Kyle Busch (third) was the highest finishing Camry driver in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Pennsylvania’s Pocono Raceway.
Camry drivers Martin Truex Jr. (10th), Joey Logano (11th), Kasey Kahne (12th) and David Reutimann (13th) also earned top-15 finishes at the 2.5-mile triangular race track.
Three Toyota drivers -- Busch, Denny Hamlin and Michael McDowell -- combined to lead the field six times for a total of 79 laps (of 200). Hamlin led 76 laps, Busch was at the front of the field for two laps, and McDowell led one lap.
Other Camry drivers in the field included Hamlin (19th), Brian Vickers (22nd), Bobby Labonte (28th), Casey Mears (30th), T.J. Bell (39th), Joe Nemechek (40th) and McDowell (41st).
Busch remains fifth in the unofficial NSCS point standings following Pocono, and is now 25 points behind leader Carl Edwards.
Hamlin is now in 12th-place in the unofficial NSCS point standings after Pocono, and he is now nine points out of 10thplace in the standings.
Other Toyota drivers in the top-25 in the unofficial NSCS point standings after 14 of 36 races are Kahne (17th), Truex Jr. (20th), Logano (23rd) and Reutimann (24th).
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 3rd
How do you feel about your third-place finish? “It was a really, really good day for us. Started out a little rocky, but we were able to make it through everything and not have any problems and come home with a solid third-place finish. All these guys on this M&M’s Camry team -- they did a great job. Can’t say enough about Dave Rogers (crew chief) for going with me and going and talking to the 11 (Denny Hamlin) guys and really sitting Mike Ford (11 crew chief) down and Denny Hamlin down and trying to figure out what we needed to do and what direction we needed to go. We did that this weekend. We kind of went their direction and it worked for us. It was a good car, it was a good setup and again my guys were awesome on pit road today. They kept giving me good pit stops to get up there. We didn’t have any trouble. Solid, methodical finish here in third.”
How much did you work on the handle of your car? “We worked on it every pit stop. Just minor things -- a little here or there and some air pressure, some track bar, some wedge maybe. It wasn’t anything that we had to make a big swing. We kept clicking it off -- we kept getting closer to the front and the car kept driving a little bit better and a little bit better the more we got there. Once we got up that way, it seemed to be pretty good. There at the end, the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) was coming on me and he was doing really good. All I cared or hoped was that the checkered flag would come soon enough.”
What was going on between you and Kevin Harvick early in the race? “I’m not really sure to be honest with you. I was running my own race. It was another car I had to pass. Seemed like he (Kevin Harvick) was trying to make it awfully difficult on me. There’s a couple times where I just had to back off and wait, got back to him and tried to pass him again. Maybe kind of shows his character and who he is, how he feels he needs to race on the race track. But it’s not my fight. He’s trying to turn it into one.”
Do you feel like you are starting to figure out Pocono? “This isn’t one of my best. Today we had a good run. That’s all I could ask for. I can’t say enough about Dave Rogers (crew chief) -- the work he did this weekend. We both did a lot of work. I stayed up studying a lot of stuff. He did as well. Talking with Mike Ford, Denny Hamlin -- getting those guys to really help us out. It was a shame to see Denny have his problems that relegated him to deep in the field with a flat tire after a pit stop on pit road. That was a shame. They helped us an awful lot, gave us a lot of notes to go off of, a lot of things to try. It was up to me and Dave to put it in the car and up to me to make it work.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 10th
How did the weather and shifting affect the race? “The sun and clouds didn’t seem to be that big of a deal. The shifting was fun -- that made it a lot more fun, especially on restarts. If guys got checked up a little bit then you could get third and you could get a run. It was a lot more fun than in the past here. We were a lot busier, which was a good thing.”
How was your race today? “That was a hard fought 10th. Just proud of the guys on pit road and proud of Chad (Johnston, crew chief) -- that was his first race on the box. He did a good job of keeping me calm. We were pretty far off to start. We weren’t very good all weekend really. We just stuck with it and kept plugging away and he did a good job calling the race and making the adjustments. We were still just lacking a little. It’s just missing a little bit with the NAPA Toyota. Good run for us. Just missing a little and I hope we can find it soon because we’ll have some fun if we do.”
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 11th
How was your car in the race? “Our car was better and we got closer for sure. I’m happy we made progress during the race -- lately we’ve been starting the race and going backwards and going backwards and going backwards. Now at least we’re maintaining and we got better and picked up spots as we kept going. We struggled on pit road a little bit and that was our big problem. We were better than where we finished.”
Did you enjoy shifting during the race? “As long as there were long green flag runs and I was by myself, I may have gotten bored, but the shifting kept me entertained and it was fun. I enjoyed it -- I wish we did that everywhere.”
How was your race today? “Our team did a real good job in the pits and with our race strategy. We needed some help on adjustments, but overall it was a good day.”
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 13th
How did your car handle in the race? “We got the most out of what we had in our Aaron’s Dream Machine. We lost some valuable practice time on Friday that we could have used. We just battled all day to get the handling right. I’m proud of my guys for keeping after it all day. We’ll take our 13th here and try to get better next week at Michigan.”
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 19th
How was your race today? “We were just coasting there at the beginning and just nothing really went right. We struggled a little bit on pit road. We gave up about 10 seconds for the first green flag stop to the 42 (Juan Pablo Montoya) and he short pitted so that made it look even worse. We were just a little bit off on sequence. Those guys would gain a lot while we were out there on older tires. Through the day our car got a little bit tighter -- we were still in contention. I felt like the front bump rubbers just gave up on us a little bit there at the end possibly. But then when we left pit road and had a flat tire -- that is just not your day. When it did that, it sheared the tire and wrapped it around the housing and broke the brakes lines so I had no brakes -- it was just a slew of problems there at the end.”
BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Clorox-Kleenex Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Finishing Position: 28th
CASEY MEARS, No. 13 GEICO Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Finishing Position: 30th
TJ BELL, No. 50 Green Smoke Toyota Camry, Gunselman Motorsports Finishing Position: 39th
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 AM/FM Energy.com / Pellet & Wood Stoves Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 40th
MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 66 HP Racing LLC Toyota Camry, PRISM Motorsports Finishing Position: 41st
-source: toyota motorsports