Hamlin disappointed with second qualifying position at Pocono

Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 2nd

How was your qualifying lap? "I'd like to say it was a good run, but just a little bit disappointed in our run. I think we wreaked the benefits in going out early. Knowing we were over a quarter-second ahead going into the last corner -- just missed it and our car was just way too loose. Missed the lap a little bit, but still we were very fortunate to end up where we were and at least now we will have a good starting spot."

Did you think you would have a chance to start on the front row after your lap? "I was thinking 15th when I initially went. I think that like Paul (Menard) said, we reaped some benefits of going early. Had we gone late we probably wouldn't be very good at all at this point. You just never know how the clouds are going to fall. I've gone late here in the past and been the best because it clouds up later in the day. It's just the luck of the draw and whether you get the cloud or not because these race tracks with these long straightaways -- and really you've got six corners where we normally have the four. Everything that your car does is going to magnify that much more. I think that's why you see one cloud could make a half a second difference."

Did the repaving job impact your recipe for success at Pocono? "I don't know. It's been a few years since we've won here. We've been in contention just about every time we've been at this race track and obviously some of that information transferred over to our teammates and they've been the ones to beat here lately. So, we feel like we have a decent FedEx Ground Toyota, but not the car that I was hoping for this weekend."

JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 14th

How was your qualifying lap? "We were just too loose. I couldn't do anything in the center of the corner having to slow down the car way too much. I thought I had maybe an okay (turn) one, but then in (turn) two I just got to the center and tried to turn the wheel and just got way too loose. That's what we've been fighting every qualifying run since we got here and we're getting it at least a little bit closer, but it's still just way off when it comes to trying to mix speed with it right now."

How was your car in practice this weekend? "I think it's okay. I think we had to work on it a little bit more than we had to the first time we were here. They changed the side skirt rule on us -- obviously, they shortened them up -- so it changes up some of the package. It changes up the handling. We've got the same exact car, but we've just had to change up a lot of things. I felt like we had pretty good speed the first practice. The second practice we weren't as fast as we wanted to be, but I don't think we're that bad either, so I still think we've got a good shot at it here."

How different is this track after the repaving job? "It's crazy to me to think that we're still shifting -- how much faster we're going, but we're shifting just as much as we used to, so that's pretty nuts there. It's a lot different. The setups are way different. You know how bumpy it was here before -- now everyone is just trying to get there aero platform the best they can possibly get it, just really the biggest deal. The setup's way different. Just driving it is still similar -- turn two is still the tunnel turn. It's still you've got to be on it by this much all the time."

Does it feel good to look back at your win here in June? "Those are the best ones to watch. I was sitting in my motorhome watching the race tape and I'm like, 'I know who is going to win this race. This is going to be a good one.' So, those are the more fun ones to watch."

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing

Starting Position: 15th How was your qualifying lap? "I don't understand what happened. We were really good yesterday and the track temperatures aren't much different. The car just didn't have any grip at all so I'm not real sure what to think."

MARK MARTIN, No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 18th

Do you think you can win this weekend? "I don't know. We were pretty close last time and these guys do a great job. Aaron's Dream Machine is always fast, so we've got a great race team here, a great crew on pit road. We're having some fun."

How fast was your car in practice? "We weren't as strong yesterday as we were last time here, but we made gains on it. We've got a great team and we'll see what we can do."

CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 19th

How was your qualifying lap? "I got a little loose off of turn one and that really hurt our lap. The 5-hour ENERGY Toyota is a good car and we'll be fine for tomorrow. We have smart guys and they'll make the right adjustments and get it figured out. It's a long race and we'll be good tomorrow."

LANDON CASSILL, No. 83 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing Starting Position: 22nd

What is the story behind the two girls featured on your car this week? "Yeah, it's really a sad story these two girls (Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook-Morrissey) are missing and we're just going to try and get them home and get the awareness out there so we've got pictures of them on the back of the car, which I'm sure you guys have seen and just trying to get their name out there so that we can somehow find these girls."

Was your car stronger than you expected in qualifying? "I think so. We kind of chased our tails yesterday a little bit and the first chance we had last night to sit down and talk about it -- Doug (Richert, crew chief) and I talked on the phone for 30 minutes last night just trying to dissect the whole day and comparing it the to the first time we were at Pocono. So, we put down a good lap here and when it's time to bring it, I guess that's when you've got to bring. Hopefully it turns out alright and we can get 400 miles in tomorrow."

Source: Toyota Motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Denny Hamlin
Teams Michael Waltrip Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing , BK Racing
Article type Qualifying report
Tags bowyer, cassill, hamlin, logano, martin, toyota, truex