DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing (Starting Position: 1st):
How was your qualifying run? "That was an amazing run. Definitely wasn't what I expected, but it sure feels good to get a pole here. Our car was really strong in race trim and really wasn't all that good in qualifying trim. Hopefully, this is a good sign of things that will give us a strong run here on Sunday."
How strong was your race car? "I thought that we were a top-five car, but not the best car, which is still an improvement on how we've been here in the past in practice. I thought that our teammate -- the 18 (Kyle Busch) had the best car. We were just a hair behind that. It's tough to say, I think my biggest struggles here in the past have been passing.
We've got a car that's very capable of staying in the front and hopefully we'll have a shot to win."
Could there be a better scenario this weekend than earning the pole? "Not really. I was hoping for a top-10 start, especially with the speeds these guys were running during practice or during this qualifying session.
I thought for sure yesterday that the pole would probably be in the 80s and obviously my driving style does not -- this race track does not reward my type of driving style in the sense of you have to really attack this track really hard. For me to qualify on a pole that doesn't reward my style and obviously having a car as strong as it is -- it's a good thing that Darian (Grubb, crew chief) is as good as he is at setting up race cars.
I just think that we have things rolling right now and we just are taking it one week at a time."
Does this pole help more mentally or strategically? "I think 50-50 on that. Mentally, we had a decent practice yesterday -- two decent practices and if you qualified not as well as we did then you start to think, 'Are we going be heading right back to our old ways at this race track?'
Obviously, from a confidence standpoint, when you get the pole it's a testament to the equipment that you have -- from the cars to the motors to the guys that are putting these bodies on these cars. I think that right now we have everything rolling and that part of it is giving me a ton of confidence.
The strategic part of it is that the number one pit stall here is very, very crucial. We've seen in the past that track position is second-to-none here and I think that we're going to need that with tuning our car. A lot of times we've been here and been caught in the middle of the pack and not able to tune our car because we didn't know what we had.
We know what we've got now and we've just got to execute and make sure we have a flawless day on Sunday."
How much success is the car versus the driver at Dover? "I think that it's probably 75 percent car and 25 percent driver in that sense. I think there's a lot of drivers out there that could be able to do what I do with the cars that Darian (Grubb, crew chief) has been giving me the last few weeks.
I'm going to give him pretty much all the credit and ride his back as long as it will hold me."
What makes Dover challenging for your driving style? "I typically don't run as strong on corner entry and use less brake is my driving style on a lot of race tracks. Here, it just really rewards driving in hard, using the brake and then just matting it on exit.
I'm typically better with throttle management on exit. I just think that for whatever reason, between that and the concrete that I don't have the good of a feel for.
I just think that it's tough for me to change the way I've been driving for 20-some years when I come to this track. Its habits that I've tried to break -- I've broke down a lot of film over these last few days and obviously tried to get better at it.
That's the only way you can continue to stay on top in this sport is to continue to evolve. You just can't rest on what you've been doing for forever because these drivers are just too good."
CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing (Starting Position: 2nd)
How was your qualifying lap? "It was good. It's just a little bit too loose -- kind of knew that. You knew what you were fixing to be up against when you were watching everybody run. It looked like everybody was skating around on the top of the race track.
We (Martin Truex Jr.) were both kind of talking and I was too loose in (turns) one and two, but because of that the car turns really good and you're almost on the bottom too much in (turns) three and four and then you get over there three-quarters of the way around and the thing will get tight and lose the nose on you.
I knew what was fixing to happen and just had to let it roll on around the corner before I went to the gas. When you're that close it's disappointing because you know just if you could have put the gas down that much more anywhere around the race track, you'd of had the pole.
I will save that for another day."
How disappointing was it missing out on the pole? "Any time you get that close -- I looked over on the second lap (and) I knew I kind of screwed my lap up. Crossed the finish line and saw I was in second and I knew it was close cause I knew were the top-five was. When you get that close and miss - - it's a missed opportunity."
