David Reutimann (fifth) was the highest-finishing Toyota driver in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Daytona International Speedway. Martin Truex Jr. (sixth) also posted a top-10 finish in his first NSCS point's race in a Camry...
David Reutimann (fifth) was the highest-finishing Toyota driver in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Daytona International Speedway.
Martin Truex Jr. (sixth) also posted a top-10 finish in his first NSCS point's race in a Camry for Michael Waltrip Racing.
Other Camry drivers in the 208-lap race at the 2.5-mile superspeedway included Kyle Busch (14th), Brian Vickers (15th), Denny Hamlin (17th), Michael Waltrip (18th), Scott Speed (19th), Joey Logano (20th), Robby Gordon (28th), Michael McDowell (33rd), Max Papis (40th), Marcos Ambrose (41st) and Joe Nemechek (43rd).
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
How was your race today? "It was an up and down day. We weren't the best we didn't feel like at various times, but all in all the car drove good and the guys made good pit stops. We just kind of got up there when it counted. Our car liked the outside so we just kept pounding away on it. Low and behold in the end the bottom seemed to be better for us in that last little bit. It ended up working out. The guys did a good job with good pit stops and it's a good way to start the season."
How did the multiple green-white-checkered attempts affect your race? "Those restarts were just killing us toward the end and we couldn't do anything right and I couldn't get in the right line and things kept getting messed up. Thankfully we got the Aaron's Dream Machine where it needed to be when it counted and it ended up working out pretty well and I had a good run coming to the start-finish. I'm real proud of my guys. I have to thank Aaron's, Tums and Best Western, Toyota and Toyota Racing Development because we had some good horsepower today. Top-five is a good way to start the season out."
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip
How was your race today? "Restarts were wild, I can tell you that. I had a lot of fun out there today in the NAPA Toyota. Proud of the team -- our pit stops were amazing. For our first race together I would say it was an A-plus-plus. I just had a lot of fun. It was what I expected -- a lot of torn up cars, a whole lot of fun and I'm sure the fans got their moneys worth."
What happened between yourself and Kevin Harvick in the second-to-last restart? "(Kevin) Harvick was pushing me and I knew he wasn't going to push me to the win. He was doing what he had to do to win. I felt him pull off of my bumper and I tried to block, but I couldn't get there quick enough. He had me hooked and turning me and turning me and turning me. I just couldn't quite get down in front of him. He was just kind of holding me there. This was an awesome first day out for us. I am looking forward to this year -- it's going to be an awesome one."
How have you meshed with your new team? "They give me a great car. Pat (Tryson, crew chief) does a great job and I've enjoyed working with him so far. Through all the off- season testing and talking about race cars and all the things that we've done -- we've really clicked and hit it off. He's got a great personality and he's easy to get along with. I can pretty much get along with anybody. He brings a lot to the table with his experience and his success. We've had a real fun, laid back week. These guys on pit road have been phenomenal and it's been fun to drive this Toyota."
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How did you see the hole on the race track develop? "It stayed really good for about 15 to 18 laps and then you could see a chunk flying off some of the leader cars -- the 29 (Kevin Harvick) and the 33 (Clint Bowyer) -- the guys running the bottom. You would see just little pieces going and then about five laps ago, I saw it start to develop and five laps later it was back to its same old hole again."
DAVE ROGERS, crew chief, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How did your team perform today? "I think our performance was better than our finish. Kyle (Busch) just said it was tough to pick the right line at the end and this aero package has definitely made it difficult to race. I think even if you're a little bit better than the guy in front of you, if you don't have a lot of help you're not going to make the pass. The Camry could've been better but I don't think it was 14th."
What in particular do you think affects the car with the aero package? "The cars move around a lot with the new additions on the deck lid and the end plates. We know why they were implemented. They were implemented for the right reasons, but still it changed the racing. It just made it very difficult. It definitely equalized the field and it made it very difficult to find an advantage, and if you didn't have a friend you weren't going anywhere. We didn't put it together at the end I guess."
What are your thoughts on the new green-white checker rule? "The way it worked out we were setting ourselves up for four green-white checkers because the first one was within the actual limit of the race. It's tough because the other night when they threw the yellow and the white at the same time I could see -- the fans deserve to see that race conclude under green. Maybe three is too much. Maybe two. I'll go for two."
How was your race today? "We weren't great, we were okay. We just never had the car we wanted. Most of the night we were just really tight. We were hitting the track a lot harder than we had to and we had to put a packer in the right-front, which made it even worse. The car just never would run like it did all week. We had a great car the entire Speed Weeks and yesterday in practice and today it just wasn't the same. We just never could get the track position that we needed."
