Toyota Motorsports press release
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Brown Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Qualified: 2nd
Is it more stressful to qualify or to race at Las Vegas? "Definitely more stressful for sure. Coming to Las Vegas, it's always fun of course to be able to come back home and see friends and everything like that, but it's more stressful when you get to the race track because you want to do well. You want to win here -- sit on the pole and win here. I've done both, but you want to do it every time you come back. Can't say enough about all these guys on this M&M's team. They did a phenomenal job today helping me, getting us prepared and putting the right setup underneath it there for qualifying. That was a pretty decent lap. Not much more I could get out of it I don't think. If I tried to get more out of it, I probably would just overdrive it and hurt the lap anyway. We'll take that -- glad we had something like that."
How was your qualifying lap? "It was really good. The car felt great -- laid down a good lap. Wasn't sure it was going to be that good, but considering practice we were really loose and we only got a couple runs in. Didn't quite get the setup the way we wanted to and gave us an early draw. Maybe that's what hurt us a little bit. Felt really good with it. The M&M's Camry drove great. Dave (Rogers, crew chief) and the guys did a nice job so hoping that second place starting spot is good for Sunday and keeps us up front with our track position."
Is it good to have so many Toyotas qualified up front? "Yeah, I guess it's good. If they're all bunched up together it sort of maybe means a little bit. You can't bank too much off of it. Obviously, there's a lot to do with car setups at these places and all that. It's good to see some of the JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) cars up there. I know the 20 (Joey Logano) is right up there and I know the 11 (Denny Hamlin) -- maybe he was top-10, not sure. All in all, I think the Toyota gang is definitely getting a little better all around the board with MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) and having Mark (Martin) over there and Clint (Bowyer) over there and Brian Pattie (Bowyer crew chief) -- I think that's an asset to those guys just as much as we feel like having Jason Ratcliff (Logano crew chief) and Darian Grubb (Hamlin crew chief) on our side is to us."
Is your weekend better by starting on the front row? "It would be a whole lot better if I was about six one-hundredths faster then we'd be on the pole. That would certainly feel good. I've sat on a couple poles here before in years past. Have had I think three or four front row starts here so qualifying has been a good strong suit for us. We'd like to back up 2009 and be able to get another win here. Certainly, there's added pressure on just from myself or feeling like you really want to run well here in front of the hometown crowd and being able to go out there and be successful here. This is one of those places that you kind of stack up on the win list where you want to be able to win here like a Coke 600 or an All-Star race or something like that. Certainly, probably would be considered my third biggest win underneath the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400."
How big of an issue is the bump in the track? "My Nationwide car was a handful to drive and it did not like going through the bumps at all, but it seemed like my Cup car was pretty decent. It flowed through there nicely. I ran like three-quarters of a car up. I went through it just a little bit with my lefts (tires), but was able to kind of come down closer to the white line as I exited the turn. It's just kind of how you setup your car, whether you want to setup your car to run through it or if you run stiff enough bump-stops to where you can't and you have to go below it or over it. It's all dependent on what you, your driving style or what you and your crew chief kind of decide you want to do."
CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Qualified: 5th
How was your qualifying lap? "We've had a fast 5-hour ENERGY Toyota all day today. We unloaded fast and I really thought we had a chance at the pole. The car was just a little loose, but we were within a tenth. We'll start in the top-five and do our best to move up those last five spots during the race and be there at the end."
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Qualified: 8th
How was your qualifying lap? "Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) and the guys gave me an awesome Dollar General Toyota, especially in qualifying trim. We haven't really worked much in race trim yet. It balances really good. I just left a little bit out there in three and four. I thought it was the pole coming across the line. They've done a good job here. I love this track and it's awesome to have Dollar General on the car and to give them a really good race."
Can you feel the bumps on the race track? "The bumps are getting bad -- really bad. We're just trying to get through them and struggled in practice trying to get through the bumps. That will be priority number one when it comes to practice tomorrow."
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Qualified: 10th
Did you think your car was capable of the lap you ran in qualifying? "We made some changes on our NAPA Toyota after practice. Clint (Bowyer) was so good in practice that we took a little bit from what he was doing. The car was better than I expected it to be. I probably left a little bit out there, wish I could do it over again. Nonetheless, a good job by everybody on the team to get the car tuned up. These guys continue to give me good race cars and I can't wait to race on Sunday and hopefully have a shot at winning this thing."
How has the start of your season been? "I told everybody during the wintertime to look out for us. We're going to be strong. I had a lot of confidence in the team and Chad (Johnston, crew chief) and what we did at the end of the year really proved that we were making a turnaround and being consistent running up front each week. We just need to continue to keep doing that. We had a great run here at Vegas last year and I'm looking forward to improving on that Sunday."
MARK MARTIN, No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Qualified: 13th
How was your qualifying lap? "I thought it was a real good lap. Thought it was faster than that really. It was a good effort -- not disappointed with it, just thought that maybe we had a little bit more there. Every one of them can't be your best one or your best one wouldn't be your best."
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Qualified: 17th Was your qualifying time what you expected? "It's so fast right now, the track and the tire seems to really griping well together and it seems like the cars were all having tremendous speeds. We picked up three and a half tenths which we would normally think was good, but a lot of these guys look like they're picking up a lot of time. I'm not to optimistic about where we'll start."
What would another good solid finish this weekend mean to your team? "That's the goal, to get a good finish. You want to sit yourself in a good points position early in the year so you don't have to worry about that with five or six races to go."
BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Kingsford Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Qualified: 24th
What do you expect to learn at the start of this season? "Going through Daytona to Phoenix to now Las Vegas to next weekend in Bristol and then we'll have Martinsville in a few weeks -- it's a lot of different race tracks that we're going to really get a good barometer on what we need to be working on. For Todd (Berrier, crew chief) really doing a lot of the grunt work and hiring all of these great guys back here to make it all happen. It really is a lot of fun -- it feels good. We picked up some in qualifying which we were just a little bit off in practice so we picked up a lot. These guys do a good job, they've been steady the past two weeks -- we've got a good start to the season."
LANDON CASSILL, No. 83 Burger King Toyota Camry, BK Racing Qualified: 30th
JJ YELEY, No. 49 America Israel Racing Toyota Camry, America Israel Racing Qualified: 36th
TRAVIS KVAPIL, No. 93 Burger King Toyota Camry, BK Racing Qualified: 37th
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Qualified: 40th
DAVID STREMME, No. 30 Inception Motorsports Toyota Camry, Inception Motorsports Qualified: 43rd