Toyota Teams Watkins Glen qualifying report

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Toyota Motorsports

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 1st

Do you have confidence for tomorrow’s race? “We were confident going in before. Certainly we knew we had a great race car this weekend. The M&M’s boys brought a great race car to the race track here, so I can’t say enough about all the guys at Toyota and JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) and everybody in the engine shop and the chassis shop. It’s cool to come out here and get a pole. Joey (Logano) got it in Sonoma. We got it here. So JGR swept the poles this year at the road courses. Hopefully we can get a win here Sunday and see if we can’t try to get another one. We’ve won here before. We certainly want to win here again.”

Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

How does the qualifying package compare to race trim? “I was actually surprised there with my lap time. I came to the checkered and I’m like, ‘Eh, it was okay. It wasn’t great.’ I felt like I screwed up a little bit here, a little bit there maybe. But maybe those were good screw ups. I don’t know. Overall, it was a fast lap time for what I expected it to be. I thought maybe it would be about a 15 or a 20 or something like that, but not a 70. Race trim is faster this year too. It’s really quick out there, as a matter of fact. Getting into the braking zones, kind of crucial and being able to make sure that you can just make sure you get the throttle down off the corners and get turned. The Bus Stop has obviously been a crucial area here today with everybody qualifying. We seemed to hit it right, so great job by the team.”

How was your qualifying lap? “Certainly, the M&M’s guys brought a great race car today. Everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing. The chassis shop, the body shop, engine guys. I felt like we were pretty good unloading off the truck and we’ve just kind of kept that pace up this weekend. A lot has to do with how you unload and how you feel and everything and coming to this race weekend prepared and felt like I was ready to do battle with these guys knowing that it’s a tough race track. It’s certainly a road course event, which throws a lot of characteristics into the racing that we don’t typically see at an oval. All in all the lap was pretty good. It seemed to be a clean lap. There was a couple moments in which I slipped and didn’t think I did that great at, but we were able to get the throttle down and accelerate out of the turns as we needed and I think that’s where a lot of the time was made up.”

Are you surprised this is your first pole of the year in the Sprint Cup Series? “No, I’m not surprised. I’m not a pole go-getter. I count the Kentucky pole, but others may not. I earned it. I was fastest in practice there. Certainly it pays dividends to win it on your own, especially at a road course. I’ve never won a road course pole before so this feels really good. I’ve won races at road courses, but have yet to be the fastest guy for one lap. Today we did that. Joey Logano did it in Sonoma so JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) sweeps the road course poles, which is great. Hopefully we can get a win. We felt like we had a strong run going until late in the going in Sonoma. We got in somebody else’s mess, but hopefully here this weekend we can keep that clean and set our own pace and hopefully try to win.”

What kind of advantage do you have by starting in the front of the field on a road course? “The advantages of starting upfront is certainly you can set the pace in the beginning if nobody wants to pass you, but if there’s guys that are behind you that are pressing you you can let them go. You keep your track position. If you’re running top-three, top-five all day you’ll be pretty good. Last year we had a problem before the start of the race and had to start in the back and then it took us all day to work our way up through the field and we ended up eighth. The highest we got was eighth and that’s where we finished. Even though it’s a long race, it’s not long enough. But, starting upfront like we are if we just keep our track position, set your own pace, keep the brakes at the temperature that you want to keep them at -- don’t overheat them and don’t over push them -- then you can certainly feel better about how your day will progress. When it comes down to the end of the race when you’ve really got to push and push hard you’ll have something left in the car in order to do that with.”

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MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 9th

What happened in the inner loop? “Just was real slick through there for some reason compared to yesterday. The car was solid everywhere else. I felt like it was a decent lap, just the inner loop was real slick and I lost a lot of time there. I’m disappointed in that, but the guys did a great job with our NAPA Toyota. All weekend it’s been fast. I’m excited to race, whenever we get to do it -- hopefully tomorrow, but we’ll see.”

