Fontana: Toyota teams race notes, quotes

Joey Logano (fifth) was the highest-finishing Toyota driver in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Auto Club Speedway. This was Logano's fourth career top-five finish in the NSCS. Scott Speed (11th), Brian Vickers (12th), Kyle...

Joey Logano (fifth) was the highest-finishing Toyota driver in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Auto Club Speedway. This was Logano's fourth career top-five finish in the NSCS.

Scott Speed (11th), Brian Vickers (12th), Kyle Busch (14th) and David Reutimann (15th) also collected top-15 finishes at the two-mile race track in Fontana, Calif.

Other Camry drivers in the 250-lap race included Max Papis (28th), Denny Hamlin (29th), Robby Gordon (33rd), Marcos Ambrose (35th), Martin Truex Jr. (39th), Joe Nemechek (40th), Dave Blaney (41st) and Michael McDowell (42nd).

***

JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finished: 5th

Are you happy with your finish in today's race? "A top-five here feels like a win for me for as much as we improved at this race track. The first time I came here was last year and we sucked. We ran 35th to 40th the whole time. Last time we came here we ran probably 20th to 25th and this time around we were within the top 10 and sneaked out a top-five there at the end. You got to be pleased with that. That was really cool. We worked really hard all day. Zippy (Greg Zipadelli, crew chief) made awesome calls. The pit crew was amazing, we gained spots just about every time we came down pit road. I am really, really stoked about how we ran today. It feels like a win after what we had the first time we came here. To watch yourself improve that much, working with the team better, that feels really good."

Does this finish give you momentum for next week's race in Las Vegas? "Hopefully we can keep pushing along. This is what we have to do every week. It's cool to see yourself improve from a year ago to keep improving like that. Hopefully we can get some momentum going and go to Vegas, which is one of my favorite tracks so we'll have fun."

Why was your team able to improve this much at California? "You can't put your finger on one thing, it's a lot of things. When I feel like we might not have been the best car in practice, we were probably a 20th-place car then. I think Zippy (Greg Zipadelli, crew chief) did a good job keeping up with the race track. He made great calls all night and me, knowing what part of the race track we need the most. Me and Zip talked about that this week. I feel like we struggled a little bit with that in Daytona and to come back this week after having a long talk to try to figure things out, to be able to come out with a top-five you've got to be pleased with that."

Were you apprehensive about coming here with the runs you've had here before? "I was not excited to come here. Maybe in the Nationwide car I was because we won here last time. The Cup car was kind of skeptical just to see what was going to happen. We unloaded good and then we went back to Saturday, it just never found a handle on it again. We got it right there at the end, it was the best the car handled, maybe because it was closest to the front and we had more clean air. That's a big deal and I'm very happy. It feels like a win after a year ago with what we had. It definitely feels great."

***

SCOTT SPEED, No. 82 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team
Finished: 11th

How was your race today? "Awesome weekend. I mean -- I can't say enough. I didn't think we would run as good as we did, honestly. We legitimately ran in the top-10 for the last half of the race, once we got track position. For this being the beginning of my second year here pretty much -- I'm really, really happy."

What adjustments did you make during the race? "We started the race -- we started 13th -- we started the race way too tight. We were gambling for the track to kind of do what it did last time. Which is fine -- we took an educated guess at it. We missed and we were able to regroup. We loosened the back up and the speed came back and we started flying again."

How much of a factor was the weather? "I swear -- we almost pulled a Joey Logano there, as well. I would have laughed my ass off if we would have won that race under rain like he did. We put ourselves in the best position every single time the rain was coming. Really, if you take the whole weekend -- this weekend we really did close to 100%."

***

BRIAN VICKERS, No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team
Finished: 12th

How do you feel about your finish today? "It was disappointing. We had a good car. I think we had a top-five car. A couple of times -- just pit strategy, two (tires) or four (tires) got us off base. The one time we stayed out because it was raining, we kept running and everybody short-pitted. They should have thrown the caution because it was raining pretty hard, and they didn't. And we lost a lot of ground with everybody short-pitting. They had new tires. That pretty much got us behind the rest of the day. They threw the caution out right after that and on pit road they made the wrong adjustment by accident, and we were just way, way, way too loose."

Did the weather factor into your finish? "It did. It did against us, unfortunately."

***

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finished: 14th

***

REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finished: 15th

How was your race? "It's just disappointing. We started out okay in our Aaron's Dream Machine. For the better part of the day we were just okay. We made one adjustment there and the car just really, really didn't like it. That just got us behind a little bit. It just seemed like our car wouldn't get going on a restart. It was taking eight, 10, 12 laps for us to get going. A lot of the other guys were able to get out and get away from you. Overall I'd have to call today just a bit of a disappointment. I really felt like we were going to have a better car. We still have our Aaron's Dream Machine in one piece. Not a great finish, but an okay finish and now we'll go on to the next one."

***

MAX PAPIS, No. 13 GEICO Toyota Camry, Germain Racing
Finished: 28th

***

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finished: 29th

What was your race like today? "That was a long day for the FedEx Freight team. We fought a loose car early, worked our way to the front of the field and even led and fell back at the end. We had our share of problems in cutting down tires - not once, twice. I tell you we had no luck today. We battled the weather and the other competitors and most of them beat us today. We will improve in Las Vegas. We need some Las Vegas luck on or side. A long afternoon and weekend."

***

ROBBY GORDON, No. 7 Warner Music Nashville Toyota Camry, Robby Gordon Motorsports
Finished: 33rd

MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 47 Armor All Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing
Finished: 35th

***

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finished: 39th

What happened to take you out of the race? "I'm not sure yet. It's a shame for all the guys on this NAPA Toyota. We had a good car. We came a long way from Friday's practice and had a good car yesterday, felt good about it today. It's just unfortunate that we lost the engine. It was looking like it was going to be a good day. We have a lot to build on as far as the race car goes. The guys did a good job all weekend getting it tuned up and making it fast. I had fun while it lasted, we were up driving to the front and I thought we were going to have a good day but it wasn't meant to be."

How do you handle being taken out of the race so early? "It's unfortunate for the NAPA Toyota. We had a good car, something to build on. My best year ever, at California we did the same thing, came here and blew up so hopefully this will be good for the season. The guys did a good job, I'm proud of them to come from where we did on Friday with the race car was a big, huge improvement. It's something to work on. This is pretty disappointing after results we had last week."

***

JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports
Finished: 40th

DAVE BLANEY, No. 66 Toyota Camry, PRISM Motorsports
Finished: 41st

MICHAEL McDOWELL, No. 55 Toyota Camry, PRISM Motorsports
Finished: 42nd

-source: toyota motorsports

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Joe Nemechek , Robby Gordon , Max Papis , Michael McDowell , Scott Speed , David Reutimann , Martin Truex Jr. , Brian Vickers , Denny Hamlin , Dave Blaney , Joey Logano , Kyle Busch
Teams Red Bull Racing , Germain Racing , Michael Waltrip Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing , Robby Gordon Motorsports , NEMCO Motorsports