• Camry driver Kyle Busch won Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway.
• The victory was his fourth of the 2011 season, his 36th driving a Toyota, and his 47th career NNS win.
• Busch led a total of four laps en route to his first career NNS win at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.
• Busch is now two victories away from tying Mark Martin’s NNS record of 49 career wins.
• Camry drivers Joey Logano (second) and Joe Nemechek (third) also earned top-five finishes in the race.
• Brian Scott (11th), Michael Annett (19th), Kenny Wallace (25th), Steve Wallace (32nd) and Michael Waltrip (33rd) were also in the 124-lap race.
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 1st
How did you win this race? “I don’t know -- look at the thing. I got hit like three times on the left side. I thought it was killed -- I said it was killed. These guys did a great job putting it back together with great leadership from Jason Ratcliff (crew chief). This Z-Line Designs Camry doesn’t look the best, but it was certainly the best right there at the end, especially with the guy that was pushing me -- Joey (Logano) was a great teammate today. Can’t thank everybody from the whole JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) organization -- the guys from GameStop, thank those guys. They deserve to win just as much as we do right here. This is a team win and it’s cool to get it here. Finally I won a Nationwide race here so now I completed the sweep at Talladega. NOS Energy Drink, Toyota -- this Camry was pretty fast today in the draft and getting pushed with another Camry so it worked good there. Gillette, Nationwide Insurance, Marquis Jets -- thank the fans -- it’s cool to run the Nationwide Series and I love doing it and love winning too.”
How was your race car overall? “We had a steady race car -- the car was really good, it was just a matter of being in the right place at the right time and getting the right push when it mattered most. Fortunately, we got it there with Joey (Logano). Getting hooked up with him, we were kind of working with some other people throughout the day just to see what we could figure out and what we could learn. When it came down towards the end right there, it was really good for us to get teamed up and for us to try to keep getting in each other’s lane so we could get the push draft going as soon as we could after the restarts. This Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry was awesome today. I just can’t thank these guys at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) enough. We had the wreck on the backstretch and I thought we were done. I said, ‘The only reason I’m going to stop is because you guys are before the garage area is.’ I stopped and these guys said we could fix it. They detailed it up for me and gave it a spit shine and threw some duct tape on it and let her eat. Fortunately it was still fast enough to where we could run up front like that.”
How much strategy is involved in a race like this? “Not much. You’re pretty much -- you’re playing your tire strategy off of how your car is driving. You’re playing your fuel strategy off whether you can make it to the end or not or how far you are in a run. If you can go 10 or 20 laps or even 30 laps on a fuel run. Every time we came down, we pretty much took fuel only. There was a couple times that we took tires just because we knew that we were in a position to get tires and if we got them then we wouldn’t have to get them the next time. It got a little slick there at the end, that long 20 lap run of pushing each other like that. I was getting a little sideways down the straight away and stuff, but we held it straight. Somehow we made it through some of the holes that were out there -- it wasn’t much of a gap, but I shot it and it was either going to work or it wasn’t going to work and we’re going to wad some stuff up. My car was already torn up and I’m sure the rest of these guys don’t want to see it going by them, but we made it happen. Again, these guys did a great job working on it and getting it ready and preparing a good race car there about twothirds of the way through.”
Somehow we made it through some of the holes that were out there -- it wasn’t much of a gap
Are you thinking about the NNS race win record? “All in all, the Mark Martin record -- it’s two away, it’s three away from being in my own number. When and where that happens, we’re not going to pick a date. It’s too hard to do that. We have Darlington coming up, we’ve got Dover, and we’re not going to Richmond -- Nashville next week. There’s definitely some good opportunity here to win three more races before June or right into June. If everything goes right then maybe we could do that. If it comes through this year, great. If not, then we’ll just wait and try to do it next year.”
How are the two team cars able to stick together so well? “In a perfect world, you would have a team car with one built for the front and one built for the back. In a perfect world you would do that. I don’t know that you could ever really stay hooked up or do that. We were thinking that if Joey (Logano) can push me all day then I might as well tape the nose up and run a little warmer so we can get better slip-stream, but anytime I would have to get in the back we would be screwed for that.”
Was there a hole between Joe Nemechek and Mike Wallace at the end of the race? “I don’t know -- I saw daylight and I said that if I can see daylight then I’m shooting for it. If I would have steered to the top to go around, Joey (Logano) would have off-centered on me and probably would have spun me out. I knew this was it -- the only opportunity I had here. If I get in and start bouncing off these guys, we’re all going to wreck. Fortunately, that didn’t happen because I know those guys probably would have gotten really, really mad at me. Somehow we made it through there and I didn’t think it was wide enough for a car to fit through, but I certainly made it wide enough for a car to fit through. Trevor Bayne came over to me and he asked, ‘Was it wide enough for you to fit through?’ I said, ‘I don’t think so.’ He says, ‘Well, how the heck did you get through there?’ I just closed my eyes and held my foot to the floor and prayed for the best.”
JASON RATCLIFF, crew chief, No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Were you surprised you won this race? “It’s crazy -- out of all the race tracks you go to, this place and Daytona -- you spend so much time getting the bodies right, straight and you look at that thing and you can’t believe it can even run minimal speed. Great job by the guys on pit road. Came in there, three corners were knocked off of it, the crush panels were falling out of it -- it was a mess. They did a great job of orchestrating the repairs to keep from losing a lap. Like Kyle (Busch) said, you have to have a teammate and thankfully Joey (Logano) was committed there at the end to stand behind us and push us. He felt comfortable there and that’s the only way we were going to win it. Thanks to those guys and the 20 team for their hard work. If they didn’t have a fast race car then we wouldn’t have won it either. It was a total team effort. It’s the ugliest race car we’ve ever had in victory lane. To think you could do it at a restrictor plate race -- maybe it’s a new car thing. Maybe we need to come down pit road next time on the first stop and knock all the fenders off of it and be done with it. Fun day.”
