Five Toyota Camrys competed in tonight's Sprint All-Star race -- Tony Stewart (fifth), AJ Allmendinger (17th), Dale Jarrett (21st), Denny Hamlin (23rd) and Kyle Busch (24th). Busch earned the pole for the All-Star race for the first time in his...
Five Toyota Camrys competed in tonight's Sprint All-Star race -- Tony Stewart (fifth), AJ Allmendinger (17th), Dale Jarrett (21st), Denny Hamlin (23rd) and Kyle Busch (24th).
Busch earned the pole for the All-Star race for the first time in his career and the first for Toyota.
Busch won the first 25-lap segment and led the first 13 laps of the second segment before mechanical problems ended his night. Similar problems ended the night for his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Hamlin, who led in the final segment.
The No. 84 Red Bull Toyota Camry of Allmendinger won the 40-lap Sprint Showdown race to transfer into his first career All-Star race. Allmendinger led the complete final segment (21 laps).
Two Toyota Camrys led all 40 laps of the Sprint Showdown. Brian Vickers (No. 83 Red Bull Camry) led 19 laps with Allmendinger leading 21 laps.
TONY STEWART, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How worried were you about your motor holding together after your teammates had trouble? "We had problems yesterday and that's what got us in the situation. We didn't have the problem that they had, but we had it first yesterday. Unfortunately it was one of those deals tonight where it was just like pulling a pin on a grenade -- didn't know when it was going to go off for those guys. It was experimental stuff and tonight's the night to try that stuff. When it comes time to run 600 miles next week, we can do it."
Do you feel good about the things you learned tonight? "We started dead last tonight. Nothing trick and fancy with us tonight -- we drove ourselves to fifth place. I'm really happy with this finish."
Were you surprised that there were no crashes tonight? "I don't know -- I guess. It's nice that nobody had to crash tonight. Normally these things are wrecks fests. It's nice to have one where nobody had to crash."
Were drivers not taking as many chances? "You just had what you had. It wasn't like you really had options. You couldn't run as close as you normally would and that probably kept everybody from having problems."
How do you feel that the driver who received the fan vote to get into the All-Star race won the race? "I think it's cool. The cool thing is that the fans know that they made the difference tonight. They voted in the guy that was capable of going out and winning the race tonight. That's pretty cool -- I'm really glad he had a good night."
DALE JARRETT, No. 44 UPS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
What do you feel climbing out of the car for the final time? "It's over -- we've done it. It's been great and I wouldn't do anything different. It feels great."
Can you talk about your race tonight? "We knew we were going to struggle. The team is still working, trying to get better. We were trying to practice over here during the day and give them information for a night race. We just kind of chased it around. It's kind of what I expected. You always like to do more, but that's okay, they worked hard for it."
What were you thinking when you crossed the finish line? "It started with about five to go (when I) started taking things in and realizing it wouldn't be happening anymore. Once again, it was great. I'm very satisfied with the decision and the way things have gone in my career."
DALE JARRETT, No. 44 UPS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Do you feel this was the right race to make your last one? "Yeah, it was the right one. This race is about the fans and it was a chance for me to say thank you to them. They come here for the reason of what the All-Star race is about and it was the perfect race."
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How disappointed are you to get knocked out of the race after taking the lead? "I'm just proud of this whole FedEx Freight team. They gave me a shot to win it and they were going to have to knock me out to get around me. It was going to be about four lanes wide. That was all we could ask for is that we had a fighting chance with 15 to go and were leading the race. I just held it real strong that first lap and tried to go around that 48 (Jimmie Johnson) as soon as we could because we knew our car was tight. As soon as I moved up, our lap times really picked up and it seemed like we were going to be the car to beat. It's just one of those deals. I'm proud of this whole team and I couldn't be happier."
Did you have an experimental engine package this week? "This is definitely experimental 'All-Star only' racing. We came out here with our guns loaded and unfortunately our gun went off a little bit before the end of the race. It just wasn't enough. We knew this engine wasn't going to go 500 miles. It was built for just a few more laps past 100 and it just didn't make it."
KYLE BUSCH, M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What happened to your car? "We broke something in the motor unfortunately. It was a great race car and a pretty much dominate race car and just had something break within the valve train. A rocker arm first and then a couple of valves so we ended up just finishing for the night. It was a great race car but just nothing you can do with engine woes. TRD, Mark (Cronquist, JGR engine builder) and everyone back at the shop did such an awesome job for us. This was a new piece and it was pretty stout and it was pretty right but just didn't make the whole longevity here."
