Bowyer top Toyota finisher at Michigan

Camry driver Clint Bowyer (seventh) was the top-finishing Toyota driver in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Michigan International Speedway.

Clint Bowyer, Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota
Clint Bowyer, Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Martin Truex Jr. also earned a top-10 result with a 10th-place finish at the two-mile Michigan track. Other Camry drivers in the field at Pocono included Denny Hamlin (11th), Kyle Busch (13th), Travis Kvapil (15th), Bobby Labonte (22nd), Landon Cassill (25th), Joey Logano (31st), David Stremme (34th), Mark Martin (35th), Joe Nemechek (36th) and Reed Sorenson (42nd).

Martin started from the pole -- the 40th for Toyota since joining the NSCS in 2007 -- and led a race-high 54 laps (of 201) before being involved in an accident that took his Camry out of the race.

In addition to Martin's 54 laps led, Bowyer (19) and Truex (12) also led laps at Michigan.

Four Camry drivers are in the top-15 in the unofficial NSCS driver point standings following Michigan - Truex (sixth), Bowyer (seventh), Hamlin (10th) and Busch (14th).

CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 7th
How was your race today? "It was a solid day for us. We got up there and we led then we pitted and lost track position. You just can't pass. It will age and it will keep getting better. This race was better than last time and it will keep improving. We did what we needed to do. I said we needed single digit numbers. If we keep doing that then they are running out of races to catch us. Kasey (Kahne) from outside the top-12 is catching us, but everybody behind us inside the top-10 finished behind us. Proud of my guys on the 5-HOUR Energy Toyota -- it was a good day and we'll go on to Bristol."

What was the last restart like for you? "It was pretty wild. You know what you're up against -- you know what's at stake and you know you've got that grizzly bear (Ryan Newman) behind you that's going to go for broke. Just tried to be patient and tried to be aggressive all at the same time."

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 10th
How was your race today? "We had a really strong NAPA Toyota in today's race, but it was all about track position. We just were in the wrong lane on a couple of those restarts and that ultimately hurt us because it was just too tough to pass. The guys did a really good job giving me a strong car today and we showed our strength early on, but unfortunately it was just tough to get that track position."

CHAD JOHNSTON, crew chief, No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
How was the race car today? "We had a top-five car -- just fight track position here. It's a one-groove race track and that makes it hard to race and hard to pass. You've got guys being a little bit over-aggressive on the restarts and making it three-wide and we just happened to be in the wrong lane on that last two restarts. Overall, a good day. That's what we needed to do. We just need top-10 finishes from now until Richmond and we get in the Chase and then we'll start playing hard ball."

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 11th
How was your race today? "We didn't run very well. We were a 15th or 20th-place car most of the day and through attrition and what not, we got a good finish. We definitely have a lot of work to do I feel like on all aspects of our car right now."

Was it difficult to pass today? "I thought it played out similar to what I thought it would. Track position was key. Passing was hard. Anytime you run those speeds and put us on a hard tire it's going to be really tough to pass. The groove started widening out a little bit -- that was one of the good things that happened today, but just frustrated we didn't run any better."

Are you disappointed with your finish? "We were a 15th to 20th-place car in traffic. We had a fast car when it was out by itself, but everyone did. We've got some work to do. I think we ran better than what we did here the first time, but still this is kind of a one off track in the sense that we don't have any tracks like this in the Chase."

DAVE ROGERS, crew chief, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What did you struggle with in today's race? "It was a long day for the Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry race team. Everyone worked really hard and Kyle (Busch) did a great job. I just didn't put the right shocks and springs and bars in it -- didn't have enough speed in it. Kyle did a great job of staying focused and looking at the big picture. Unfortunately, I didn't bring a fast enough race car -- my fault."

MARK MARTIN, No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 35th
What happened that took you out of the race? "Aw heck, I don't know. The 47 (Bobby Labonte) got turned around there and we got jammed up and the 5 (Kasey Kahne) got into the back of him. I just want to thank all the race fans because I wouldn't get an opportunity to drive something like this if Aaron's wouldn't sponsor me -- Aaron's and Toyota behind me and MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing). Michael Waltrip (team owner) gave me a chance to drive awesome race cars and this is just the coolest thing in the world. I'm disappointed that we got tore up, but man, what a hot rod. Big steam under the hood from Toyota and Rodney Childers is such an awesome crew chief. Driving stuff like that -- that's what it's all about. I'm glad I'm okay and I'm glad I got to drive that thing. It was awesome. I wish we could have finished the day off, but I'm so grateful to have a chance to drive race cars like that."

Were you concerned that you could hit on the other side of pit wall? "That was a pretty freak angle that I got at that. I'm not sure what you could do. It could have been really bad if I would have got in that hole a little deeper where it caught me in the door instead of in the crush area back there. It's hard to keep up with what exactly is going to be happening there. I was hoping that I was going to miss the pit wall completely and not tear the car up, but then I saw that the angle I was going that I was going to hit the end of pit wall. I never thought about getting on the other side of pit wall. I think that would have been hard at the angle that I was coming, but that certainly would not have been good."

Source: Toyota Motorsports

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Michael Waltrip , Ryan Newman , Martin Truex Jr. , Landon Cassill , David Stremme , Clint Bowyer , Denny Hamlin , Reed Sorenson , Joey Logano , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin , Travis Kvapil
Teams Michael Waltrip Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing
Article type Race report
Tags bowyer, busch, hamlin, martin, toyota, truex