Daytona 500: Toyota Motorsports preview

NEWS, NOTES & NUMBERS: Toyota drivers combined for 11 wins, 42 top-five results and 75 top-10 finishes in 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) races in 2009... Denny Hamlin (fifth) and Brian Vickers (12th) qualified for the 2009 Chase for the Sprint...

NEWS, NOTES & NUMBERS: Toyota drivers combined for 11 wins, 42 top-five results and 75 top-10 finishes in 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) races in 2009... Denny Hamlin (fifth) and Brian Vickers (12th) qualified for the 2009 Chase for the Sprint Cup championship playoff... Kyle Busch (fourth) and Hamlin (fifth) recorded top-five finishes in Saturday night's Shootout at Daytona... Vickers (Palm Beach, Fla.) and David Reutimann (Zephyrhills, Fla.) both call Florida home.

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

How did your knee feel following the Shootout Saturday night? "It was good. It bothers me more to get to the car than it does actually in it. It's better in the car than it is out. Sitting in the car, I'm more comfortable than I am anywhere. It's a good thing that it's a leg thing and maybe not an arm thing. It would've been a bigger issue if that was the case. I tested it right before the race started. I pressed down on the brake just as hard as I could and had some pit stops and was able to take off with the clutch and everything was smooth. Really, I didn't even think about it until I went to get out of the car and I remembered,'Hey, I've got to be a little cautious getting out.'"

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

How has the new restrictor-plate affected the draft at Daytona? "It's easier to suck-up, but it's a lot easier to stall-out people, too. I'm not sure if the stall -out effect is from the side wicker on the wing or not, because it seems like we can move each other around a lot more and I don't know if th at's just a faster speed that we're carrying or the different end plates on the wing. There's some different effects to it, but until you get out there in a race and kind of get all the race scenarios underneath you and feel all that, you don't really know for sure."

BRIAN VICKERS, No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team

How important would it to be to you to win the Daytona 500? "The importance of the Daytona 500 is huge -- it is our biggest race of the season and it sets the tone for the season. It's what we prepare for from the moment we leave Homestead until now. We would like to get the year off to a strong start, and we hope some of our momentum from last season carries over. It would really be great to start off the year in the top-10. We have as good a chance as anyone to win this race. Winning the Daytona 500 would mean the world to me. It is a fun, unique and exciting race."

MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 47 Kroger Florist Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing

What has been the most challenging part of racing at superspeedways? "Just giving up control. I'm a bit of a controller. I like to think when I'm racing a car that I'm always in control. That's what really gives me the confidence to really push it because I feel like I can save it. When you put yourself in a position at Daytona with 10 laps to go and you're in the middle of three-wide, 20 cars deep, you've got no control there whatsoever. You're just along for the ride. If you can accept that a bad thing may happen and it might not be your fault and just deal with it and go with it, then it's fine. It took me time to really let myself go because it's intimidating. There is nothing that gets you ready for that style of racing."

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing

How has the transition been with your move to Michael Waltrip Racing? "The transition for me has been fun. A lot easier and a lot smoother than I thought it would go. I've been with the same team a long time and it's hard to imagine going somewhere else. When you're getting ready to make the move, it's like you have all these questions, ‘How's this going to go? How's that going to go? What's this going to be like? Is it going to be difficult?' It went really well, it was smooth, easy. The folks at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) have done a great job of putting people in places that they need to be in making decisions and making things run smoothly. I've been impressed with every aspect of the organization."

-source: toyota motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip , David Reutimann , Brian Vickers , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch
Teams Red Bull Racing , Michael Waltrip Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing