Matt Kenseth led the way for Toyota at Darlington. Although he failed to back up his victory from one year ago, he did post a strong result of 4th.
· Matt Kenseth was the first Camry driver to the finish line in Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Darlington Raceway.
· Kenseth finished fourth behind race-winner Kevin Harvick, second-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. and third-place Jimmie Johnson.
· Three other Camry drivers registered top-20 results -- Kyle Busch (sixth), Clint Bowyer (12th) and Denny Hamlin (19th).
· Kenseth (12 laps), Hamlin (three laps) and Vickers (30 laps) all spent time at the front of the field during the 374-lap race at the 1.33 mile South Carolina raceway.
· Four Camry drivers are in the top-15 in the unofficial NSCS point standings following the first eight races of the season -- Kenseth (second), Busch (sixth), Vickers (13th) and Hamlin (15th).
MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Home Depot/Husky Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 4th
How was the race tonight?
“We went back and forth. We were better than I thought we were going to be -- I was pretty pleased with it really. There was three or four cars, five cars really in the playing field we couldn’t run with. I thought we made great adjustments tonight and had good pit stops. We did a ton of adjustments in the pits and came up with a good finish.”
Did the change from day to night help you pass more cars early in the race?
“I think it’s more to do with the track being cleaner. There were more grooves so you could kind of make moves early in the run -- a little bit better than you could at the end. Once the track got all rubbered up it was a little harder for me to move forward plus the cars were all better.”
Was the two-tire pit stop at the end the best call for track position?
“Absolutely -- if we would have come out in the lead then it really would have been good. Multiple attempts there hurt us a little bit. We had a real good restart the second time. Kevin (Harvick) obviously had the dominant car and we weren’t going to beat him on four tires. We put two tires on and hoped to get lucky and pull one out and I think that’s about where we finished anyway so I thought it was a great call.”
How difficult were the final several restarts?
“It’s tough, on used tires it’s real easy to spin the tires here and I had a bunch of good restarts until I really needed it there at the end. Kevin (Harvick) on four tires could just accelerate so much better through the gears and I couldn’t keep up with them and got shuffled back a bit. The restarts were tough, but that’s what makes it exciting.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 6th
Are you pleased with the top-10 finish?
“I guess we should be happy with sixth considering how we could have finished with our M&M’s Camry. I’m a little disappointed because I really feel like we should have gotten fourth, but we seemed to always be behind one of the cars spinning the tires on the restarts at the end. It’s a top-10 which is good going into the off week.”
CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position: 12th
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 19th
BRIAN VICKERS, No. 55 Aaron’s Own It Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position: 26th
How did the car handle during the race?
“We had a decent car. On one run we took two tires and the thing drove better than it did when we had four tires and I don’t know why. We were okay out front and I’m sure a lot of it is just the handle. We struggled a little more in traffic than a lot of the guys just kind of up on top of the track. The guys did a really good job making the car better all night. I think we had at least a top-10 car, maybe a top-five and if the cards would have been played right maybe even a win. Obviously, that one time we took two and stayed there. When we got four we couldn’t stay there. I don’t know why that is, but I think we’re making progress. We weren’t as good tonight as we’ve been, but we were decent. I think we learned a lot just very frustrating. Everyone on this team did a great job with the car and made the car better all weekend. Billy (Scott, crew chief) called a really good race. The pit guys did a great job in the pits. Really proud of the whole Aaron’s Toyota team -- they did a good job.”
ALEX BOWMAN, No. 23 Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing
Finishing Position: 29th
PARKER KLIGERMAN, No. 30 Swan Energy Toyota Camry, Swan Racing
Finishing Position: 30th
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 66 Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports
Finishing Position: 34th
COLE WHITT, No. 26 Swan Energy Toyota Camry, Swan Racing
Finishing Position: 38th
RYAN TRUEX, No. 83 Borla Exhaust Toyota Camry, BK Racing
Finishing Position: 40th