Brian Vickers scored his fifth top-10 of the season with a 10th-place finish Sunday at Atlanta. Camry drivers Michael Waltrip (11th), AJ Allmendinger (16th) and Dale Jarrett (19th) all earned top-20 finishes. It was Jarrett's best finish of the...
Brian Vickers scored his fifth top-10 of the season with a 10th-place finish Sunday at Atlanta. Camry drivers Michael Waltrip (11th), AJ Allmendinger (16th) and Dale Jarrett (19th) all earned top-20 finishes. It was Jarrett's best finish of the season (22nd at Daytona). Allmendinger led one lap in the No. 84 Red Bull Camry, the first of his NNCS career. Dave Blaney finished 38th in the No. 22 Caterpillar Camry.
Two top-five finishes have been logged by Toyota Camrys this season; Vickers finished fifth in Charlotte in May and Blaney finished third at Talladega Superspeedway in October.
How did the adjustments you made on your car today help you get a top-10 finish? "We made a lot of adjustments today, but we just could never really hit on it. We tried all day long -- we were just teetering back and forth. The car was pretty good. We definitely had a lot of battles to fight today. The first one was when I got into the wall -- that was my fault. (Dale Earnhardt) Jr. got around us on the outside and he was carrying so much more speed than we were and I wanted to give it a shot, but the car got tight on me and I got into the wall. We got that fixed and then coming to pit road -- I don't know what happened. There's always an accordion effect, but they came to an absolute, complete, 'put-it-in-park stop.' The pavement here is so slick with these tires that any time someone in front of you slams on the brakes there's just not much you can do. Then we had that left-front damage and had to repair that and go to the back again, but we came out of here with a top-10 and that's good."
Does it help to know that when you make these races you are usually in contention for a good finish? "It helps to know that we can race well -- we just need to figure out what we have to do to qualify. I think what we did this weekend was a huge step in that direction. For the first time in a long time, we not only made the race, but we were contending for the fastest in practice and we were top-15 in qualifying. I think we could have been a little better in qualifying -- I don't know if we had a shot at the pole, but I think we could have been better. What we applied this weekend is not going to work at every race track, but it's going to work at a lot of them."
***MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 NAPA Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finished: 11th
How was your race today? "We really had our hands full today, but we fought our way back to an 11th-place finish. The team put in a lot of effort and I put us behind the eight-ball when I ran into the wall yesterday in practice. From that point on our car just wasn't right. It was nice to persevere and get a good finish. I knew I didn't have the car I needed today and that made me mad, but it also makes me determined to overachieve and try our very best to get more than we deserve and today we did that."
What type of momentum do you feel with three top-20 finishes in a row? "It's three in a row in the top-20 and three in a row on the lead lap. If you do that once, you got lucky -- when you do that three times -- you're doing something right."
How was your race today? "It was exciting. On car speed, we didn't deserve to finish where we did, but on effort, we probably deserved to finish higher because these guys never gave up. We could just never get a handle on the car - it was just so loose. We could never get the right-rear on the race track. This is stuff I'm learning and this is the stuff the team is learning. When we're not very good, to be able to survive and almost get the best finish of the year for us with one of the worst cars we've had, shows that we've learned as a team. We can still get a good finish despite our struggles."
What was your view of the incident on the late restart? "When we went to take off, I could see that we weren't going for a while. I knew something bad was going to happen. It started stacking up, but my spotter did an awesome job getting me through that."
DALE JARRETT, No. 44 UPS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finished: 19th
Can you talk about your race today? "We worked on the car all day, but just couldn't make it better. We were fighting a grip issue off the corner pretty much all day. We just never could get that out of the car and get some bite. When we finally found some grip, we got tight in the center of the corner. We were just back and forth all day and just never got what we needed. It was a good day for us, though.
-credit: toyota motorsports