KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Gatorade Duel 1 Finish: 3rd Daytona 500 Starting Position: 7th How was your race today? "It came down to being pretty wild there at the end, didn't it? It was fun. That was a good race. ...
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Gatorade Duel 1 Finish: 3rd
Daytona 500 Starting Position: 7th
How was your race today? "It came down to being pretty wild there at the end, didn't it? It was fun. That was a good race. I thought I had the right lane chosen when I saw the top side prevailing all day long - all race long. And then the bottom ends up winning the race so I kind of shot myself in the foot there. The guys did an awesome job on this M&M's Camry -- Dave (Rogers, crew chief). We've been working real hard on trying to get them to handle better. We're still not there where we need to be but we'll see if we can't make it a little bit better for Sunday and try to have a better car to maneuver a little bit more. Maneuvering is hard because you are just sliding all over the place. The guys worked hard and gave me a good enough piece to run third so we're proud of that. It's a good starting spot for the 500 so we'll see what we can get there."
Did you feel like you had a race-winning car? "Our car was really good. I thought it was a lot better than everybody else's just by the way cars were driving out there. We just didn't quite have enough guys behind us there at the end to push us and get us up to where we needed to try to contend to win the race. We were there but we just didn't have the help that could hang with us. Our car was better than anybody else that was behind me. It was a good effort though. It was kind of surprising to see the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) win on old tires like that but his lane had the help and with (Kevin) Harvick and (Clint) Bowyer teamed up it was hard to split those guys up. Dave (Rogers, crew chief) and the guys did an awesome job."
What did you learn in today's race that you want to work on for Sunday's Daytona 500? "It's just grip. We're trying to find grip out here. Even down the straightaways when we're getting bumped or pushed from behind we're sideways down the straightaway because our rear tires can't keep up. We can't lower the track bar to keep side bite in it because then you're just going to be too fight through the corners so we're about to our limits unless someone comes up with some ingenious ideas we're not going to gain much."
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Gatorade Duel 2 Finish: 6th
Daytona 500 Starting Position: 14th
How much fun did you have in today's race? "It was a lot of fun. The NAPA Toyota was really good. It was much better than it was in practice. We got to the front a few times - got shuffled back. Would get to the front again and get shuffled back. I was about three or four inches a few times from getting that hole that I needed to get to the front and stay there. It was a lot of fun. I learned a lot. The pit crew was phenomenal. Our pit stop was smoking fast so I was excited about that. We've got something to work with for Sunday now."
Were you able to gain some drafting partners for Sunday's race? "A few, but at the end everybody just does what's best for them. Tried to work with Marcos (Ambrose) and David (Reutimann) a little bit. It seemed like every time we would get near each other, we were in bad positions to help each other. Either they had a run coming and I couldn't get with them or I had a run coming and I couldn't push them. I had to go by them because I was coming so fast. It was good, the car was good. Made a lot of changes last night that made it a whole bunch better than it was yesterday - that's encouraging. I think we'll be even better for Sunday."
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Gatorade Duel 2 Finish: 7th
Daytona 500 Starting Position: 16th
What was your view of today's race? "It was a lot of fun and I had a blast. The Home Depot Toyota was good. The team did a good job with the back up car - we were able to come from the rear and get up there. I had to stay in the bottom, I was too loose to run the top and I was good around the bottom. I kept going down there every chance I had. Sometimes it wasn't the right place to go and sometimes you would want to go to the top, but if I went to the top I was getting passed on the bottom. I was committed to one lane. It kind of made my options on what I was wanting to do kind of small. The way I looked at it was one option. Every time I went up there I lost spots so I just had to commit and stay down there. The car was decent. We made a little change in our pit stop, didn't really do much. It was fun, but I was pushing. They should have put 'Home Depot Excavating' on this thing because I was pushing like a bulldozer. That's the way I feel like we were going to get going. I feel like I got out there by pushing and I feel like to stay up there I probably just need a little more experience on knowing which lane is coming back because the outside lane got me once I was down there. I just need a little more experience and more information maybe on when I need to jump up to the top to block. I learned a ton. I feel like we have a good car and we'll practice it a little more and then we'll be good."
MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 47 Kroger Floral Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing
Gatorade Duel 2 Finish: 8th
Daytona 500 Starting Position: 18th
How did your car handle during the race? "We might have paid the price from yesterday for stopping early because it was a little bit of a handful. We got a good car and we've got plenty of time to work on it. It's a great piece, pretty fast and I'm looking forward to Sunday. We've just got a race under our belts. It's been three months since we've had a race and its pretty hard racing out there, and I feel good about the moves I made. Just having to sleep on what we did today we'll come out tomorrow with a better package."
