Five Toyota Camrys started Monday afternoon's rain-delayed Autism Speaks 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (NNCS) race at Dover International Speedway. This equals the most Camrys to start a NNCS race this season. Five Camrys also took the green flag...
Five Toyota Camrys started Monday afternoon's rain-delayed Autism Speaks 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (NNCS) race at Dover International Speedway. This equals the most Camrys to start a NNCS race this season. Five Camrys also took the green flag at Charlotte, Bristol and Martinsville. This is the third COT (Car of Tomorrow) race where five Camrys made the starting field.
Brian Vickers started the day 24th in the No. 83 Red Bull Camry and crossed the finish line 19th. Vickers has led 84 laps this year, including 76 in the recent race at Charlotte. Michael Waltrip made his second start of the season in the No. 55 NAPA Camry and finished 28th. AJ Allmendinger began the day 43rd in the No. 84 Red Bull Camry and ended up 33rd in his sixth start of the season. Jeremy Mayfield started 20th in the No. 36 360 OTC Camry and finished 38th. Dale Jarrett finished 43rd after starting 22nd in the No. 44 UPS Camry. He made his 11th start of the season today at Dover.
The best Nextel Cup finish for a Camry this season is when Vickers finished fifth at Lowe's Motor Speedway (May 27) in the most recent race on the schedule. It marked the first top-five result for Toyota in Nextel Cup competition. Vickers also scored Toyota's first top-10 when he finished 10th at California Speedway (Feb. 25).
How was your race today? "We had a really good car and the tires weren't lasting today. It wasn't a really good tire and everybody was cutting tires, cording tires and blowing tires. We ended up cording the right rear and had to come in and pit. We had a great car and we almost got our second lap back. We got out in front of the leader one time but that's when we had a 300-lap run and they ended up catching back up with us. We just weren't as good in the long run at that point in the race. We had a really good car, nobody gave up and we still came out with a top-20. It's a good race."
Did the rain delay have an affect on today's race results? "I don't think so. These cars -- when somebody figures it out -- they just go really fast. A lot of people were cutting tires, shredding tires actually going down the cords and having to pit. I think that affected how the race played out."
28th, MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 NAPA Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
How was your race today? "We didn't have a very good run, but the pit crew got to practice and we got to learn. I had a flat tire and messed up my car really bad at the end, but I was still able to hold off the guy I was racing for position. That's a baby step. At least I'm not minus points in the driver's standings now -- I've got that going for me."
"I hate that we got ourselves in this position where we don't really know which end is up. The way DJ (Dale Jarrett) ran today -- and we were competitive at times --we now know this set-up here doesn't work. So, we can mark that one off the list. We can go back to work and figure out how to get our cars to turn."
How do you feel physically? "Physically, I feel great. I was a little nervous, but I feel fine."
What do you remember about Bill France, Jr.? "Because of my friendship with Dale (Earnhardt), I got to know Mr. France pretty good. I went fishing with him and had some fun times with him on the leisure side. One thing I remember on the professional side -- I think it was December of 1994 -- I called him and said I wanted to talk to him. He said come up to my room at the Waldorf. I went up to his room and I had this plan typed out on a piece of paper that said we need to consider the size of the driver and the weight of the driver. That the cars were getting too small. That would affect a young Richard Petty, who stood 6'2" and weighed 220 pounds, to have a chance to race. I thought we needed to consider the weight of the driver because lighter is better and you can't give that away. The next year, he came up to me in February and said that's a pretty good idea and we'll do that, but we have to much other stuff going on right now and we'll think about that next year. I like to think of that as the day the cars quit shrinking and they began to consider room for a driver. I'm very sad that Mr. France is gone. I'm glad I got to know him while he was here because he was a special dude."
43rd, DALE JARRETT, No. 44 UPS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
What happened to your car? "I guess something flew up and knocked a hole in the radiator. We had a pretty decent race car and we were able to be competitive. And, I noticed it started losing some power. Then, we made our pit stop and went back out after that and it never ran the same. It ran the battery down. It got really hot. It got hot and I did notice it on the temperature gauge -- I knew the temp. had gone up -- but it wasn't excessive. But, because there was no water in it there wasn't anything in there to get hot. It showed me the thing was cooking. A little bad luck for us today. The guys did a good job of adjusting the car. We got a lot more competitive. We were pretty good until the motor started to go because of that."
33rd, AJ ALLMENDINGER, No. 84 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Team Red Bull
How was your race? "The car wasn't very good today, but the guys fought hard all day to try to find a balance. I think the weather played a part in that because it kept changing from sunny to overcast. The guys did a great job of moving our pit stall and setting everything up! I've never had to change pits like that in the middle of a race before. The best thing to come out of today is that we brought the car home in one piece for the first time this year."
-credit: toyota motorsports