Fontana II: Toyota teams race notes, quotes

Denny Hamlin (third) earned Toyota's top finish in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race in California. Camry driver Kyle Busch finished seventh, recording his 17th top-10 performance in 25 NSCS starts. David Reutimann earned a Cup ...

Denny Hamlin (third) earned Toyota's top finish in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race in California.

Camry driver Kyle Busch finished seventh, recording his 17th top-10 performance in 25 NSCS starts.

David Reutimann earned a Cup Series career-best result of ninth-place in Sunday's race.

Other Camry drivers in the field included Brian Vickers (12th), AJ Allmendinger (14th), Tony Stewart (22nd), Dave Blaney (29th), Michael Waltrip (33rd), Mike Skinner (35th) and Ken Schrader (41st).

Camry drivers have now earned 36 top-five finishes and 55 top-10 finishes in 2008.

The Toyota Racing Development (TRD) facility in Costa Mesa, Calif., pr ovides engines to Michael Waltrip Racing and Red Bull Racing Team, which earned three top-15 finishes (Reutimann, Vickers and Allmendinger) in Sunday's 500-mile race.

Busch maintains the top spot in the unofficial NSCS point standings with a 208-point lead over second-place, Carl Edwards.

Other Camry drivers among the top-15 in the unofficial NSCS point standings include Stewart (eighth), Hamlin (11th), and Vickers (15th).

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DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 3rd

Are you happy with your third-place finish tonight? "Well, we had a good run. It's definitely what we needed. We needed to come out of here with a top-five finish and beat the guys that we were racing in the points. Definitely this is a good finish for us. We had a top-five car really from the get-go, and it's pretty rare that you can have a car that's as consistent from the day to the night. So just it was a good run for us, that's what we needed. We're not locked in (the ‘Chase'), but we are definitely getting closer."

Did your race help your ‘Chase' position? "It's a good day. We didn't lock ourselves in but we definitely put ourselves in a lot better spot than what we were going to be in. I'm proud of this whole team. If you would have told me on this race weekend we would have finished third I'd of taken it – a great weekend for us."

How was this run for you tonight? "It was a great run. A lot of those guys had good runs, too. It's just like Bristol. It's a great run for this whole FedEx Ground team. We're working hard. The pit crew was just unbelievable today. They had to be the fastest pit crew on average all day. They kept me out there and kept me in good track position. Mike (Ford, crew chief) did great adjustments on the car so I couldn't be prouder."

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DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 44 UPS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position: 9th

Were you happy to get a top-10 finish tonight? "I guess it's saying something when you leave here and you're disappointed with a top-10. I felt like we were a top-five car. We didn't luck into anything. We just fought hard all night and ended up with a pretty good finish. I enjoyed it --it was a lot of fun. On nights like tonight it doesn't seem all that hard when the cars drive like they do. I'm proud of my guys, they did a good job."

How did your car handle tonight? "I think we were good. We fought being loose the majority of the night. It seemed like we needed long runs to get going. We were starting to move back forward again towards the end. We just kind of ran out of time. That's just kind of how our deal was. Our car wouldn't start off very fast but it would end up pretty good. I'm proud of my guys. Another new car that the fab shop just finished up for us and it drove great. All in all, I was pretty satisfied with the night."

Can you describe the pit stop where you took the lead? "We took two tires there. That was a good call. Ryan (Pemberton, crew chief) made a good call. The guys did a good job tonight. We gained a couple on pit road and lost a couple -- just back and forth."

Did you see any change from day to night? "Everybody anticipated the track tightening up a lot, but I thought in the Nationwide race it did not so I didn't think the track was going to change just going off of what we learned last night. We started a little conservative, a little on the free side afraid it was going to go to the tight side and we spent all night tightening it up. Ryan (Pemberton, crew chief) and the guys did a good job. The pit stops were pretty good and the car drove good. That's what we need to do every week."

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BRIAN VICKERS, No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team
Finishing Position: 12th

Were you happy with your run tonight? "It was ok. To be honest, I'm just getting tired of being beat off of pit road. I like the guys we have on our crew. They are good people and I know they work really hard. They put the effort behind and that is what really counts but this is becoming an every week thing where we are losing 10 or 15 spots off of pit road -- not one, like 10 or 15. Then the penalty -- we've had a lot of penalties lately. The penalty absolutely killed us. It was at the end of the race. No matter how good of a car you have, when you get in traffic like that it's just hard. You can only do so much."

How did your car handle? "The car was great at the beginning. I don't think anybody had anything for Jimmie (Johnson). He was unbelievable. There were times at the end of a long run where they'd be calling my times out and we were a little faster than Jimmie, but it was very rare -- far and in-between. He was good throughout the entire run. He was incredible."

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AJ ALLMENDINGER, No. 84 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team
Finishing Position: 14th

How strong was your Camry during the first half of tonight's race? "We had a really good car throughout the race. Just to the end of the race during the last two big runs there we got too loose in the rear. I think the track got a little bit more grip than the front of the car and we just didn't keep up with the rear. I think we still had a really good day except our pit stops were horrible. I think we came in fourth with two pit stops to go and came out 12th and next pit stop came out 19th. With this competitive field and the way these cars are you can't get back there. You're basically restarting 38th at that point and I think we made up five spots on the restart and me and (David) Ragan had a good run at the end there. That's about where the car would have been. Would of, could of, should of but 14th, we're okay with it. We would have liked to have been better but we're in the top-35 in points and that's what matters."

How important were those two final pit stops? "You just can't lose 15 spots. Unless you had Jimmie Johnson's car you couldn't make that up. That was just tough. Like I said, you're not just restarting 18th, you're restarting 36th or 38th. The lap cars have just as much right to race as we do. You're in so much dirty air and that's killing the tires and there's just a lot going on. We stayed clean and did what we had to do. I think we could have been a little bit better but we got what we wanted out of it."

Was this a confidence boost to run that good for that long? "We've been doing that the last six weeks. If you take Michigan out of the complex and the second Pocono, we've been right there in the top-10. Bristol we got wrecked and everything else has been in the top-15. We're starting to run up there. I think the big boost was the qualifying effort. I was really proud of all the guys for that. It was a solid day. We would have liked to have been a little better but it could have been a lot worse – we'll take it."

Was the power there in your car tonight? "Yeah, the car was good in clean air and if we could've got out there I think it would have been good. Our Toyota, the motor was really strong. It could run with anybody. It was a good package and we'll just keep working on it."

***

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 7th

TONY STEWART, No. 20 Subway/Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 22nd

DAVE BLANEY, No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota Camry, Bill Davis Racing
Finishing Position: 29th

MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 NAPA Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position: 33rd

MIKE SKINNER, No. 00 Affliction Day of Reckoning Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position: 35th

KEN SCHRADER, No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry, Hall of Fame Racing
Finishing Position: 41st

-credit: toyota motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Michael Waltrip , Mike Skinner , Ken Schrader , Jimmie Johnson , David Reutimann , Brian Vickers , Carl Edwards , Denny Hamlin , Dave Blaney , Kyle Busch
Teams Red Bull Racing , Michael Waltrip Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing , Bill Davis Racing , Hall of Fame Racing , Toyota Racing