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BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Capital DPO/Summit Trust Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Starting Position: 11th

Could your lap have been better? “Well, I don’t know. I hit turn one -- I nailed turn one really good. Through the esses was really pretty close and I got to the inner loop and I saw the dust and dirt there from when I went up there to stop. I went through there and I didn’t run through there like -- I already knew it was there so I had to take it a little bit easy I think. The rest of the corners were pretty good. I probably over slowed a little bit in six. All in all a good job by all these guys. We picked up a lot from yesterday. We made one qualifying run in the second practice and we made some changes this morning again on our gear ratio. That helped out. The guys did a good job. We’re not quite where we want to be on it, but hopefully it will be a good lap by the end of the day.”

Did your race car surprise you on the race track? “Really, it was about like what we had in one qualifying run we made yesterday afternoon so I felt pretty much like that. Obviously, my mind was already distraught when I knew the inner loop was already dirty. I wish they’d have cleaned it up a little bit before I got there. I’m not sure it would’ve helped a lot, but in my mind it would have. I can’t say without looking at video or whatever to say my lap time would’ve been better because of that. Hey, we did a good job. I’m not blaming it on anything like that. Everybody did a good job. We got a lot better performance out of it today and speed out of it today. That’s about as fast as I could go today.”

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JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 13th

How was your qualifying lap? “Not the lap we were really looking for there for sure. It seemed like I got through the bus stop and the car broke a little bit too loose there and I felt like it gave up a lot of the speed there. We’ll be decent. We’ve still got a good race trim car so we’ll be fine. We’re not way in the back so we’ll be fine. We’ll definitely work our way through it.”

What made your race car loose in turn nine? “There was some garbage on the race track -- grass or something when someone went through there before. I’m sure it helped me get a little bit loose there. I didn’t feel like I overdrove it. I just got in there and then it busted loose. I’ll have to take a look back at the tape.”

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KASEY KAHNE, No. 4 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Starting Position: 18th How was your qualifying lap? “I felt like we made a decent lap, just not a lot of speed. I didn’t really go that fast, but the lap seemed alright. It just feels like we have a pretty decent car, but I’m not really that quick so I guess we’ve just got to pick it up for tomorrow’s race.”

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BRIAN VICKERS, No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Starting Position: 20th JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 NEMCO Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports

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CASEY MEARS, No. 13 GEICO Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Starting Position: 26th

Did you have a problem during qualifying? “We had an issue with the brake pedal. It’s pretty standard that after practice we’ll put on a brand new set of rotors and pads for the race, but for some reason it took them a real long time to seed in right. The pedal was traveling almost three quarters of the way down before it was working. I could pump it up and kind of get it there and then if I was off of it for a little bit, I’d go to get to it and it’d almost travel three quarters of the way down. When I went into the Bus Stop it traveled all the way down and the rears locked up getting in and we lost a lot of time through there. The guys have done a real good job. It’s been a lot of hard work this weekend already with the engine, but a decent spot. We’ve got to go the back because we did change the motor, but I was just hoping for better than that.”

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MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 66 HP Racing LLC Toyota Camry, PRISM Motorsports Starting Position: 33rd

Was today’s car better or your race win from last night? “The car last night for sure. We’ve been really struggling here with the 66 car. It’s not a road course car. It’s just one of those events where were hoping to get locked in here, which I think we have. We’ve got Motor Racing Outreach on the hood and that’s what we were supporting last night at Black Rock Speedway (Dundee, N.Y.). I was pretty pumped up to beat (David) Reutimann and (J.J.) Yeley and those guys. It’s pretty cool. It was a lot of fun.”

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MIKE SKINNER, No. 60 Big Red Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Starting Position: 37th

DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 39th

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DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 42nd

What happened out there? “I committed to not giving up. It’s just our car was super, super fast. We wrote down in our notes the last two years that I wasn’t nearly aggressive enough in qualifying. I was more content on hitting my marks and making sure it was a smooth lap and we always qualify about 25th -- wasn’t going to do that this time. I was aggressive and obviously we got a little loose and you see what happened, but I’m excited about how fast our car was to be honest with you.”

Do you need to go to a backup car? “No. We’re going to keep this car. It barely touched the wall and really the wheel wasn’t out of alignment at all. It just looked like some minor body stuff and we’ll get them tomorrow.”

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags busch, nascar, sprint, toyota, watkins glen