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Gatorade Duel 2 Finish: 9th
Daytona 500 Starting Position: 20th
What happened when your car made contact with the wall? "It was just bouncing around a lot. It was really loose. I think everybody had a handful out there. I was trying to block Tony (Stewart) and he had such a run. Right when he got to me the car just got really loose and I saved it but I got in the wall."
Did you feel like the racing was out of control? "A lot of it is probably just the car. We're not driving that hard. It's just these cars, these tires, the new rules, the track -- a lot of it was the track. Goodyear did a really good job bringing a great tire here. In the past couple of years we've had a hard time even making a full fuel run. This tire right out of the gate was probably the best tire we've had here in years. To their credit, they've got their hands full because this track is just getting really, really old and really wore out. It's so hard on tires, it's so rough but that's what makes it fun. I like that. I have no problem, that's like Atlanta and like Darlington used to be."
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Gatorade Duel 1 Finish: 12th
Daytona 500 Starting Position: 25th
How was your car in today's race? "It wasn't a great run out there, we just feel like we lost the edge a little bit in terms of our engines. We were really, really good in our last couple of superspeedway races so we felt like we could come to Daytona and be that good again but we are just struggling a little bit. We seem to be gaining on the handling side and I think we'll be good for the (Daytona) 500 but just need that little extra motor. Hoping we can find some improvement in the next couple of days."
MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 55 Prism Motorsports Toyota Camry, Prism Motorsports
Gatorade Duel 1 Finish: 14th
Daytona 500 Starting Position: 29th
How does it feel to transfer into the Daytona 500? "I feel like I won the Daytona 500. It's unbelievable. I'm just really, really happy for everyone at Prism Motorsports. I want to thank Michael Waltrip for giving me this 55 number to run and hopefully it will bring us good luck. It was unbelievable. We made a shock change on that first pit stop and it just made the car undriveable. So when that caution came out there with a few to go I knew once we could get the car back the way it was we could get to the front. The car was good on the short run and that's what we needed."
Did you think you had a shot at qualifying into the Daytona 500? "Yeah, I told the guys, I said, 'Here we go, we've got our shot now.' Our car was so good in that first run. I got to the top with the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) pushing and we were able to get going pretty good. In the long run it got loose so we made a couple of shock adjustments and it just killed the car. I knew once we could get those out and get it back to where we started we were going to be alright. We got our shot there at the end. Carl Edwards gave us a good push which definitely helped. It just feels good to sort of redeem myself a little bit after a bumpy start in my Cup career. I'm excited to be racing on Sunday and I'm just really thankful."
What was your range of emotions in this race? "Literally when I entered turn three, six laps to go, we lost the draft. Caution came out. As soon as that caution came out, I knew we were going to make the 500. I don't know why. I just knew it. I just knew circumstances were working where we needed to. We made an adjustment, and it just literally killed the drive of the car. It made it a handful. I was hanging on for that whole last stint. We were able to make the adjustments and put it back to where we originally started. I knew, I had that gut feeling, when you get it, that we were going to get it in the race. Like I said, it's a team effort. I'm just really thankful our guys made good stops. Toyota race teams are great race teams. I'll tell you why. We didn't have a pit crew team starting today. The Red Bull guys did it for us. Let us use their pit box and everything else. This is another competing team. I'm just thankful to still be a part of the Toyota program and thankful for MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing), their technical alliance, Phil Parsons (team owner) and Randy Humphrey (team owner) for giving me this opportunity."
What did you learn in today's Duel? "We certainly learned a lot for what it will be like for the (Daytona) 500 and what we can do to the car to improve it. I think we expected to be a little bit better than we were. We were tighter than we expected. It gives us a chance to go back and tune on the thing before the (Daytona) 500 and that's a big advantage, obviously."
How much fun was the race today? "It was fun out there. With these bigger restrictor plates, the corners are a little bit more like corners for us. It's going to make the racing interesting for sure. I think most people were taking it easy today. In any case, we learned a few things to make our car better for Sunday, and hopefully we'll make the right changes for the Daytona 500."
MAX PAPIS, No. 13 GEICO Toyota Camry, Germain Racing
Gatorade Duel 1 Finish: 15th
Daytona 500 Starting Position: 31st
What does it mean to you to race in the Daytona 500? "I mean, this track for me, it's really special. You know, I came over here in '96. It was my first ever race in America, racing the Rolex 24 Hour. A lot of satisfaction for me in that race. For me, this being the first 500 is just a dream coming true. It came to great teamwork. (Robert) 'Bootie' (Barker, crew chief) left me up there in front. It was hairy. Sliding around, everybody pushing me, kind of fell a little bit in the black. He told me that's the black car you need to pass. That's it. Kept it wide open as hard as I could and slid around and made it happen. You know, it's difficult to explain, you know, in words what this means for us. It's the beginning of the season. For me, my first ever laps on a Cup car around Daytona. I mean, I'm speechless because you guys need to really, you know -- I know you know this, but those guys out there, they are the best of the best in the world. When you can compete with them, when you have someone like Mark Martin coming to you and saying, I'm really happy that you made the show, it means the world for me. So I'm really happy. Especially when I didn't know he made it. We are two guys that that's not our background, and we're kind of making it happen, so it's special."
