Nine Toyota Camrys started today's Daytona 500 -- the most Camrys to ever start a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race. Prior to today, the most Camrys to start a NSCS race was six, which took place six times (Sonoma, Watkins Glen, Pocono-2, ...
Nine Toyota Camrys started today's Daytona 500 -- the most Camrys to ever start a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race. Prior to today, the most Camrys to start a NSCS race was six, which took place six times (Sonoma, Watkins Glen, Pocono-2, California-2, Texas-2 and Talladega-2) in 2007.
Two Toyota Camry drivers -- Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch -- finished in the top-five for the first time in a NSCS race at Daytona International Speedway. Brian Vickers 12th-place finish marks the first Red Bull Racing Team finish at Daytona International Speedway.
Toyota Camrys led the most laps in the 50th running of the Daytona 500 with 138 of the 200 lap race. Kyle Busch led the most laps with 86 followed by Denny Hamlin (32 laps), Tony Stewart (16 laps), Michael Waltrip (three laps) and Dave Blaney (one lap).
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&Ms Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finished: 4th
After leading the most laps, can you talk about your feelings at the finish? "It was a good day. We had the dominant car all day long. I could hold it wide open every single lap of the race. It's frustrating to come home fourth, but that's a part of the Daytona 500 when you run as good as we had all day long. Those guys couldn't keep up with us, but there were all of those cautions at the end that propelled them forward enough in order to get them ahead. The guys at the engine shop gave us some great horsepower. We'll take it on and go to California and have a good one there."
Was there anything you could have done to hold off the Penske cars on the last lap? "You couldn't really. Those guys had such a head of steam. They got ahead of me on that restart. They lagged back and then got a big push. In the NASCAR rulebook that's not right, but they let it go."
Are you disappointed with how the race ended for you? "I've had plenty of disappointments here over the years, and this is no different. We just had the dominant car and could hold the car wide-open every lap. This car was strong. The JGR guys built an awesome car. It was fun, but just frustrating that guys lag back on the restart when you're not supposed to and then get a run and blow by you. I know I'm supposed to probably get busted for passing below the (yellow) line, but I was forced down. Luckily, I got away with that."
Did it seem like you had no friends in the draft, despite having the best car? "Kasey (Kahne) stuck with me at the end. He's the one that got me a fourth-place finish. (Tony) Stewart could've went up and blocked the momentum of the 12 (Ryan Newman) and the 2 (Kurt Busch), but he decided to stick down low and stay with me to see what we could come up with. I wasn't getting a big enough push from behind to get up to his back bumper. Once I did get to the back bumper, I just held the gas down. I didn't care how hard I hit him -- it was coming to the checkered flag."
Can you talk about overcoming the blown tire to finish in the top-12? "We were one blown tire away from having a shot at this win. I know that 100 percent -- that we could run with the leaders and we could race with them and pass them. Unfortunately, the tire blew too late and by the time we got our lap back, we raced as hard as we could to get to the front as fast as we could. These cars aren't very good three-wide and without running three-wide it's hard to make much ground up."
How important is this good finish for the team heading to California? "This is very important. It gives us great momentum. I'm really proud of everyone at Red Bull and Toyota. Toyota came down here with a great package and Red Bull built a good car to go around it."
DALE JARRETT, No. 44 UPS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finished: 16th
Has it sunk in that this is your last Daytona 500? "Probably not. That will happen later on as soon as I get home and think about. By that time, it will be time to go to California. It is never ending, but this has been a good place for me. We stayed out of trouble and had a car good enough to make some passes at times and had some fun and that is all you can ask for."
Did you think about it on the final lap at all, that this is your last lap in the Daytona 500? "Yeah. After I got past the start-finish line under the white flag and nobody wrecked, I thought about that. I was thinking that that was my last time I would make a lap here. I had time to cool down there and think about it. This has been a very special place for me."
Can you talk about David Reutimann, who will replace you in the No. 44 Camry? "David Reutimann is a good race car driver and his team will continue just to get better. Time is the only thing that we are lacking right now. We put forth great effort and we have a lot of good people and continue to get that. We will continue to get better with every race."
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finished: 17th
What happened that put you back in the field? "It wasn't the way we wanted this night or this race to end for the FedEx team. We were really good from the start but after that contact with the No. 43 (Bobby Labonte) on pit road we were just never the same. These cars (COT) are so aero-sensitive. The damage took a toll on our handling and we just couldn't get it back. Then late in the race we caught some really bad breaks and suffered even more damage. I guess to get out of here with a 17th-place finish and to lead a bunch of laps says a lot about our team and this new engine package. I am really happy with the Toyota engine and I hope this is just the start of a really good season for this team and for the whole Joe Gibbs Racing organization."
Can you talk about the contact with the other car on pit road? "I was coming off pit road and it was a case where he pulled out and cut it a little close. He caught our left rear and did just enough damage to really affect the handling when we the race went green. We lost side force and with the ways these cars drive it was hard to keep from wrecking"
What are your thoughts on the JGR teams performance tonight? "I think we would be happier if one of the teams was in Victory Lane right now but we can feel pretty good about this race for our team. All three of us led laps and proved we were really strong. I think we have a good season ahead of us."
DAVE BLANEY, No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota Camry, Bill avis Racing Finished: D38th
Do you know what happened that took you out of the race? "We had a fast enough car to run right at the front, we just got in a big pile. I'm not sure which car took me out. I still think the No. 42 (Montoya) just slammed me side-to-side and flattened my right front. I'm not sure why. You see a lot of cars spit out of the draft right there, and unfortunately, we were one of them."
Does your team have confidence heading to California despite the finish? "We do have more confidence this season as a team, but we still finished in the 30s here and put ourselves in a hole again. That's disappointing when you had a car that could run up front all week."
-credit: toyota motorsports