This afternoon's Daytona 500 was shortened to 152 laps -- from a scheduled 200 laps -- due to rain. Camry drivers Michael Waltrip (seventh) and David Reutimann (12th) were the top-finishing Toyotas in the season- opening Daytona 500. Other...
This afternoon's Daytona 500 was shortened to 152 laps -- from a scheduled 200 laps -- due to rain.
Camry drivers Michael Waltrip (seventh) and David Reutimann (12th) were the top-finishing Toyotas in the season- opening Daytona 500.
Other Camry drivers finishing among the top-25 were Marcos Ambrose (17th), Terry Labonte (24th) and Scott Riggs (25th).
Kyle Busch led the field twice for a race-high 88 laps, before he was involved in a multi-car accident just past the halfway point in the race. He finished 41st.
Other Camry drivers in the field included Denny Hamlin (26th), Robby Gordon (34th), Scott Speed (35th), Brian Vickers (39th), Jeremy Mayfield (40th) and Joey Logano (43rd).
MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip
Finishing Position: 7th
Are you happy with a top-10 finish at Daytona? "We might have over-achieved a little bit. We didn't have too good of a car. To scramble and get in the top-10, I'm happy with that. If we would have gone back to racing we might have gotten even luckier. I didn't feel like I had a very fast car today. It handled great and maybe that's why it wasn't so fast because it was set up to handle good. We didn't intend on setting it up to handle good -- we intended to set it up to go fast, but it didn't go fast. I might ought to just take what I can get."
MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 47 Little Debbie Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing
Finishing Position: 17th
How was your car in the race? "The car was getting better and better as the night went on. I was getting better out there too and picking my lines better. It was getting a little intense, but I expected that. With the rain coming too, I think the panic started early and it started getting pretty rugged."
What were you thinking when the wrecks started in front of you? "You just have to keep your foot in it and hope you get through it. Half the time you think it's going to come out and it doesn't because you get collected, but I just kept my foot down and hoped for the best."
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 26th
What happened during the wreck you were involved in? "We had a bad pit stop and it put us back there. I didn't really see anything. I looked at the replay and it looked like the 88 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) just hooked the 83 (Brian Vickers) and caused a big wreck and we were just in it."
What damage did you have to your car? "Yeah, we had a lot of damage. There's nothing we could do, just ride around in the back."
Did your car get better late in the race? "Our car was awesome and we were running in the top-25 for most of the race. After that long green flag run we had to come in to pit and then had a caution one lap later and went a lap down with Jimmie (Johnson) and about six of us that got caught out in that. Then immediately after that we started up front and there was a crash. Brian (Vickers) and Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) were fighting real hard to stay in the front of that thing and they basically wrecked each other and we got collected in that. Then we were still a lap down, but we were coming in every single time we could to fix the car. Honestly even where the car is right now -- it's not so bad."
How much harder was this race for you with so many more cars than the Shootout? "It doesn't make that much difference honestly. I think we had a great car and we were able to go really far forward from starting dead last. I'm really happy with all of us. I think everyone did a really good job on the team and I don't think any of us really made any mistakes so it's good on us, we just didn't have the luck today."
What happened to take you out of the race? "I really hate it for the Red Bull guys. We had a good car all day. We're all racing for the 'lucky dog' there and my goal was to keep (Dale Earnhardt) Jr. behind me and I went to block him -- I beat him to the yellow line and then he just turned us. He hit me the first time on the way down, which is fine, we all do that. Then when he came back up he just hooked me in the left rear and typically NASCAR penalizes. I think the 38 (Jason Leffler) was penalized five laps yesterday for doing the same thing (during the Nationwide Series race). I guess they're not going to penalize him for it. It's kind of sad. To wreck somebody intentionally like that in front of the entire field is really kind of dangerous. That's my biggest problem with it, but apparently he wanted a caution pretty bad."
Could rain have been a factor as drivers started to scramble for position? "Oh, of course, absolutely. We're all racing knowing that the rain is coming and we knew it was going to be aggressive there. There were five or seven cars all trying to get the 'lucky dog' and the rain is coming. I just don't think it was reason to hook somebody in the left rear in front of the field. Typically NASCAR would, in the past, black flag people five laps for that kind of action, but I don't know if they're going to do anything today."
