Marcos Ambrose (14th) was the highest-finishing Toyota driver in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. Brian Vickers (18th) also posted a top-20 result for Toyota at the one-mile oval. Camry...
Marcos Ambrose (14th) was the highest-finishing Toyota driver in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. Brian Vickers (18th) also posted a top-20 result for Toyota at the one-mile oval.
Camry drivers David Reutimann (21st), Denny Hamlin (22nd), Scott Speed (25th), Kyle Busch (31st), Robby Gordon (34th), Michael Waltrip (36th), Dave Blaney (37th), Michael McDowell (38th), Joe Nemechek (41st) and Joey Logano (42nd) were also in the field.
Hamlin currently sits sixth in the unofficial NSCS point standings following Dover, 108 points behind leader Mark Martin after two of 10 races in the 2009 Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Vickers ranks 10th in the Chase, 151 points behind Martin with eight races remaining in the season.
MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 47 Little Debbie Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing
Finishing Position: 14th
Can you talk about your race today? "We started the race off a little snug center off with the Little Debbie Toyota, but overall the car was good at the beginning. As the race went on, it was loose in and tight in the middle. Eventually, we lost rear grip and there at the end we were tight in the gas. All in all, it was a better run than we had here earlier this season. I'm pleased with our efforts today."
How did your race car handle today? "The car wasn't as good as we wanted it to be. We made some wholesale changes last night. Some I think helped. Some hurt us. We were probably better center-off, but worse in. We fought that all day. We got the car pretty good there by the end. In the last two stops we didn't take fuel hoping that would tighten us up -- and it did. It tightened us up a little bit too much. The last stop we took two tires and no fuel and we were just way too tight at the end."
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position: 21st
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 22nd
Can you talk about your race today? "We're definitely disappointed, but we didn't crash. We didn't have a 35th-place finish, but we just didn't have a car that was capable of running with any speed day. We weren't really fast in qualifying. We weren't fast in all the practices. Our car just didn't have a whole lot of speed."
Did you anticipate your team's struggles? "We definitely came out here thinking we could win the race just like any other weekend, but as soon as the green flag fell, I knew we were in trouble. It was just a bad day. The tire that we had was so loose that you had to overcompensate so much with the chassis that it just didn't make for good racing, at least from my standpoint."
Does this win by Jimmie Johnson deflate the competition? "This is a good track for him. It's always been a good track for him. When we go to tracks where we're strong at, people expect us to win. It's no different. It's just one of his better tracks."
Do you think your team can compete with Hendrick Motorsports? "They're strong everywhere. There's no weakness to their race team at all. We just gotta get better on these types of race tracks before we can contend."
Can you talk about your race today? "We were really good for about 10 laps and then we just went away, really. We don't really know why. If we were able to maintain that pace the whole time we would have had a great day. We were just falling off a lot and we don't know why."
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 31st
ROBBY GORDON, No. 7 Camping World Toyota Camry, Robby Gordon Motorsports
Finishing Position: 34th
Can you talk about the incident from your perspective? "All I remember seeing was the 20 car (Joey Logano) down on the bottom, and he just shot across the track. Looks like he must've got pushed to the bottom or something happened going into (turn) three. I went to the high side trying to slow down and unfortunately we got caught up in it. For the Camping World car, it wasn't nothing but a radiator, but it's normal practice to go to the care center and check it out. I'm glad that Joey's good. I remember being stopped and looking at thing flipping and flipping and flipping and flipping. I was excited to see him climb out."
What did you try to do to avoid the incident? "I wasn't really involved in the big scheme of the wreck. When it was all said and done, I saw it coming. I got on the brakes because I saw Joey (Logano) down on the apron going into (turn) three. I said, 'Oh man, they're going to slide up in front of us,' so I tried slowing down and unfortunately I couldn't get it all the way slowed down. My car is not that bad. I looked underneath it. It's a radiator. I was happy to see Joey (Logano) climb from his car. I was sitting up there at the top over by the 'Dover 3' sign and watching that thing flip and flip and flip and flip down the hill. When it would land on its side, I said, 'Man, I hope that thing doesn't catch on fire.' Then all of a sudden, it just popped back on its wheels, so good for him."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position: 36th
What happened to your race car -- did something happen to a tire? "I don't know. What a great tire Goodyear brought. Loved the stagger -- you could really run off the corner good with it. They did a great job. So commend them on their choice there. I must have run over something. No one else has had problems so far. That was the longest green flag run. If there is an issue, someone will find out in a little while. The NAPA car was good. I was just talking to Steve Hmiel (Chip Ganassi Racing). We could run 24.8s, 24.9s, just like the leader. Ran one lap at 25.10 and one lap at a 25.05 and boom -- it just blew out. I don't understand what happened. But, the NAPA car was good. I'm happy."
Did you have any warning that something was going to happen? "It didn't shake. These tires usually shake. It never shook. It didn't give me any indication. Other than now, it pushed a little bit for maybe a-lap-and-a-half. It just got a little tighter than it was. And, it ended. It was amazing. I was surprised. I've been racing for a long time and I don't ever take the softer walls for granted. But, at Dover, when you blow a right front -- that's career-ending. We've seen people just not be able to race again because of it. And here I stand talking to you. Dr. Melvin, Dean Sicking, NASCAR, Tony George -- from the bottom of my heart, a guy who has hit real walls before -- I thank you."
DAVE BLANEY, No. 66 Prism Motorsports Toyota Camry, Prism Motorsports
Finishing Position: 37th
MICHAEL McDOWELL, No. 36 WAVE Energy Drink Toyota Camry, Tommy Baldwin Racing
Finishing Position: 38th
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 NEMCO Motorsports Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports
Finishing Position: 41st
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 42nd
Are you okay after that accident? "Yeah. I'm fine. It just really scared the heck out of me. That was pretty much the biggest thing was -- I was firing the whole time and I'm not 100 percent sure what happened. Spotter was clearing me low. I got down there and then they checked up getting into the corner. Looked like I got tagged from behind -- I'm not really sure. I haven't seen a replay yet. I'm not sure I want to see a replay. It started rolling and I was in there like, 'Damn, please make this thing stop.' And it wouldn't. It just kept going and going. I was fine. It goes to show how safe these cars are. I was fine. I think we had a pretty good Home Depot Toyota. We took off good. We lost a few spots after the first pit stop, but it was early in the race for that. It just startled me. I'm fine. That's the big part."
How did that compare to anything else in your career? "It was the wildest ride I've ever been on. You can't go on a roller coaster any worse than that."
Does your body feel okay? "Yeah. I'm just still shaking. That's all. I'm fine. I'm not even sore, which is really surprising after all that. I'm just happy it landed on its wheels. When I was on my side, that's when I was getting worried for a minute, but it came back down. Thank God the good Lord was with me on that one."
-credit: toyota motorsports