Camry driver Kyle Busch (third) was the first Toyota racer to the finish line in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Alabama's Talladega Superspeedway.
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 3rd
Where were you when the wreck occurred? "I was on the bottom. I was about seven, eight rows back on the bottom. We were slow. We were the slowest lane and I just seen everybody going by and I just, 'Alright, just finish where we finish there.' I don't know what happened up front. I think the 14 (Tony Stewart) was the first thing I saw get turned sideways and then I think he ended up upside down going over (Greg) Biffle and I could see him outside my right window, but I shot for the apron as best I could to just get away from everything. Dodged the cars that were coming down the banking and coming back to the infield, so we made it through and the M&M's Camry was good today. It was really, really fast. We made it through unscathed and finished third, so not too bad."
Were you happy with your race car? "It was a really good race car. The guys did a good job building that thing and bringing it out here and debuting it for a one and only race here today -- that's the last race for this body style here at restrictor-plate stuff. The guys did a really good job on pit road. I made a mistake there early and got to pit roadway too hot and was speeding there, so we got a lap down, but fought hard all day, made that back up, got back on the lead lap, and we were racing for the win there with everybody. Got behind Jeff (Gordon) who was behind the 5 (Kasey Kahne) who was behind the 15 (Clint Bowyer). I was quarter throttle running all over the 24 (Jeff Gordon), we just weren't going anywhere. The outside lanes were kind of going by us, and got to turn three and the wreck ensued. Hopefully, Tony's (Stewart) all right and everybody that got banged up there, but it turned Jeff just enough to turn me and we got through there all right. It's good to come out here unscathed and have the car in one piece."
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 13th
What did you see during the accident? "Stuff flying everywhere. Just a Talladega deal, you know? Everybody waits until the end, you get a run, it's time to go, you can't lift, everybody just runs into everybody and you're kind of bouncing around out there like ping pong balls. We almost made it through. The very last car -- I got all the way through and the very last car came up off the apron spinning and just hit me in the door and spun me and I had to get spun around and keep going. Didn't destroy the car like normally here, so we got through there pretty clean. Just gave up a couple of spots getting spun out, having to stop, spin around and get going again."
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 14th
What was your strategy today? "We were awaiting for what happened. It happened later than I expected, but still it's better than my average I can tell you that. Our car is not torn up and so the thing is that once the guys wrecked we just backed off and went through them as they were spinning out and whatnot. We got a good finish based off of the wreck, but still it was a good solid day and that's all we could ask for is to not lose a bunch of ground."
Were you concerned when you were so far back in the field late in the race? "Not a whole lot. We were all saving fuel to try to make it all the way. I thought that there were cars -- that if you were in the lead pack there it was more than likely that you were not going to make it on fuel -- some of them weren't. So, a wreck was going to start because guys were going to run out of fuel or guys were going to have to pit and we were going to improve our finish that way. With this strategy you're basically conceding a win -- a chance at a win, but you're just trying to do damage control not to finish in the 20s and 30s."
How were you able to get through that wreck? "I was at the very tail end of the field and once they started crashing immediately I just stood on the brake and waited on everyone to kind of wash down the track and then I drove around them. We don't have a scratch on our car and it sucks to get a good finish that way, but that's the strategy in which we played today is to not get in a wreck."
How does it feel to get past this race? "It was pretty much an off weekend for us. We didn't make a whole lot of noise today and didn't run very fast. I've played so many different strategies at this race and I've ended up in a heap like all of these cars sitting here. It's probably the first speedway race in a long time that we haven't torn up a car. It's just part of it. Usually that wreck happens earlier in the day and had it been on the green-flag lap we'd be out there with eight cars running and maybe then go for a win. We made our bed and we said we were going to stick to our guns and not try to get in a wreck and we did that. Our goal was just not to get a 20th or 30th-place finish. That just kills you."
Did the problem with your rear-view mirror help you to stick to your strategy? "Maybe a little bit, because it definitely hampered how I had to drive. I couldn't really run in a pack because of the mirror problem, but we got it fixed middle of the race and then I just still had to try to be patient."
CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 23rd
Are you disappointed with your finish? "Yeah, it was just too bad. We had a good car and was patient all day long. Got in position. The caution came out and that's just Talladega. That's why we all come out and watch. I wish this thing -- we need to shorten this race up, because it's all waiting to see what happens right there at the end anyway. They had a good run on us on the outside. Kevin (Harvick) and I got broke apart and he couldn't stay with me. Like I said, we were in position to win. We just didn't win."
What caused the accident? "The 14 (Tony Stewart) -- he hung a pretty hard left on Michael (Waltrip) there. It turned him and kind of wrecked everybody, but he did what he had to do. It looked like the 14 came down to block the 55 (Waltrip) and got turned and crashed us all. It was just a shame. I got myself in the right situation where I wanted to be. Just didn't win. I'm not going to let it get us down. We certainly needed a better run than that. Unfortunately, didn't get it."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 Charlie Loudermilk Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 25th
What happened on the final lap? "We just did a great job. Rodney Childers, our crew chief of the Aaron's Dream Machine, had me in a position to win. I felt really comfortable with being on the inside and I felt happy with who I was with and we pushed our way through. I wasn't totally stable anyway with the big push I guess it was (Casey) Mears was giving me and then when I went to turn down lower on Tony (Stewart) it got a little loose and then the crash. I talked to Tony. You know, when you don't do this all the time people are quick to point their fingers at you, but Tony's said, 'I'm sorry, friend, that was all on me,' and that means a lot. I couldn't bear causing something like that. I had my foot on the floor board for sure and I was getting pushed as hard as I could go. I thought somehow maybe I was going to win one more of these things and that was going to be special. Heck, that's the way it goes."
How disappointed are you? "It's pretty much a buzz kill when you get crashed on the last lap and you're not able to finish. I can't take it -- it's too much pressure on me as an owner and as a guy that's the front man for the team. If I caused something -- I just have to race defensively not to cause anything. Heck, on the last lap I thought maybe I was going to squirt though. I don't blame Tony (Stewart) at all because anybody in the world would have had to block like that. That's what you had to do on the last lap. I was hauling."
Source: Toyota Motorsports