Martin fastest Toyota in Kansas qualifing, starts second

MARK MARTIN, No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 2nd

Mark Martin, Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota
Mark Martin, Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

How was your qualifying lap? "Believe it or not, that one was harder work than usual. The race track has got a lot of grip, but my car was kind of a handful there, and that's entirely too long to go holding your breath. I'm used to only having to do it for one lap, so that was a long time."

Why did you run two qualifying laps? "I need to practice holding my breath for a minute instead of 30 seconds. We got loose the first lap there in the middle of (turns) one and two and the car has been getting tighter as we go, so I knew the second lap would be tighter. I didn't know if I could run quicker or not, but I needed -- I lost time there. It really stepped out in the middle of (turn) one and (turn) two. Anyways, it's a good run, but that one was more work than I was used to for qualifying. I thought it was going to be an easy lap."

How was the new track surface? "It's a new track now -- I mean it really is. It's going to be -- we're going to have to learn as we go. We can't find out tomorrow in practice what the track is going to be like Sunday. It's just not going to happen. I'm sorry. This race track is coming in very slowly and I believe that it will -- I think it will widen out and things will change quite a bit Saturday and Sunday. They're hard to win no matter where you are and no matter what the circumstances are."

What challenges will there be with this race track? "There are a lot of unknowns with the race track. Like Clint (Bowyer) said, we're going to be excited watching the Nationwide race tomorrow. I think that the race track will come in. I think the middle groove will come in tomorrow, and when it does nobody's run there. So, it could be all new. There are a lot of questions. This race track is really taking a long time to come in. We tire tested for two days with nine cars and barely got one little bitty, tiny spot worked in and it was still two seconds a lap slower than the track was today -- if that tells you anything. I never dreamed you'd see these kind of lap times. So, the race track is going to throw us all a challenge and we look forward to it."

CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Benefitting Avon Foundation Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 3rd

How was your qualifying run? "Mark Martin is a qualifying machine. If you can get even remotely close to what he runs in qualifying trim -- that's a good run for me. Just proud of the 5-hour ENERGY guys. Car is pretty good. That was actually a good pickup for us. I think it will be a good starting spot. That's a fast lap. It's unreal how much that gets your attention. The thing kind of wiggled -- I arched it big because I saw some cars getting tight and that's what I'd been fighting -- tight off of (turn) two. Arched it real big getting into (turn) one and I was a little slow getting to the gas. Coulda, would, shoulda."

Are you pleased with your qualifying run? "That's a good lap. That's a real good lap. It's hammer-down man -- that's an extremely fast lap for a mile-and-a-half track. That will get your attention. Unbelievable how fast that is -- how fast that feels. You go off into turn one and you just -- it's crazy the speed and inertia you get going into the corner."

Any concern about practicing and qualifying in cool weather and Sunday's race taking place in warmer weather? "Well, we'll just have to see what all that does. I think tomorrow we'll be able to -- it's going to be a step and then Sunday will be another step. We'll be able to get a good practice session in tomorrow hopefully with the sun out and warming up. Looking forward to practice tomorrow. I think we've done a good job so far. Still got a long ways to go. We'll see what happens."

How do you approach a new track surface? "You've just got to be able to adapt. The good teams, the good drivers can adapt to any situation. We've got to be ready for that outside line. Everybody knows this is a progressive banked track now and if it does burn in up there, that's going to mean probably a preferred line up there. So, we're all kind of anxiously anticipating hopefully that line coming in and if it doesn't it's going to be a battle on these restarts to get to the bottom and keep track position. The restarts are going to be crucial."