What are your feelings right now? "It's an incredible feeling. We made it happen. I was in, I was out. Four to go, Bootie (Barker, crew chief) made a great call. We had a lot of people that wanted us in the show. Everyone was pushing me. It's just incredible. When you have someone like Mark Martin coming over and saying, 'I'm really proud of you.' It says everything. It's a great beginning for the season."
How does the pressure to make the Daytona 500 compare to other races? "You know, when you drive underneath that tunnel here in Daytona, it is game day, you know, you got to be on it. To tell you the truth, I didn't feel pressure today. I was just excited. The pressure comes because the difference that I had in the past. Compared to everything else I've done, you can kind of take it easy a little bit or breathe for a second. Here, if you breathe, they run you over, literally over. That's why I say that for me, you know, I've been able to race in Formula 1, I've been lucky to drive a Champ Car, IndyCar, whatever, but these guys, now I know when they were complaining before, why all the American drivers they're not in open-wheel racing? Because they're over here. The pressure, you know, it's something that goes away when you tight your belt. (Robert) 'Bootie' (Barker, crew chief) has been really great just of keeping me focus and use the best of me, my instinct and my aggression, and don't make me think of anything else."
ROBBY GORDON, No. 7 Monster Energy Toyota Camry, Robby Gordon Motorsports
Gatorade Duel 2 Finish: 19th
Daytona 500 Starting Position: 34th
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports
Gatorade Duel 1 Finish: 18th
Daytona 500 Starting Position: 41st
MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 51 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Gatorade Duel 1 Finish: 25th
Daytona 500 Starting Position: 43rd
What does it mean to you that Scott Speed's finish gave you a starting position for the Daytona 500? "I'm just so grateful and thankful that it worked out. Obviously the teams that won the race were locked in, too. You know, people show up to race. Just because you're locked in doesn't mean you roll over or there wouldn't be a race. So I knew Scott (Speed) would race. I knew he wasn't gonna think about quitting or giving up. I'm just thankful that he (Scott Speed) had a car there at the end he could do the job with."
Have your emotions been up and down today? "Well, I guess I've come to expect it a little bit. I know for some reason, for me, this place, it defines my career. It certainly is my first memories of NASCAR racing, was coming here as a kid. I figured when I woke up this morning I'd be crying before the day was over. I just didn't know if it would be because I was happy or because I was sad. And then I damn sure didn't know it would be both within an hour of each other. To be able to smile now, you know, it really feels rewarding because, you know, we took a part-time car, Bobby Kennedy (crew chief), my buddy, who has helped me out so, so long, put a crew together and gave me a car on Saturday that we qualified fast enough to make the (Daytona) 500 with."
How did you feel your car handled in today's race? "I was real disappointed today because my car didn't handle right. It didn't handle like it did yesterday. You have a pretty good gauge on if your car's like it was or not. That's the splitter. Yesterday, I was just scrubbing the splitter in a perfect way. Today it felt like it was a foot off the ground, and we didn't change anything. For some reason, the car just didn't go back to the ground like it was supposed to, and it wouldn't drive right. I think it eventually messed up my tires. So we'll regroup and figure out what David (Reutimann) had, what Marcos (Ambrose) had, what Martin (Truex Jr.) had, put that setup into our cars. All three of those cars were really competitive. We seemed to be a notch off. We can't do what Penske or Hendrick cars or even Kasey's (Kahne) car did. So that's a little bit concerning. I know we've got a lot of smart people that will work on that and try to figure out how to get us some speed before Sunday."
TODD BODINE, No. 27 Toyota Camry, Kirk Shelmerdine Racing
Gatorade Duel 1 Finish: 17th
Daytona 500 Starting Position: DNQ
DAVID GILLILAND, No. 49 Warner Music/Larry the Cable Guy Toyota Camry, BAM Racing
Gatorade Duel 2 Finish: 18th
Daytona 500 Starting Position: DNQ
DAVE BLANEY, No. 66 Toyota Camry, Prism Motorsports
Gatorade Duel 2 Finish: 23rd
Daytona 500 Starting Position: DNQ
REED SORENSON, No. 32 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Braun Racing
Gatorade Duel 1 Finish: 24th
Daytona 500 Starting Position: DNQ
JEFF FULLER, No. 97 Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports
Gatorade Duel 1 Finish: 27th
Daytona 500 Starting Position: DNQ
-source: toyota motorsports