KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 6th What were you fighting on your qualifying lap? "That was just a lap -- the car's not sticking that well. We're just kind of fighting the handling on...
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 6th
What were you fighting on your qualifying lap? "That was just a lap -- the car's not sticking that well. We're just kind of fighting the handling on the car. There's no grip and no tires."
DAVE BLANEY, No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota Camry, Bill Davis Racing Starting Position: 15th
How different was your car in qualifying compared to practice earlier today? Did you feel like you had a pretty good qualifying run out there tonight? "It was pretty uneventful. The car was pretty good. We struggled in practice and in the very last run of practice we got kind of in the ballpark and they just worked on it from there. It's going to be in the middle somewhere. Not great, but it's not bad."
What are you going to work on in practice tomorrow? "These cars are a handful and the tires are. Just getting it balanced somewhat good to where I can run a long time at the same speed is going to be the key. If you can just keep your car going in the long run you will have a chance."
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 22nd
What types of handling issues did you battle in practice? "We fought a really loose car in practice earlier today and didn't get to make as many laps as we wanted to. We made some real changes to the car so we didn't know exactly what we would have in qualifying tonight. Our goal was bringing the FedEx Ground Camry home in one piece so we can use our time tomorrow getting it ready for Sunday."
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 30th
How did your car handle out there during qualifying? "It was ugly. Pretty ugly, but I guess that scrapes us in there so that is all it matters. It was ugly last week, but it wasn't quite as ugly as it was today. We haven't been very good since we unloaded. We have been struggling a little bit and I couldn't seem to find a balance so hopefully we will be able to get it for the race."
When you said it was ugly, was your car moving around? "It was tight. We were loose all day. Bad loose on entry into center and this time it was ok on entry and tight in the center. I don't know there are a lot of people who are really, really happy with how their cars are driving, but most of those guys don't have to worry about getting into the race, so it's a little different. "
You guys had a little trouble finding speed on these intermediate tracks. Does it seem like it's that way for the whole organization? "Last week we qualified 14th so I don't think that was awful bad, but during the race we struggled awfully bad. We have come a long way, but there are definitely some areas that we need to improve on and hopefully each race will give us the opportunity to make sure that we get all three cars in. It will give us the opportunity to gain extra ground."
Do you look at Sunday as an opportunity to lock yourself into the top-35 in case there is a hiccup at Bristol? "Yeah, I mean last year I didn't have the best run of things going at Bristol. We missed both of those races there last year. I don't intend on going there and missing them again. The main deal is just to race every race and finish the race - no DNF's. Hopefully that will be good enough to get you in the top-35. All of the points from 20th to 30th are very, very close so you could jump back as much as 18th if you had a good race. We need a good race to be able to do that to give us a little bit of a cushion if there is such a thing."
Are you happy with your performance tonight and getting the car in the race? "That was our first and foremost mission -- to make the race, but we have a long ways to go with this car. There is a great group of guys here and I feel like we made gains today, but we have a lot more gains to make. That is not our goal -- to come here and qualify in the back. So we are just going to work really hard and hopefully -- I know we aren't going to get to test before Bristol -- but hopefully we can go and do a little testing before Martinsville and maybe a little bit more before Texas. Maybe we can go somewhere like Kentucky or somewhere. Our first goal was accomplished so now we have to try to keep fenders on and build on it."
How did the car feel from practice to qualifying? "I thought we could probably make the race. I know everybody stepped it up an awful lot out there, but the car was all over the race track. We never did get the car down solid in the racetrack. I got it pointed one time off of two there and it felt pretty good. Then I got down there in three and four and the thing jumped sideways in the middle of the corner. It is just really, really hard to predict what it is going to do right now. These guys are going to work hard on it. We have some really good people and good engineers. I just have to get to know them a little bit so I know what language to speak."
This is the second week in a row that you basically step into a new car and get it into the race. Are people going to start calling on you if they need to get cars in the race? "Unless it says Toyota on the back, I'm not going to be driving it. I have a great deal with Toyota and the Tundra brand and the TRD (Toyota Racing Development) folks. I bleed Toyota through and through and if it doesn't say Toyota I probably won't be driving it."
What did you struggle with in practice today? "We struggled a lot today just trying to get a handle on this car and this tire. We left the test down here last year really happy and we came back and it was horrible. We unloaded and time-wise it really wasn't that bad, but it drove exceptionally bad. I know everybody has been fighting the tires a little today, but we made some changes and made it a lot better. We couldn't seem to gain a lot in speed and we were still a little too loose all the way through. At the end of practice we worked some off of the 84 notes and some things that helped them and applied that to our car. We were afraid to apply too much and I'm glad we didn't because we would have been way too tight because we were too tight anyway and almost missed the show."
Did you and your team communicate with Mike Skinner and the 84 team prior to qualifying? "There has been good communication between the two teams. Having the experience that he has to lean on to help the 84 team and that's not saying that AJ (Allmendinger) doesn't have the talent, but how many races has Mike Skinner run at this race track? You can't substitute experience and that helped the whole team some today. We leaned on their notes a little bit and they leaned on some changes that we made and we got both the cars in -- that's a good day. It was too close to call and I would have liked to have been better than we were. We were just way, way too tight on that lap and we probably took more from their notes than we should have, but we took enough."
Do you feel like you're getting closer to being 'locked-in' to the top-35 after making this race? "Nothing is guaranteed yet, but this helps a lot -- being in this race, but you still have to finish it. The first car home only loses three points to the first car out. We can't be the first car out, we have to finish the race. If we can have a good, solid day then hopefully that will give us a little comfort zone going into Bristol, but there's no guarantee on that."
J.J. YELEY, No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry, Hall of Fame Racing Starting Position: 37th
How different was your car in qualifying compared to practice earlier today? "I spent most of the hour and a half in practice scared out of my wits because the car was just really loose. We were actually just a little bit too tight in the center, but loose everywhere else. The tire that Goodyear brought here is different from what we tested with here, which is confusing because I don't know how we would test with one thing and then come back with something different. The car wasn't very comfortable and we were off so they made a ton of changes for me to go out to qualify, which always has a little bit of guessing that goes along with the track just for the fact that it is night qualifying versus the day practice and we were just way, way too tight on throttle. The car was nice and secure, and when it's that secure there is never any speed in it. It was unfortunately a very slow lap. I think with the changes that we made we will be able to look at some of these changes and go back and race better on Sunday. That is the most important thing."
-credit: toyota motorsports