's, Interstate Batteries, Toyota, Sprint -- thank Sprint for being here. Appreciate those guys. It's great to refresh here with a Monster Energy and cool that the fans come out here to watch the Budweiser Duels today. We appreciate them and everybody out there on TV."

Victory lane: race winner Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota celebrates
Victory lane: race winner Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota celebrates

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Were you having trouble advancing your position when you went to the bottom of the race track? "Oh yeah, definitely. I think we saw a lot of that with the 27 (Paul Menard) car trying to make the bottom come up. Never could get it to go. But, I tried it there that one time -- everybody was checking up, getting into the corners and I knew there wasn't a gap for me to get back in but I was like, 'Well, maybe if I side draft the 31 (Jeff Burton) enough I can pull him back and I can get up in line and start making moves that way.' But, it didn't work like that. I didn't have much to lose. I only had two cars that were behind me to single me out to push me backwards so I figured what the heck? I might as well give it a try and see what happens. Coming to pit road there, that is what won us the race. Just being able to beat those guys, over-braking them getting into the pits and not sliding any tires so we could take that advantage to not have to take any tires under the pit stop. Dave Rogers (crew chief) made a great call there to just take fuel only and get us out front and had a great teammate behind me pushing me with Matt Kenseth there at the end. Just trying to go down in order. I know he didn't get second so he could start behind in the 500, but those guys behind him got a little bit antsy."

What happened on the final lap? "I was hoping it would go down in order and I knew those guys back there were probably thinking, 'Okay, those two are just going to stay single file so they knew Matt (Kenseth) wasn't going to make the move. I was hoping Matt was mirror driving just as much as I was to see if he couldn't keep those guys behind him and then I would go wherever he needed to go to protect his position. Just didn't work out. Once those guys got by Matt, I just basically concentrated on what was going on in my mirror and seeing what those guys were doing to make sure that we could bring this M&M's Camry home first. Can't say enough about everybody at M&M's, Interstate Batteries, Monster Energy, Toyota, the fans -- we appreciate their support here being out here today on Thursday. It's a long SpeedWeek's so it's always fun to be able to have everybody here."

Was the plan to not take any tires on your pit stop? "That was not our original plan. Our original plan was two tires, but he (Dave Rogers, crew chief) called it. They were just harping on me to make sure, don't slide your tires. Because you don't want to slide a left front (tire) and then have to take four. So, when I came down I got a good braking mark and I got slowed down and started to slow down nice and smooth and then Marcos (Ambrose) was locked up in front of me sliding all of the tires so I had to go around him. So, I felt like I got a really good pit road entry. I felt like I ran good pit road speed all of the way down pit road and getting into my box was great. The guys just filled the tank for five seconds. It's all we needed and we ended up back here. We got out front where it mattered most and got teamed up with a couple of Toyota's which was great. Can't say enough about my teammate Matt Kenseth. He was a great push today and helped me out a lot in being able to keep those guys back there. I wish we could've come home one-two for the Coach (Joe Gibbs)."

MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 26 Sandy Hook School Support Fund Toyota Camry, Swan Racing Duel 1 Finishing Position: 14th

What happened on the final laps? "We had a really good car and I was just taking my time. I knew I was in good shape and Denny (Hamlin) pulled in behind me and we began running the leaders down and I was passing Carl (Edwards) and I don't know what happened. Denny was sort of running the show from behind and he said, 'Pass him when you get to him. Don't ride in line. I'm helping you. You help me.' And, I went around the outside of Carl and then they crashed. So, I'll find out from Denny what happened. But, then the last couple laps I know now why Saturday night (Greg) Biffle and (Kevin) Harvick were up front. Man, those cars are fast -- especially Biffle. We had him lined up. He was in trouble and he was just strong enough to sit there and hang on and finally the whole gang came and we lost all of our momentum and finished 15th. It was a good day. We needed to make it for the folks in Newtown, Connecticut. We wanted to have something for them to smile about on Sunday and now they do."

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Duel 1 Finishing Position: 19th

What happened to the side of your car? "The side window flew out on the last lap, so I don't know what happened. The latches came undone with 20 (laps) or so to go and we're trying to figure out if the latches came undone first or if the window tray there broke and made the latches come loose. The window was banging around for a while. I'm surprised it stayed in as long as it did. I hope we get to keep our starting spot, because it flew out on the last lap and there was no chance for us to pit and fix it. We'll just have to wait and see what NASCAR says."

How was your race? "The race was fine. Our car handles really well and that's something that's really good for us. It's really handled well all week. We just need to work on speed a little bit. There's some guys out there at the end of the race when it comes down to it that can make some big moves and I just kind of got to stay in line and try to help somebody and stay with them. So, need to work on the speed of the car."

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Duel 1 Finishing Position: 20th

What happened in the accident? "We got in a five-car pack and we came up on I think the 13 (Casey Mears) and the 99 (Carl Edwards) and I think they were trying to figure out a way to keep us back there and stop our momentum. We all had a big head of steam up top. The 99 just came up a hair and I came down a little bit and really once I got the right-rear, I got loose and turned him and got the 21 (Trevor Bayne) involved. It's a tough deal. I had, what I think, was one of the tightest cars out there -- it was handling really well. It just shows you that any kind of bad aero position you put yourself in, your car can be vulnerable."

How bad is the damage to your car? "Fortunately, for us we just have to replace half the nose -- this car will be fine. Hit nothing in the steering. Just looking for more side-by-side racing hopefully in the 500. Obviously guys running the top line single file in the first Duel will probably set the tone for that type of racing in the second."

Will you race the same car in Sunday's Daytona 500? "We still are going to be racing the same car in the 500 -- that part of it is good. We know our car was handling really, really well -- almost too well to where we couldn't get guys to stay close to us in the corners. This will be better once we get more cars out there, but I think for right now we were hoping to get a top- three or four finish there in that Duel and ended up wrecked."

What do you expect the racing to be like in the Daytona 500? "It's tough to say. These positions that these cars are getting in are really putting the cars in vulnerable spots. We saw that you really can't get close to each other side-by-side in the corners because if one of the cars gets loose every time just about, that's something you really have to be aware of moving forward.'

CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Duel 2 Finishing Position: 4th

How was your race today? "It was interesting. I had some good runs. My car was strong in areas and not so strong in others. It enabled me to get a run, but then I couldn't complete the pass on somebody. I was wanting (Ricky) Stenhouse to get going on that bottom line. I had a feeling that once it kind of spread out there, the shortest way around would get to be the fastest way around again. We could get up to them and then we would fizzle out. Just learned a little bit. We needed more cars up there in that pack to create those runs. You get a run, but without help you don't get to complete it. But hey, it's still in one piece, it's a good car and proud of our 5-hour ENERGY Toyota guys -- they are doing a great job and we are ready for the (Daytona) 500."

Are you pleased to finish with the race car intact? "That's your best bullet. If it wasn't, it wouldn't be first in line. I guess there is two more opportunities to tear it up so I shouldn't speak too soon -- shouldn't put the cart in front of the horse. Nonetheless, it's been a good week. I finally got to draft a little bit so I was excited about that."

MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Duel 2 Finishing Position: 5th

How was your race today? "Overall it was pretty good -- I'm disappointed right now because we were running second on the last lap and finished fifth. I think we need to work on our handling a little bit. Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) made a great call -- the 18 (Kyle Busch) and the 15 (Clint Bowyer) -- we all got together. Thought we had most of the right moves -- I just seen the 5 (Kasey Kahne) and them mount a challenge and couldn't really do anything about it. I knew what he was going to do, I just couldn't get a block."

What happened on the last lap? "I saw the 5 (Kasey Kahne) coming and knew he had a big run -- knew he would make a run to the inside sooner or later. Typically, the outside has been better. I knew he was going to make a run -- I just wanted to make ours and maybe go with him. I thought we'd be okay -- we had 15 (Clint Bowyer) and 55 (Mark Martin) coming to the top and then they went left and got by me as well. I was the only one stuck out there so I knew I was in trouble."

What kind of differences do you see now with the new car? "There's some differences with them and there's some things you want to do and some things you don't want to do with them so they are different. There's times where it's easy to pass a car and there's other times where it seems like it's tough to get enough people to make anything happen. Overall, today was a success. We've got something we can work on -- it's in one piece and we just need to make it a little better for Sunday."

MARK MARTIN, No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Duel 2 Finishing Position: 6th

What were you able to learn in the race? "We've got some more work to do, but we were in contact with the leaders throughout the race, especially at the end. If we can do that in the (Daytona) 500 then anything can happen. We've got a little work to do to be a little better. We weren't quite good enough to contend yet, but we're getting there."

Toyota Motorsports

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Race report
Tags busch, daytona, gibbs, hamlin, kenseth, martin, nascar-ns, toyota, truex, waltrip