Camry driver Kyle Busch (eighth) was the top Toyota finisher Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Phoenix International Raceway. Busch led twice for 113 (of 378) laps and was tied for most laps led during the race with Jimmie...
Camry driver Kyle Busch (eighth) was the top Toyota finisher Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Phoenix International Raceway.
Busch led twice for 113 (of 378) laps and was tied for most laps led during the race with Jimmie Johnson.
Toyota driver Joey Logano (10th) also earned a top-10 result at the one-mile Arizona oval.
Other Camry drivers in the race included Marcos Ambrose (11th), Robby Gordon (14th), Martin Truex Jr. (17th), David Reutimann (20th), Scott Speed (21st), Denny Hamlin (30th), Brian Vickers (37th), Joe Nemechek (38th), Max Papis (40th), Dave Blaney (42nd) and Michael McDowell (43rd).
Five Camry drivers are currently in the top-20 in the unofficial NSCS point standings after Phoenix, including Logano (11th), Busch (12th), Vickers (17th), Hamlin (18th) and Truex (19th).
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
DAVE ROGERS, crew chief, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Can you talk about the decision to take four tires on the last pit stop? "It was a tough call. Everyone watched the Nationwide race yesterday and we decided before the race that if we're going to hit pit road late like that, then you should take four (tires). Two tires, the cars are just out of control and the drivers are doing all they can to hang onto them. You saw that out there, but unfortunately, enough took two that somebody benefited from it. It was a tough call. These guys worked hard. This M&M's Camry was fast. We fell one lap short of leading the most laps. We learned a lot. We're pleased with how we ran at Martinsville and Phoenix, both of these races are in the Chase and we know we can run up front in them. But, we're discouraged to let two good finishes slip away at the very end. We'll move forward."
How much did tire wear play into the decision? "We were looking at the run before and 17 laps into the run, we were a full second slower than what we were when we went out on sticker tires, so there was a lot of fall off. Four tires were definitely the call to go fast, but enough people took two that it just messed everything up. We started on the outside of the 48 (Jimmie Johnson), which we thought was going to be the preferred line, but the outside line didn't go. The 48 (Jimmie Johnson) advanced forward and we got caught behind traffic. Seems like it's our luck this year. We're a tough team -- we'll keep digging."
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How was your race tonight? "It should've been better than 10th, for sure. We had a real good car. Before that late-race caution, we were running seventh. And damned if you do, damned if you don't with tires. We probably should've taken two. I would've been fine with that. We still got 10th out of it, but we were probably a seventh-place car. So, tonight was so-so."
Can you describe the final restart? "It was just like Martinsville. I think NASCAR loves it and I know the fans love it, those last few laps. You gotta expect it coming and see it coming for sure, that there's going to be some messes going on out there with tires, spinning tires on restarts, people sliding around and all the cars with four tires. You gotta be on your 'A' game and see it coming. All in all, Zippy (Greg Zipadelli, crew chief) and the guys did an awesome job with my race car this week. I was pretty pumped up about how we ran in the first part of the race. We just didn't keep up with the track as good as we probably needed to."
How important is it to put together consecutive strong runs? "It's huge. It's a really big deal that we've moved up now. My best finish here before was 27th, so this week was good for us. We started sixth and finished 10th. It goes to show that it's so much more fun to run up front."
MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 47 Kingsford/Bush's Baked Beans Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing
ROBBY GORDON, No. 7 Warner Music Nashville/Blake Shelton Toyota Camry, Robby Gordon Motorsports
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
How was your race? "We rallied back from adversity after having that loose wheel and had a top-10 finish going, but the handling really went away after our second to the last (pit) stop. It killed us. I don't know what happened -- maybe we had a bad set of tires. We got ourselves back to 15th on the final stop, but it just didn't handle right. It's frustrating because this is one of my favorite tracks."
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Best Western Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Office/March of Dimes Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How are you feeling after racing the entire race today? "We had a lot more issues than my leg today. We had a subpar car and we just killed ourselves trying to change -- we had electrical problems. We shouldn't have had a problem and then when we tried to fix it, we got ourselves behind on pit road and lost two laps. Just fought all day and it was just a miserable experience. To be honest with you, I would have been too embarrassed to give Casey (Mears) the car I had today. It's not what we're accustomed to."
Did you think you were going to finish the race when it started? "I got a lot of encouragement from the team. Through thick and thin, we're a team. I feel like they'd give their left leg for me and do everything they could do to make sure we were successful and I felt like it was my duty and my job and that's what I'm hired to do, is to try to do the best I can and keep this team as good as we can. We had problems on the race track."
Was there a reason you stayed in the car the entire race? "I was going to do all I could do. I reached a point, probably 160 laps in I looked at the score board to see how much more time I had to stay in there and that's about the time we went about two laps down. I knew that if I got out of the car, I was going to hear all kinds of stuff from everyone else saying I gave up on the team. That's one thing I'm not going to do is give up on these guys. It didn't matter if I knew we weren't going to gain one more position today and I knew it once we went two laps down. I felt like it was important for me to be in that car."
Would you have considered getting out of the car if Mike Ford (crew chief) or Joe Gibbs (team owner) suggested it? "I would have considered it, but to me I can't watch somebody else get in there."
Do you feel better today than yesterday? "I was on my feet a lot, even during practice (yesterday). I was on my feet for four or five hours even though I wasn't necessarily in the race car for Friday. Today I was able to stay off of my feet until I got to the race car. That was the most important thing. I didn't have to strain any energy until I got in that car."
Did you have your knee drained before the race? "We drained it and did everything that we said we were going to do. I think it was a lot better. Today was much, much better than what yesterday was. Eventually the fluids will come back but it got me through today."
What happened to your race car during the wreck on lap 57? "I think it was a right rear (tire). I can't speculate why it went down. I don't think it was a wear issue. I don't think it was a Goodyear-related issue. Probably just ran over something. I got really loose down in (turns) one and two. And going down the backstretch, the thought dawned on me. Then, about the time I went sideways and hit the wall, I was pretty sure. I looked at the tire after I got out of the car -- it was just completely ripped apart."
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports
MAX PAPIS, No. 13 GEICO Toyota Camry, Germain Racing
DAVE BLANEY, No. 55 Toyota Camry, PRISM Motorsports
MICHAEL McDOWELL, No. 66 Toyota Camry, PRISM Motorsports
-source: toyota motorsports