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How crazy were the final laps tonight with three green-white checkers? "It was definitely crazy. To me, it was kind of confusing on which one was the first, second or third, but I think we ended on the third if I'm not mistaken. We never really end up that good on green-white checkers. For me, we got screwed in the pits really bad. We were going to do what the 42 (Juan Pablo Montoya) did and they lied to us which is their job to try to win the race. And what it did is it got us stuck in a pit stall and we couldn't move. The deal didn't get done. The thing is we committed to four tires and then he (Juan Pablo Montoya) said he was going to do two and we in turn did two but then he went for four (tires) so I got stuck in my pit stall with old tires and I just had to backup to go. Everyone is trying to win the Daytona 500 and it was a strong effort for our FedEx team. We didn't push it until 50 to go obviously. That's when we made our move to the front. We had the oldest tires and it just couldn't hang on at the end."
How did the patch in turn two affect the race? "They did everything they could. I don't know what else you could do in this situation unless you came back tomorrow with a solid patch. At the end, we used it all up. It was starting to become a hole again right there with about five to go. We used all of the race track up and they'll just have to figure out how to fix it next time."
Do you think this will be your breakout season? "I think so and the thing is that we're excited to get to the race tracks where there's a lot of letting off and really kind of evaluate where our team is. Here at Daytona, we have the most time to prepare for this race, but it's such a small part of our season. We're excited about kicking off 2010. It's obviously a year where we have some very high expectations and now we just have to manage them."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 51 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
What did it mean to see your team cars finish in the top-10 and battle for the win? "It was so cool to see Martin (Truex Jr.) and David (Reutimann) up there battling. It's just really a proud accomplishment. David (Reutimann) did a great job there at the end and Martin (Truex Jr.) looked like he could win the race. We really feel like what we've learned in the off-season tells us that next week should be fun as well with our testing and what our boys have done and learned. I'm just proud to get a top-20 with our NAPA car and proud of Martin and his NAPA car. It was almost a dream come true. I'll be honest, I didn't do a very good job focusing at the end in my car because I was so concerned about maybe him winning."
Was this your last Daytona 500? "It's not my last one, I don't think. We moved the starting time up for the fans and then we spread it out till dark for TV. I don't know if you all heard all those clicks and all that clicking noise during that second delay, that was channels being turned to the race to see what was going to happen in Daytona."
What was your strategy when you stayed out and took the race lead? "I just basically tried to stay away from the wreck and as it turned out we were able to stay up there a little longer than we thought. Then eventually as laps went on and there was no crash, our tires were just too old on the front of the car. Eventually we were going to have to make a pit stop and luckily a caution came out and we were able to get fresh tires. Then we were on the opposite end. We had really good tires trying to go forward, but it was like a road block out there. There were just cars everywhere. We were lucky to bring the thing home. This is a real solid way to start the year."
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What is the biggest thing you've learned at Daytona since your first start here last year? "Just experience is the biggest thing. I've said this over and over again -- last year I came here and didn't know which way was up basically. It helps to know what you want in your race car and that's the biggest thing. We fought that all year, not just here at Daytona but everywhere. It definitely helps me and Zippy (Greg Zipadelli, crew chief) work better together and put together a better Home Depot Toyota. Right now our car -- we've been on both sides of the fence. We started off a little bit free, trying to get a balance between too loose on the top side and too tight on the bottom. That last run we got too tight on both ends. So we tried to take some wedge out and make some adjustments to that and try to help that."
ROBBY GORDON, No. 7 Monster Energy Toyota Camry, Robby Gordon Motorsports
MICHAEL McDOWELL, No. 55 Toyota Camry, PRISM Motorsports
MAX PAPIS, No. 13 GEICO Toyota Camry, Germain Racing
What happened to take you out of the race? "It doesn't matter. It was just a great weekend for the GEICO team. We were really happy to be in the 500. Unfortunately, I think something happened in the bottom end of the engine it looks like or we don't really know exactly. It just put us out of the race. But we made the show and we ran somewhat competitive. Unfortunately got tangled up with the 55 (Michael McDowell) in the beginning and it was just like one of those things. You just let off and I was right behind him (Michael McDowell) and I stepped as hard as I could on the brake but I couldn't really stop it. Overall, it was a great weekend for us and a great way to begin the season. We'll go to Fontana and see what we can do. I'm sure I'm going to have other opportunities to show how good we can be."
MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 47 Kroger Floral Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing
What took you out of the race? "We've got an oil leak that seems quite terminal. It's just too bad for us. We were running great just riding around just biding our time just waiting for all to settle down. It just hurts the year when you don't get off to a good start. The whole off-season was all about let's just get off to a solid start and build a solid championship run from that but it's not going to be. I'm really disappointed, not just for the race but for the whole year. We're going to take a big hit with points and it's going to take some digging out."
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports
-source: toyota motorsports