These cars are resilient. We’ve seen that. These guys hit the wall and knock them all to pieces and they keep running.
Does the two-car draft eliminate the need for aerodynamics? “The aerodynamic part of it, I think there are parts of the car that if they get damaged you would suffer tremendously as far as the nose -- if you get a hole in the nose then it’s going to slow the lead car down. We were fortunate that the back bumper -- it tore the side up, it tore the left-rear quarter panel up, but the back bumper was in good shape. If it wouldn’t have been in good shape then Joey (Logano) wouldn’t have been able to push us. you have to have the back bumper in good shape and I think as long as the windshield forward is in decent shape, these things run and get hooked up to run pretty good together. More so than the old car did. These cars are resilient. We’ve seen that. These guys hit the wall and knock them all to pieces and they keep running. I heard the 01 (Mike Wallace) flipped over, landed on his wheels and kept rolling. They’re crazy. I would say that because the two cars get together, you can have one that’s really damaged and you can continue to run up front like we did.”
What does it mean to be getting close to Mark Martin’s win record? “To think you could even reach Mark Martin’s record and to be a part of that and nobody more deserving of that than Kyle (Busch). He’s worked really hard for it and for us to be a part of that as his team is going to be fun. It’s going to happen -- when is it going to happen and where is it going to happen, who knows. We’re just going to keep winning races like we’ve been doing and enjoying that.”
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 GameStop Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 2nd
How was your car in today’s race? “Our car was okay -- we were second. I wish we could have got the checkered flag and maybe could have done something with Kyle (Busch) there. I was committed to pushing him and we were going to get all the way to the front one way or the other and then battle it out to the checkered flag. But the caution came out there at the end and all I know is I saw a car go upside down in my mirror. The GameStop car was good. The guys did a good job. It looks like we were at Martinsville more than Talladega. We were beating the heck out of these poor cars. I got hit in the door, the A-post is falling apart, the bumper is falling off every car -- it’s crazy out there, but we got a good finish out of it. Just I would rather be in victory lane. I think this is probably the third or fourth time I’ve pushed people to the win. I just need to be on the other side some day.”
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 NEMCO Motorsports Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 3rd
How was your race today? “It was a great afternoon. How about that for a small team. We’re struggling trying to find sponsorship. I have to thank Kevin Conway and all the Extenze brands for coming on board. This was a one-race deal with us. Have to thank Nationwide Insurance. It was a cool race. We got a lap down early because I couldn’t find a drafting partner. Then got a partner with Mike Wallace and we were fast. We got up there and pushed him to the lead and I just wish it would have finished under green because we had a run coming back on the inside. Brad Keselowski gave me a heck of a push there and we just missed it. It’s great to finally have a great run.”
BRIAN SCOTT, No. 11 Shore Lodge Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 11th What did you think of today’s race? “This two-car drafting is crazy. We worked at it all day and worked on the Shore Lodge Toyota all today. It was really unstable at the start of the race when I was being pushed. I know I made a lot of friends today because I could push so well, but they just weren’t around at the end. I got caught up in a few things, but the guys killed it on pit road and fixed the car up. They did a great job all day. I know they are working on the finishing order now, so we may get a top-10 out of this who knows. I know I don’t have the same experience as a lot of the guys out here, but I learned a lot today from veteran guys like Kyle (Busch) and Michael (Waltrip). It was really helpful and should be information that will make me that much better when we go to Daytona in a few months. Now we will take this car back to the shop to get it ready for Daytona and keep moving forward.”
MICHAEL ANNETT, No. 62 Pilot Travel Centers/Flying J Toyota Camry, Rusty Wallace Racing Finishing Position: 19th
KENNY WALLACE, No. 09 Family Farmers Toyota Camry, RAB Racing with Brack Maggard Finishing Position: 25th
STEVE WALLACE, No. 66 5-Hour Energy Toyota Camry, Rusty Wallace Racing Finishing Position: 32nd
What happened that took you out of the race? “I don’t really know what happened. I came off of turn two -- me and Michael Annett did and the whole field crashed in front of me. It’s just another product of this two-car, stupid-style racing. It’s not fun as a driver and really don’t know if the fans like it. Just really hate it for 5-Hour Energy. Under a lot of pressure to get this season going strong and it’s just been nothing but bad stuff this year. We need to get that monkey off our back. We’ve got fast race cars. We just have to go to Nashville next week and hopefully have a strong run there.”
MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 99 Aaron’s Toyota Camry, Pastrana-Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 33rd
What caused you to wreck? “I don’t know what actually caused me to hit the wall, but what happened was on the restart the 2 of Elliott Sadler decided he would mess around so that the 1 (Jamie McMurray) could get on his bumper – which is ridiculous because there’s too much traffic to do that. Just run a few laps and work it out. But, he didn’t go off on the start like he should’ve and it bunched everybody up. There’s 30 cars pushing forward – you can’t do that. He messed around so he could get the 1 to him and the 1 was just going and I don’t know – they all piled up. It was dumb.”
-source: toyota motorsports