Kyle Busch leads Toyota qualifiers at Kentucky Speedway

Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin qualify 2nd and 3rd.

Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Red-White-Blue Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 2nd How was your qualifying run? "Oh, it was alright. Certainly hoped for a little bit more there, but unfortunately didn't achieve what we needed to. So, we'll go into tomorrow's night race with good pit selection and starting up front -- which is good for us. Typically don't qualify well, but this is a place that we like coming to and you need to qualify well at, so I'm glad we did that."

How did the track conditions change with the shift in temperature? "The track conditions changed tremendously. Just a lot more grip out there from where we were in practice. Obviously, being 140-something degree track temps during practice you're slipping and sliding and it's really slick. And then towards the end of qualifying track temp was probably 100 to 105 -- something like that. So in that 35 to 40 degree range is definitely a lot faster and you saw it in the speeds you saw it in the cars seeming to stick a lot better than what they were in practice and what our balance was during my qualifying run."

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 3rd How was your qualifying run? "We were blessed with good conditions during our run. Proud of our whole FedEx team. We've had some good speed in the car today. Really, that's a great run for us no matter where we end up. It's going to put us in a top-five spot or so when we start the day."

Do you feel good about tomorrow's race? "Yeah. I do. I think it's been good. In qualifying trim we weren't all that great. I think our teammates were a little bit better. I feel like in race trim we, for sure, had a car that was capable of running in the top-three or four."

Will heat be a factor tomorrow? "Not really. The conditions are going to be slicker, obviously with the conditions like this. It feels like the track has good grip. Once we drop the flag tomorrow -- this is going to be more what it's like at the end of the race. You've got to prepare - - have your car good when conditions are like this."

Where were you when qualifying was suspended? "I was in the motorhome. It was the 15 minutes that I actually got a break today. But, I thought somebody was actually walking on top of the motorhome because you kind of usually get that kind of shake to it. The wind was pretty treacherous. I saw the canopy fly into the grandstands from over in turn four. Pretty exciting."

CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 6th Did the cooler temperatures help your qualifying effort? "Yeah, it definitely helped, but I tell you the sun started to come back out there towards the end. Definitely, definitely helped. Unfortunately, the first practice is why everybody has to be spend it in qualifying trim, so you can get that late draw just in case something like that happens and it definitely meant a lot more today than it usually does because of the weather situation. I think we're sixth with our 5-hour ENERGY Toyota -- we'll take it and go on."

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 10th How was your qualifying effort? "Not what we were hoping for. We were faster than that in practice as far as speed goes, as far as the chart goes. This place - - it's tough. You practice and it's 110. You go to qualify and we have that weird wind storm. In general overall, it's been a pretty decent day. Have a good starting spot for our NAPA Toyota. Not what we were looking for, but not a bad day. Need to work on our race package for tomorrow. We were off a little bit in practice, so we've got some work to do there for tomorrow night, but looking forward to it."

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing (continued) How will tomorrow's temperatures impact the race? "Just lack of grip and trying to get the car dialed in. There's nothing we can do about the temperatures. It's all about us trying to make the car do what we want it to and be better than the other 42 out there. We've got some work to do for tomorrow, like I said. It was off a little in race trim. These guys have done a good job all year and I'm sure we'll get it fixed tonight."

MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 41st How is your University of Kentucky Camry for tomorrow's race? "I've been loose since we got here and I asked Rodney (Childers, crew chief) to tighten it up for me, then we get too tight. I haven't done this in a while and struggling a bit, but I told them I'll keep digging and working and focusing and we'll get us a top-20 finish out of this thing tomorrow night. Hopefully, even better than that.

How excited are you to be driving this Camry? "Look at my car -- I've got the University of Kentucky on it and just in my home state. I was here a year ago and didn't get to race because of the weather and struggling this year because of the weather and hopefully get this behind us and give Rodney (Childers, crew chief) and those boys what they deserve. It's really cool of Aaron's to take their name off the hood - - see we put University of Kentucky on the hood and Aaron's spends a lot of money to sponsor this car. Hopefully, we can get them a lot of attention by having the Kentucky logo on the car."

Source: Toyota Motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch
Teams Michael Waltrip Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing
Article type Qualifying report
Tags bowyer, busch, gibbs, hamlin, toyota, truex, waltrip