Tony Stewart earned the 10th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) win for Toyota, his 33rd career NSCS victory and first at Alabama's Talladega Superspeedway Sunday afternoon. Stewart led a race-high 24 laps in the 190-lap race en route to...
Tony Stewart earned the 10th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) win for Toyota, his 33rd career NSCS victory and first at Alabama's Talladega Superspeedway Sunday afternoon.
Stewart led a race-high 24 laps in the 190-lap race en route to today's win in his 20th career NSCS start at Talladega.
Camry drivers Kenny Wallace (12th), Kyle Busch (15th) Ken Schrader (16th) and Michael Waltrip (19th) also finished in the top-20 Sunday.
Other Camry drivers in the field included Dave Blaney (22nd), Mike Skinner (31st), Brian Vickers (35th), David Reutimann (37th), and Denny Hamlin (39th).
Six Camry drivers took turns at the front of the field today for a total of 67 laps. In addition to Stewart, other Camry drivers out front included Wallace (three laps), Busch (20 laps), Waltrip (one lap), Vickers (10 laps) and Hamlin (nine laps).
With today's win, Toyota has swept all four NASCAR races at the 2.66-mile superspeedway in 2008 -- Stewart (April, Nationwide Series), Busch (April, NSCS) and Todd Bodine (October, Craftsman Truck Series).
In the NSCS 'Chase for the Sprint Cup,' Stewart moved up four spots with his win today and is now seventh in the unofficial point standings. His Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Busch (11th) and Hamlin (12th) are also in the top-12.
TONY STEWART, No. 20 Subway Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 1st
What does it mean to finally win at Talladega?
"It's one thing to get back to victory lane, but to do it at Talladega -- this is one of about four places I haven't won a Cup race at and talk about one to win. I've wanted to win here for so long. I have so many friends down here -- Red Farmer and Donnie Allison and all these fans man, there's so much orange up there. This hasn't been one of my favorite places on the fan side -- people haven't always liked me here, but this one is for those guys up in the stands today."
What was it like on that last lap?
"Just don't get too big of a gap behind me and I knew with three DEI (Dale Earnhardt Incorporated) cars behind me it was going to be tough to hold on. We got a really good push from Regan (Smith) on the backstretch there. I thought he was going to be able to stay on the bumper and if he was able to stay there then I knew there wasn't anybody that was going to be able to get to us. He got away from us there and got a gap and he got a good run -- I just had to try to protect it to the end."
How did the race play out for you today?
"We just tried to be careful the first part of the day. When we got behind Jeff Gordon there at one point we were trying to push too much and it got hot so we just had to back off. I was just patient until the last half of the race there and finally got ourselves in position to stay up front. This thing drove awesome all day, it was just a matter of the right guys. The 6 (David Ragan) was really good, the 17 (Matt Kenseth), the 31 (Jeff Burton) -- there were some cars that were really good pushing and I am just glad that we finally got one for Subway because we haven't had much luck for them this year."
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Pedigree Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 15th
"We were just riding around waiting for the end and all heck broke loose in front of me. I got to the bottom and almost made it through but the 22 (Dave Blaney) got me in the right front. My guys did a great job getting it fixed so we could finish. Congrats to Tony (Stewart) but it's a bummer for Pedigree and all these guys."
KEN SCHRADER, No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota Cam ry, Hall of Fame Racing
Finishing Position: 16th
Can you talk about your race today? "Early in the race, we had electrical problems that ultimately cost us a couple of laps on the race track. We came in and changed alternator belts which fixed what was wrong with it. We caught a couple of cautions, which put us back on the lead lap, but I knew I didn't have a car that could run with the big boys, so I played it the other way. I've been around long enough to know that if you don't have the horse to run with the leaders, you do what you can to get the best finish possible. We ended up with a top-20 run, so all in all, not a bad day. We'll move on to Charlotte and get what we can there."