How disappointed are you after having such a strong car? "Normally when you have a great car it's a great chassis night you have motor issues but it's just unfortunate for everybody here at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) including Mark (Cronquist, JGR engine builder) and the engine shop. I know he's going to be pulling his hair out tomorrow. We had a problem with it braking when we were here at testing but they put over 800 miles on these things so they felt pretty safe about it when they fixed the problem that we had before. Evidently we had something else happen about the same. Just broke a rocker arm and bent some valves. I hate it for all the guys on this M&M's team. What a fast race car that thing was. It was definitely pretty good. We'll get back after it here in the 600 and see what we can do there."
Is this frustrating for you? "It is. You want to go out there and you want to win and with a car that good that was capable of winning. If we were running second or third to somebody that was dominating like us or running like us that wouldn't have hurt as bad. It's just unfortunate for all of us. Not just me but the team. These guys wanted to win just as bad. We missed out tonight. It just wasn't our night and hopefully we can come back for the 600."
Was this a special package you ran for the All-Star Race tonight? "It was going to be our standard package for the 600 next weekend. It's a new package that we've come out with in the recent weeks but for some reason it has broken rocker arms. We'll fix it and get it ready for if not this upcoming week but the next couple weeks."
Do you feel like you guys gave one away? "Yeah, definitely. I feel like we gave it away for sure. (Carl) Edwards was fast but in clean air out front like we were on the first couple laps of a restart I don't think he could have come back and caught up to us."
Are you going to completely focus on the 600 now? "Oh yeah. You've got to switch focus right away. Tonight's over so we're going home and will hopefully enjoy a good day off tomorrow and watch the Camping World East Series on TV from Iowa and then go to bed and get ready for next week already. That's how quick this stuff moves along."
Was your problem related to why Tony (Stewart) changed engines? "I have no idea. I don't know what ended up transpiring with his car but I know that ours is the same problem that we had here at the test."
What did you think of the burnout competition? "I think Jimmie Johnson missed the memo on what to do but he had a blast I know that for sure. I just think it would be pretty cool if you got a minute time limit to do whatever you wanted to. Then you had to go start in a box and then end in a box and in a minutes time whoever was closest to that minute won so that would be pretty cool probably."
What does this win mean to you and this team? "I feel like I won the Daytona 500. Nobody understands how much this means to me after what we went through as a team. It may be just an All-Star Showdown, but this means the world to me. These guys -- everybody at Red Bull Racing Team and Toyota -- they've stuck behind me. We had a good test here. I have to thank Sam (Hornish Jr.). He was quicker than me at the end. He may have had a chance to go out there and get his win, and he raced me clean knowing that we were both in. I thank him for that."
Were you concerned with cars with fresher tires catching you after that last caution? "You're always concerned about that. I was more concerned about the restart. I was getting great runs starting on the outside. I have to apologize to Elliott Sadler. It was my bad. I was so close behind Brian (Vickers) on the restart. My car had been loose and the thing just lost front grip and I just slid up into him. I know how it is. Saying sorry right now doesn't mean much to him right now, and I understand that. But I am sorry. I don't want to race like that. I took him out and that's my bad."
Were you worried that Sam Hornish Jr would pass you at the end of the Showdown race? "I was hoping he'd stay behind me. It was one of those things that if he'd cleanly got under me I wasn't going to fight him off. He was quicker. My car had gotten a little bit tight. Throughout testing and practice I really hadn't run the bottom a lot. I'd been pretty much running up top and I about wrecked early in the race when I went up there. I was just going to take it smooth and if he got under me I was going to let him go. I have to give him a lot of credit and a lot of thanks because he could have raced me hard. He could be sitting here with the victory or we both could have wrecked. It was a clean race and I thank him for that."
What happened between you and Elliott Sadler during the race? "I don't know if I can really defend myself. It was my fault -- I slid up in to him. I didn't mean to do it. We'd been loose throughout the whole race to start. I was tucked under Brian (Vickers) to try to get him by and get around Elliott (Sadler) clean. I basically passed him right as that yellow came out. I was so close to Brian that the nose just took off on me and I was out of throttle the whole time just trying to miss him. I don't want to race like that. I don't want to be known to race like that. There's no defense. I messed up. I'll apologize to him but I know right now that doesn't mean anything. I don't want to be known for that. We'll talk later. There's no defense there that was my fault."
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
J.J. YELEY, No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry, Hall of Fame Racing
DAVE BLANEY, No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota Camry, Bill Davis Racing
MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 NAPA Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
-credit: toyota motorsports