Pole sitter, Martin, and other Toyota drivers on Richmond qualifying

Toyota Motorsports

Mark Martin
Mark Martin

Photo by: Michael C. Johnson

MARK MARTIN, No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 1st Is this like a second childhood and are you enjoying driving for Michael Waltrip Racing? "Yeah, I am. I just love driving that Aaron's Toyota and working with everybody at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing). They believe in me and we're just having so much fun and that was a good lap. I didn't think I could get the pole. We were on keel off the truck and wanted to get that last draw so we'd have our best shot at it. Golly, our fans out there can break out the 'Epic Swag' t-shirts and follow me on Twitter -- MarkMartin55."

How was your qualifying run? "Well, I tried to get it on the first lap. I really didn't want to run the second lap. I knew I was going to be close to wrecking and I didn't want to wreck the car and when he (Rodney Childers, crew chief) didn't call me off on the first lap, I knew that we hadn't got it. I couldn't tell. I thought we might be 15th, you know? I had to buckle down and try to get a little bit more that second lap. It's just a tribute to everybody that supports us at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) -- great race cars -- Aaron's, Toyota -- all their support -- that race team, Rodney Childers and all the fans that support us. I got this job because I've got these fans."

How were you able to follow your practice speeds by winning the pole? "Luck. Man, is it fun though. I tell you what -- I'm driving fast race cars and working with great people."

Did you surprise Carl Edwards by taking the pole? "That's the fun of racing and competition. I think a lot of guys like to see an old dude like me pull one off every once in a while. It's pretty cool. Carl's (Edwards) a good dude. It'll be there other way around next time probably."

Does this give you momentum for tomorrow night? "I haven't even thought about tomorrow night yet. I've got a great race car. Let's go racing."

Does this give you an edge to win tomorrow night? "Well, I don't know. It's hard to say. We won one competition and that's what it's all about. When you get to this stage in my career, winning any competition is a cool thing. I get to drive such great race cars. MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) is doing an awesome job and my teammates are working together so well and we've got such great teamwork, fast cars. Rodney Childers (crew chief) does an awesome job. It'd be cool to win a race, but just driving fast stuff is pretty fun."

What are your thoughts on running more than 20,000 laps at this track? "That's pretty crazy. I sat on the pole 31 years ago. That is a story in itself -- that's pretty crazy. I just thought of that, because we got the pole here in 1981 when I was just doing five races with my own car. I've been so fortunate to drive fast race cars and work with great people and I can't believe that Aaron's and MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) are giving me a chance to drive this stuff at this stage of the game. I'm just a really lucky guy.

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Brown Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 5th How was your qualifying run? "It was okay. Not sure where it will stack up. Expected a little bit better than that. I don't know. We'll see how it turns out at the end of the day. It felt pretty good. I wasn't quite able to get back to the gas as hard as I needed to exit of (turn) four on the second lap. Felt like we just used up our tires a little too much maybe."

Is this one of your favorite race tracks? "This is one of our best race tracks. This is fun, but yet very challenging race track to race at. So, you really have to be on top of your game to race here. You really can't relax at any point. You really got to be up on the wheel. Trying to get the most out of your car, but yet still trying to save tires so you have something for these long runs that tend to happen here."

Why are you so successful at Richmond? "I don't know. I had a lot of great runs here in the Hendrick cars and came over to JGR and have been really, really good here. Had Denny (Hamlin) to lean off of an awful lot. He's a lot of help. Just something about this place. It's got that really fast short track feel to it, but yet it still drives like a short track. Maybe some of the Super Late Model experience plays into it."

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 7th How was your qualifying run? "It wasn't bad. We didn't make a whole lot of emphasis on qualifying. It wasn't a terrible run for us. Obviously, we'd like to start a little further up front. We'll be -- at the worst -- looks like 12th or 13th."

What does it take to be successful at Richmond? "Takes a lot of forward drive, obviously on long runs. Same basic thin g at every race track -- you have to have a car that turns good and you have to have a car that has good forward drive. Horsepower -- you almost detune at this race track versus other race tracks where you're looking for max power."

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Brakes Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 8th How was your qualifying run? "It wasn't terrible. We've been fighting the car a little bit today. The NAPA Toyota has been pretty loose on getting off the corners all day. We just haven't been able to get the rear end hooked up good enough."

What will make your car better for the race? "Well, I don't know. That's the question. We worked hard on the NAPA car today. Made a lot of changes, but didn't make a whole lot of progress. So, we're missing a little bit of something. We'll learn a little bit from our teammates. I felt like they were both better than we were. So, that's what we got them for. We'll go to our meeting tonight and hopefully Chad (Johnston, crew chief) and the boys will figure it out like they have been doing all year."

JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 18th

BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Bush's Brown Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Starting Position: 19th

LANDON CASSILL, No. 83 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing Starting Position: 21st

CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 23rd How was that qualifying run? "That really wasn't what we were expecting. We've had a great 5-hour ENERGY Toyota all day and for some reason it didn't show there the way we thought it would. I know we have a good car and tomorrow is going to be a good day. We just have a few more cars to pass tomorrow night. I'm sure we'll be good tomorrow night - and that's what counts."

TRAVIS KVAPIL, No. 93 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing Starting Position: 29th

DAVID STREMME, No. 30 Inception Motorsports Toyota Camry, Inception Motorsports Starting Position: 34th

JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Starting Position: 35th

MIKE BLISS, No. 19 Humphrey Smith Racing Toyota Camry, TriStar Motorsports Starting Position: 39th

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

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About this article
Series NASCAR SPRINT CUP
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Carl Edwards , Mark Martin
Teams Michael Waltrip Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing , BK Racing , TriStar Motorsports , NEMCO Motorsports
Tags bowyer, busch, hamlin, martin, toyota, truex