Camry driver Denny Hamlin (third) was the highest-finishing Toyota in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Michigan International Speedway. Brian Vickers (ninth) also earned a top-10 finish in his Toyota after starting from the pole...
Camry driver Denny Hamlin (third) was the highest-finishing Toyota in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Michigan International Speedway.
Brian Vickers (ninth) also earned a top-10 finish in his Toyota after starting from the pole -- his fourth of 2009.
Other Toyota drivers in the field included Kyle Busch (13th), Robby Gordon (17th), David Reutimann (19th), Joey Logano (25th), Michael Waltrip (30th), Marcos Ambrose (31st), Max Papis (35th), Scott Speed (37th), Dave Blaney (40th) and Joe Nemechek (42nd).
Five Camry drivers are in the top-20 in the unofficial NSCS driver points -- Busch (ninth), Hamlin (10th), Reutimann (13th), Vickers (17th) and Ambrose (20th).
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 3rd
How was your run today? "I hate running like that, but that's what you have to do to get to the end. I'm just proud of our whole FedEx Express team. We worked on fuel mileage a little bit during testing at other race tracks and it paid off here at Michigan. For the most part, it was a solid day. We had a top-four or top-five car all day, and it paid off at the end."
How did you feel about it ending up a fuel-mileage race? "I don't know. I think we were pretty good. I kicked myself for not running harder because I was rolling the 'five-in' (throttle) pretty big at the end. But, I think it was just a bait thing. I think the 16 (Greg Biffle) baited the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) to come get him, and they ended up both running out of fuel. We were all in the same boat there, it's just who wanted to risk winning the race versus finishing. I think that's what happened."
What were you thinking at the end of the race? "I was just thinking how much I though I saved during the course of the run. I definitely feel like I probably could've pushed harder. I'm really curious to see how much we have left in the tank to see next time in that situation I could have ran a little bit harder."
Is it a good feeling to rebound strong after last week? "It is. We got a new race car here. We were strong all day. We had a top-five car all day. So, it's good to finally finish where we belong. I'm proud of this whole FedEx Express team. We were definitely a car that could contend for a top-two or top-three spot all day. It feels good to finally come out of here with a finish we deserve."
What did you think about the race finish? "It's tough as a driver to go out there and not run as hard as what you want to. When these races just seem to come down to fuel mileage a lot. We worked on it a little bit with our race team and I think I worked on it as a driver and got better. But, I was willing to 'five-in' (throttle) there at the end. I felt like I was running a little bit too hard. So, I let the 24 (Jeff Gordon) go and it turns out the front two (Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson) baited each other into running out of gas."
How did your car handle in the race? "Obviously, not how we wanted to finish. We were really happy with the car yesterday in the practice and today we started off and it was just really, really, really loose. We just fought it all day. We got it fixed on the last run, but we ran out of time. We tried everything -- track bar, wedge, rubbers in the left rear (tire), air pressure, everything we could try. I've never seen this track be this bad before. We finished practice a little tight yesterday and I was really thinking the car would be good."
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 13th
STEVE ADDINGTON, crew chief, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What did you battle with the race car today? "The car was just loose and we never did touch it, I don't think. We got better for a couple laps and then it would just switch over to being loose. I told them not to bother and we're just going to go back to the shop and evaluate everything on it. We'll look and see if something gave up or broke. We're searching right now because he's (Kyle Busch) been happy with the car in practice. We're just scratching our heads right now to try to figure out what went wrong. We'll get it -- it's still early. We just need to get some solid runs here to stay in this 'Chase' -- up in the top-12. I thank everybody on this car for working hard. We appreciate M&M's and Toyota and everybody for sticking with us."
ROBBY GORDON, No. 7 Kid Rock/Red Stag Toyota Camry, Robby Gordon Motorsports
Finishing Position: 17th
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position: 19th
How was your race today? "It was just a terrible, terrible day. We missed it I guess and no matter what we did to it, the car wouldn't respond to any changes -- we changed a lot. Our guys tried really hard and the package we started off with was not any good. Sometimes you just can't fix things and we know definitely what not to come back with. Disappointing, but it could have been worse. We'll come back and see what we can do next time."
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 25th
MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position: 30th
MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 47 Racesavers.com Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing
Finishing Position: 31st
MAX PAPIS, No. 13 GEICO Toyota Camry, Germain Racing
Finishing Position: 35th
DAVE BLANEY, No. 66 Prism Motorsports Toyota Camry, Prism Motorsports
Finishing Position: 40th
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports
Finishing Position: 42nd
--credit: toyota motorsports