Logano, Toyota drivers discuss Kansas qualifying

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Toyota Motorsports

Joey Logano, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Joey Logano, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 3rd How much did you rely on your teammates after missing first practice? "It's tough for sure, we started the second practice an hour and a half behind everyone. We definitely listened to our teammates as much as we could our first practice out there and learned some things from them. Sometimes you just have to figure it out for yourself when you go out there and we had a lot of work to do in the second practice. We stayed in race trim the whole time and I felt like we made some really good gains and we felt like we needed another .10th at the end of practice. We're close, we'll have to put our heads together and find a little bit more. In qualifying here, I thought our Home Depot Camry was good for never making a qualifying run, I thought we were pretty close for that. We'll see what happens. We'll have to start in the back either way, so it doesn't really matter much."

How was your qualifying lap? "We're still smiling until I have to start last tomorrow, that's when my smile is going to wipe away and I have to get to work. My guys have done a good job coming from behind after missing the first hour and a half of practice. They've done a good job to get my Home Depot car close. I felt like we needed a little bit more at the end of the last practice, but we were pretty close. We switched over to qualifying trim for the first time, it never made a qualifying run in practice and wasn't bad for not having any practice. We'll take that -- it's only for a pit stall at this point because we'll start from the rear, but we'll be fine."

How was your qualifying run being the first car on the race track? "For us being the first car on the race track, you never know what you're going to be handed out there. For us, we never made a mock qualifying run since we missed the whole first practice due to an engine change. Quite the unknown, so we relied on our teammates a lot for qualifying changes and what we needed to do. We went out there and laid down a pretty decent lap. I got out of the car and figured it would be 15th, and watched the whole field go and was like, 'Man if we were just a little bit tighter, we could have gotten the pole.' We were really close. It would have been really cool to get the pole without making a mock run and then having to go to the back. Either way, our guys did a really good job recovering from what we had to go through yesterday and we'll have to recover some more tomorrow."

Is it frustrating knowing you had a great qualifying run but will have to start from the back of the field? "Missing practice wasn't that big of a deal. It is a big deal, don't get me wrong, but having to start in the back is even a bigger deal. It's frustrating no matter where we qualify we were going to have to go to the back, but you know what, you go out there and you try to get the pole and you try to go as fast as you can. We are going to use this qualifying as a momentum builder for us as a confidence builder for the team -- show everyone we still have the speed in the Home Depot car and we'll just make it exciting for everyone driving up there."

How do you take what you've learned at Kansas in the NNS and use it in the Cup Series? "I've had some really good qualifying starts in the Sprint Cup Series, but I haven't had the finishes we quite needed yet. I feel like I have a car tomorrow that can do that. We're going to have a lot of work to do to get up there, but I feel like I have a car that has the opportunity to get up there and run good. We just have to make sure we hit the balance right. That's the big thing we've been fighting lately, just having a bad balance to start the race and by the time we get three-quarters of the way through the race we're fast, but we can't recover due to not many cautions in the races lately. We have to make sure we start the race right. We can't afford to have a bad run starting in the back because the leaders will be there in a hurry. You have to be up on your game, up on the wheel the first few laps, pass a lot of these cars and try to get some track position. The first 10 cars will be the easy cars that pass. As you get going, they'll get harder and harder as everyone starts to run closer to the same speed and trying to find clean air, our balance is going to change a lot throughout the day. We just have to be aware of what's going on around us because it's going to be changing throughout the day."

How has working with Jason Ratcliff changed your approach? "Quite a bit. Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) and I are working really well together, but there is some of those growing pains or just getting used to each other. The way we communicate -- you're going to go through that. We really haven't ran many races together before this point. We ran two Nationwide races together. Trying to figure each other out. When I say something, how much or how severe is it and trying to get used to my number scale -- stuff like that is huge. There's little things every week that you didn't even know you had to work on. You're like, 'Oh, okay well now we know.' The big thing is we're able to figure out what the problem is and we're able to talk about it and work on it. That's the big thing. Running bad is one thing, but not being able to have an answer to it is even worse. Like I said, we're able to fix the problem three-quarters of the way through the race right now. I feel like if we just start the races better, we'll be up there contending for wins. I think it's going to be a big deal when we come to these race tracks a second time. When we have a notebook together and kind of know what each other's thinking. I think you'll see a big improvement in our Home Depot team. You saw that a lot last year with the 2 (Brad Keselowski) -- when they made their crew chief change, the second part of the year was like, 'Wow.' We're hoping that's how it's going to be. I can tell you that we've made some big improvements already with Jason and I. We're going to keep working on that. The team's working good together. Jason and the rest of the team with the engineers and the car chief and all the guys on the team are gelling really well. It's going as planned. We just want to run a little better right now."

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 4th

MARK MARTIN, No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 5th How was your car in qualifying? "The Aaron's Dream Machine was good. I didn't get either corner quite like I wanted -- wasn't superior, wasn't my best lap. That makes all the difference in the world when everybody's as close as they are. Wasn't bad -- the car was good. I just overcooked it here and there and slid off my line a little bit. It's going to be pretty good though and I think the guys have a great car for the race. We finished up practice pretty good. It's great to be here in Kansas."

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 6th What affected your qualifying lap more, the time of day or car handling? "Little bit of both I think. I guess I went a little too fast in the first practice yesterday -- obviously, going out early was good. Our NAPA Toyota has been really good all weekend. I just missed it a little bit in (turns) three and four. Just have to thank all these guys and everybody at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing). Our NAPA Toyota team just continues to do an awesome job and it's fun to drive these cars. Looking forward to the race tomorrow. The car has been really good this weekend."

CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 8th How was your qualifying lap? "That was a really good run considering where we came from yesterday. My guys worked hard. We're going to have a lot of fun tomorrow. I love racing in Kansas. Sunday at Kansas is one of my favorite days of the season."

DAVID STREMME, No. 30 Inception Motorsports Toyota Camry, Inception Motorsports Starting Position: 24th

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 25th

BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Reese Towpower Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Starting Position: 30th

JJ YELEY, No. 49 JPO Absorbents Toyota Camry Starting Position: 31st

LANDON CASSILL, No. 83 Burger King Toyota Camry, BK Racing Starting Position: 32nd

TRAVIS KVAPIL, No. 93 Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing Starting Position: 35th

JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Starting Position: 41st

MIKE BLISS, No. 19 TriStar Motorsports Toyota Camry, TriStar Motorsports Starting Position: 43rd

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags bowyer, logano, martin, toyota, truex