Do you feel like things are going well? "It's just good cars -- good people and good cars and everything going good. Just hopefully we can keep it going. We stubbed our toe at Talladega and got ourselves behind, but we've been solid. We've done a good job of bouncing back. I was really worried at Talladega. When you're on a roll and everybody's on a high and everybody's excited and pumped up to go to the race track and you have that setback like we did at Talladega, it's easy to let your guys get down and get down yourself and kind of let everything go by the wayside. So, I think it was a big race for us to be able to turn things back around at Charlotte and get my first win on a mile-and-a-half. It's been a long time and I needed to get that done, so definitely gave me some confidence on these mile-and-a-half tracks. Maybe we can become a factor."

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Halloween Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 4th

How was your qualifying effort? "Thank everyone at M&M's and Toyota. The guys here have done a really nice job. They gave me a really nice race car and it's cool to wind up front like that. We're all just high-fiving each other because we're coming back in one piece. It's crazy fast out there. It's not necessarily the top speed we are going down the straightaways is any different than we've ever been, but the minimum speed -- you're carrying so much corner speed here that it's just amazing that you don't fall off that much through the turns. White-knuckling, baby. That's what it's all about."

Will today's conditions provide any information for Sunday's race? "It really won't. Basically, today's practice was all qualifying stuff, so it's the same today. Tomorrow is supposed to be a little sunnier, a little bit warmer, so I think that that will play more into what we're going to have come race day."

JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 8th

How was your qualifying lap? "I don't know. I'm confused right now. I have nothing to tell you. I thought it was fast. It felt really fast. I felt like I was in the gas more than I was in practice, and I was slower. So, I've just got to go back and look and see what I did."

How is the new track surface? "Oh, it's fast. It's real fast. You're booking around here pretty good. It's more grip than you normally have, so you tell yourself to be in the gas and it doesn't feel natural. But, it was a lot of fun. You get out and you're wide awake now."

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 9th

How has it been coming back from yesterday's accident? "You always have a rebound time that you got to have to get your senses back. The trust in the car and everything back. Proud of everyone -- Darian (Grubb, crew chief) and the crew for being patient yesterday and working through that time issue that a driver needs after a wreck. Can't say enough about our FedEx Freight Toyota. It's not the car we wanted to race originally, but this one's not too bad."

Are you pleased with your qualifying run? "Yeah, fairly happy with it. It's not exactly what I wanted, but still it's a solid lap that puts us pretty good. A little better than what we were in practice, which is a good improvement. I think it will put us somewhere in the top-15. If that's the case, it's going to be very good for us."

Any concern about practicing and qualifying in cool weather and Sunday's race taking place in warmer weather? "Not a whole lot of concern. For me, the warmer it is I think the better the racing will be. So, I think that will be a key for us to work on our car tomorrow in the warmer conditions and it should make for better racing. Think the cars will be more apt to move around on the race track the hotter the surface does get."

What will be the challenges in Sunday's race? "Some of the challenges that I see is going to be the passing. The speeds that we are running are so fast that the cars are very aero-dependent -- it has to be stuck to the race track for us to run those speeds. When the car is in front -- you really can't do that. Track position will be key. Tires, strategy -- things like that will be key. We'll see how all that plays out."

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 16th

Are you pleased with your qualifying run? "It was okay. We've been a little off on speed all day in qualifying trim. Really the last couple of days. Tried a lot of new stuff the past two days here testing and tried some of it here. I don't know. It doesn't feel like what I'm looking for. So, we've been a little bit off on speed. Overall, it was a decent lap. We picked up from practice. If it was a top-10 it would be nice, but I doubt it will be."

What does it feel like to qualify on a newly paved track? "Here it's just insane. We're running about almost Charlotte speeds with a lot less banking. So, it's pretty crazy with the speeds, with the cold temperatures and everything. Really the big thing with the new paved tracks is the tire is so hard because the track has so much grip -- the car is really on the edge. You really have to commit yourself to driving for everything that it's worth and hope that it doesn't slip. Ours didn't slip -- it just wasn't quite fast enough."

Source: Toyota Motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Qualifying report
Tags bowyer, busch, gibbs, hamlin, logano, martin, toyota, truex