Were you trying to block Dale Earnhardt Jr.? "I think I was doing what I had to do. The 42 (Juan Pablo Montoya) blocked me and (Dale Earnhardt) Jr. blocked the guy behind him to get a run on me. That's superspeedway racing. You watch your mirror, you try to keep the guy behind you behind you. My goal is not to let him pass me. People blocked me the whole race. When I'd go to pass they'd turn left and try to keep me behind them -- that's part of superspeedway racing. I don't just hook them in the left rear and turn them in front of the field. I don't think that's an excuse to do that. Everybody has their own opinion I guess."
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 41st
What happened that took you out of the race? "I'm not sure. Some guys having some bad days and not doing their best out there. Made their bad day our bad day and we had a problem. It's just a shame, that M&M's Toyota was so, so strong today and led all those laps and was running up front. I was just playing with my teammate up there and having a great time. It was just unfortunate that two guys got together that were a lap down and were fighting over nothing."
How disappointing is this for you? "I was frustrated going into this race so this is about a 15 on a 10 scale."
Did your frustration ease as the race progressed? "Not really. You never know what can happen here. You're not happy until you're in victory lane."
What did you see in the accident? "One guy that had problems all day on pit road made his problems our problems and then our problems a big problem. It was just unfortunate with that and it was really uncalled for to have two lapped cars to be racing each other and bumping each other like that. You'll have that I guess in big time auto racing."
How strong was your car before the accident? "I think we were the best car out there. Us, the 24 (Jeff Gordon) was strong, the 11 (Denny Hamlin) was strong, a couple other guys that we were battling with, but felt like our car was the car to beat. We were awfully good and just running out front and biding our time. I don't think we fell worse than sixth or fifth the whole time out there. Just a really sad feeling."
How frustrated are you that two lapped cars caused the accident? "It is what it is -- I'm not going to change anything now. It's unfortunate that a guy that's messed up his whole day on pit road and screwed up that he has to make our day worse. It wasn't our problem that he was a lap down and fighting with another lapped car -- I don't know even what they were fighting for because the outside lane was coming. Those cars just should have sat there and waited and got back in line when they could."
How surprised are you that Dale Earnhardt Jr. was involved in the accident? "I'm not really very surprised. It doesn't matter -- it could be anybody out here."
Is it hard to ease back in with the 'yellow line rule'? "It's not very difficult to ease back in, you just role out of the throttle and fall back in line."
How big of a mistake was that for the other drivers? "It looked pretty big to me -- it cost the winning car the chance to win the race."
How confident are you that you were going to win the race? "100 percent."
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 43rd
What happened that took you out of the race? "It looked like the 82 (Scott Speed) kept getting loose in front of me so I jumped down below him in the middle of the corner just to try to get some air on my car because it was tight and as he kept checking up I ended up next to him on the corner. It was either I was going to dump him or hopefully not do anything at all. The 16 (Greg Biffle) just came up and got us. It's a racing deal, but it's a bummer for all the Home Depot crew here. This wasn't the way we wanted to finish the (Daytona) 500."
What are you feeling? "I don't think I should say what I'm feeling inside -- I'm not very happy that's for sure. We were just getting going and we got a couple pit stops under our belt, started coming to the front a little bit and make a few more adjustments. I thought we had a ways to go to make the car better and some adjustments we could make to do that. We just didn't get there in time."
What would you say to Scott Speed? "It wasn't his (Scott Speed) fault. He was loose and it was partially my fault for not getting around him after seeing he was loose a few laps before. My car was so tight that every time I got underneath him I wasn't able to clear him up off the corner and I had to get out of the gas. I was content just riding there to get through a few laps to our next pit stop and as he kept going up the race track I was going to check-up and get underneath him and I just drove in underneath him and it didn't work."
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position: 12th
TERRY LABONTE, No. 66 Window World Toyota Camry, Prism Motorsports
Finishing Position: 24th
SCOTT RIGGS, No. 36 Toyota Camry, Tommy Baldwin Racing
Finishing Position: 25th
ROBBY GORDON, No. 7 Jim Beam Toyota Camry, Robby Gordon Motorsports
Finishing Position: 34th
JEREMY MAYFIELD, No. 41 All Sport Toyota Camry, Jeremy Mayfield Motorsports
Finishing Position: 40th
-credit: toyota motorsports