We saw you working on the car what happened that caught you in the incident? "I'm a truck driver, that's how we roll over there. Yeah, Jimmy (Elledge, crew chief) and these guys will get this Red Bull Camry back out. It was kind of a shame. We saw what was going on we seen what happened and got it whoa'd down and got into a car a little bit. Everybody just started wrecking. I don't think we were all that bad, until a red car I think it was the Budweiser car, I'm not sure came down in front of us. That caused a little bit more damage on our Red Bull Toyota. That was a shame. The car was pretty good -- we were just kind of biding our time. Our goal today was to miss that, and we didn't miss it. We'll just get her patched up and do the best we can."
What happened that took you out of the race? "I felt a bomb explode in my right front tire. I am just so proud of the Red Bull effort and all the guys back at the shop put together a great car and Toyota put together a great engine. We led a lot of laps today and we had a car that could run up front all day. I don't think anyone could maintain the lead, it was just a matter of timing and who was going to be in the lead. I just went down into the tri-oval and it didn't cut or go flat -- it exploded. I saw the right-front fender going through the air before the front of the car even dropped. It was the same thing that happened to (Dale Earnhardt) Jr. in practice."
Was this a typical Talladega wreck? "Usually they're driver induced, but this one was tire-induced. Unfortunately we've had several of those this weekend where a tire just comes apart. We were the car that led the start of the crash, but it really wasn't our fault. When a tire comes apart there's really not much you can do about that. It is a typical Talladega wreck in the fact that typically you blow a tire at most race tracks you just take yourself out or maybe one other. Here you blow a tire out in the middle of the pack and you take out 10-plus cars just like we saw in practice the other day. It's unfortunate, the Red Bull Toyota guys were doing a great job, we had a great car and we led a lot of laps. Just the right-front exploded on us."
Was there anything you could do? "I was just trying to make sure that I was holding on as tight as possible. When you lose a right-front tire there's nothing you can do. Your brakes don't work, especially when you explode one to that magnitude. The car just drops on the track and more than likely it cuts your brake lines which it did for me. You're really just at the mercy of where momentum is going to take you and other guys around you and hopefully they avoid you. There's absolutely nothing you can do when you blow a right-front tire."
Were people more aggressive today or was it typical? "I thought the driving was fine. People were definitely bump drafting quite a bit, but with these cars the bumpers line up well and as long as you use your head when you're doing it then it's usually not too big of an effort. Obviously it can get out of control, but I thought everybody was doing a pretty good job. Unfortunately the way these cars are now if you're not bump drafting then you're going to get passed. It really leaves you with no option."
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 44 UPS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position: 37th
What happened that took you out of the race? "It blew up. I blew a right-rear tire and they patched it back together and they did a good job because we could sort of hang in there. Then it dropped a cylinder and got slower and finally decided it wasn't going to run any longer and blew up."
What is causing the tire problems? "I don't know. It's crazy because you've got guys blowing right-front tires and right-rears and stuff. I don't know -- it could be a debris deal, but it's hard to say. The only thing I know for sure is that when they blow out they do it all of the sudden and without warning. It's unfortunate, but it is what it is."
J.D. GIBBS, President, Joe Gibbs Racing
What happened to Denny Hamlin and is he all right? "It was quite a shot -- kind of hurt his ankle a little bit, but that should be okay. He's got a little headache so they're just going to watch him. Probably take him into Birmingham just to keep an eye on him. He's alert and doing well. The tire went down and it was quite a shot. The good news is that he feels pretty good, but we're just going to take precautions and make sure he's ok. I talked to his family and just let them know what was going on. It was a scary deal, but it's at least nice that he's alert and with it."
KENNY WALLACE, No. 00 Champion Mortgage Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finished: 12th
DAVE BLANEY, No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota Camry, Bill Davis Racing Finishing Position: 22nd
MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 NAPA Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 19th
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 39th
-credit: toyota motorsports