Have you helped Denny Hamlin? "Yeah, he's (Denny Hamlin) the guy that we're racing for a championship so we're going to help him a lot -- I will help him every chance I get. Probably do a lot of moving over for him and race him really easy.
No, all the Toyota and TRD (Toyota Racing Development) drivers -- we help each other and work with each other as much as we can. We're all behind our manufacturer that's behind us. Yeah, we're going to race him as clean as possible, but nonetheless we have to beat him to be racing for a championship.
That's probably a good problem to have if you're Toyota."
How difficult is it to pass at Dover? "It's hard to pass here. It's hard to be able to roll underneath of them, but that being said, I saw yesterday in practice cars moving up and using the top way, way sooner than usual.
A lot of people were fighting tight conditions yesterday -- me included -- and usually to be able to pass you have to be able to roll underneath of them. It's going to be interesting to see what happens tomorrow with the weather changing. It's cool today and the sun is supposed to be back out and it will be hot and slick tomorrow, so just have to be ready for whatever they will throw at you."
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing (Starting Position: 3rd):
How was your car in qualifying? "It's a good day for us. We've had a good car all weekend long -- the NAPA Toyota was fast. I just messed up in (turns) three and four a little bit. We should have had the pole there.
That's my bad -- the guys did an awesome job and the car has been really fast all weekend. I'm excited to be here and ready for the AAA 400 tomorrow and hopefully we can get our Toyota in victory lane again."
What happened during your qualifying run? "I gave it away. I had them. The car was good. The NAPA Toyota was about perfect. Just didn't hit (turns) three and four right. Had to lift off of (turn) four and gave it to him.
The car was awesome. The guys did a great job."
Has your car been good all weekend? "Yeah. It's been a good weekend so far. We felt good about our car yesterday on long runs. Has good long run speed. That's what it takes here. We'll see if we can get it done tomorrow."
How important is a good pit stall at Dover? "It's definitely a great thing for here -- pit stalls are very important and certainly we wanted to get the pole so we could get that first one. That's a really good spot.
I screwed up and I'll take the blame on this one. I feel bad because the guys did such a good job. That first pit stall is huge. We run really well here -- Clint (Bowyer) and I were really good in the spring race. After the start we've had to our Chase, we feel like we need to get going and hopefully we can do that. So far this weekend it's went great for us. The car has been fast. Just have to make it happen here."
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing (Starting Position: 5th):
What happened during your qualifying run? "I really don't know what I did wrong. I was just trying to get all I could. It stepped out and I just had to catch it and wait and go after it the second lap.
Just glad we were able to have a strong second lap. If I would have hit the first one, we probably would have been up top. All in all, it's a good starting spot for us. Hopefully it sticks. The Interstate Batteries Camry has been a really fast race car.
Proud of these guys. I'm sorry to them I goofed it up. Hopefully be in victory lane afterwards will repay them a little bit."
Are you pleased with your qualifying run? "Our lap was really good. The first lap I just tried to get after it a little too much maybe and it stepped out on me. Was able to have a good recovery and backed it up the second lap for a good time -- and our teammate just went quick time so it's really good for those guys."
Do you have a good car for the race? "I think we've definitely got a top-three car right now. There's a couple guys that our pretty decent. I think we're one of those in the top elite."
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing (Starting Position: 14th):
How did your car handle during qualifying? "Loose off is what I was. If we would have made just a little more of an adjustment -- just a little tiny bit more -- a half round on the track bar would have been the pole. Gosh, it was close. I just gave it up off of (turn) four.
I was just too loose. This place is just awesome. It's always fun to get out of the car after qualifying with your hands shaking a little.
MARK MARTIN, No. 55 Aaron's 2000th Store -- Bronx, NY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing (Starting Position: 26th):
How was your qualifying lap? "That was disappointing. I really thought we were going to be better than that. Every one of them can't be your best. That was just a big surprise."
Source: Toyota Motorsports