Kyle Busch qualifies second at Watkins Glen

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

Photo by: Adriano Manocchia

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Starting Position: 2nd

How important is your pit stall position at Watkins Glen? "Pit stall position is pretty important here. You've got to have a good selection to get a place where you want to be and then obviously guys are going to pick around you. The 18 M&M's Camry was really good during qualifying. It was really fast. I thought it was good and I thought it would be close to the pole. It was close, but it wasn't first."

What is it that makes you so successful at road courses? "It's just time -- getting better at road racing. For me, at the beginning I wasn't excellent at it. I felt like I was okay, but I've gotten better at it over time. Just understanding the dynamic of the car a little bit more and what you can do with it, how much you can throw it into the corners and throw it around through the corners and all of that stuff. It just kind of takes time to figure all of that out. Our guys have done a great job and it felt really good there. A good lap for us."

How was your lap and what are your expectations for Sunday's race? "I think our lap was really, really good. The M&M's Camry drove well. There were a couple corners where I got a little bit loose in and maybe that was kind of the hindrance of us running a little faster and sitting on the pole again today like we did last year. Great effort, the guys did a good job on qualifying second today. We can see the front at least and we'll get good pit selection here in a little bit, hopefully. We're going to try to work on keeping our track position all day tomorrow."

How will you approach Sunday's race as it pertains to the Chase? "For the next five or whatever it is, it's 'win or bust' yeah, basically. Finishing second or third or fourth isn't going to get us anywhere."

How many wins will it take to lock up a position in the Chase? "To lock, three is a lock, but you can have two and just try to keep yourselves in front of the guys that do have one win in case they do get a win. Like right now, us having one win, Jeff Gordon having one win -- that's who I feel like we're really racing, is the 24 car. If we pass him back in points, obviously that will get us back in the Chase. He runs really, really well at Atlanta and he also runs good at Bristol, too. There's an opportunity there for him to get another win, which would make it two. If he gets two and we're in front of him in points with only one win, then he's in and we're out. If you have two, I think we'll be okay."

Do you feel you can pick up another win before the Chase? "Yeah, I want to win here. This is the next one on the list and this is one I like to run well at. I've won here before. I put it on my list every year to come here and try to compete and run up front and win this thing. That's our goal tomorrow and that's what we are set out to do. Hopefully we can achieve that and put the M&M's Camry in victory lane. You do that and we'll have that second win for the wild card and we'll go on into the last four races and see if we can't either keep ourselves in front of the 24 (Jeff Gordon) in points in case he does get a win, or maybe even get ourselves another win."

Do you consider Juan Pablo Montoya a threat after winning two poles in a row? "He's (Juan Pablo Montoya) definitely always a threat at the road course races, for sure. He's always run really, really well here. He's fast. We'll just have to see how the start and everything goes. I'm sure he's going to be itching to run really hard right out of the gate. We'll just fall in line where we fall and set a nice pace, get a rhythm going and just try to stay on the race track, not overwork the brakes, not miss a shift and run the full distance on the asphalt. Then, from there it comes down to the end like last year, try to capitalize and get a win if we can."

CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Starting Position: 8th

What challenges does Watkins Glen present to a driver? "That bus stop back there has been giving me a tough time. It seems like there and the carousel I struggle. I'm decent up through the 'esses' and on the other part of the race track, but can never quite get comfortable to carry speed. I knew that I needed to carry more speed getting in and I tried to and blew through the corner and kind of messed up. Lost a little bit of grip there with the weather warming up, but that's a pretty good day for the 5-hour ENERGY Toyota with me in it."

What do you struggle with at Watkins Glen? "I just struggle here to carry the speed. I usually race okay here once I get going and get a rabbit in front of me to chase. I've been struggling with the bus stop and the carousel back there, which is kind of the tough part of the race track where everybody struggles a little bit. That wasn't a bad lap for our 5-hour ENERGY Toyota."

Do you have enough time to work on your struggles on road courses? "You do. With all of the practice sessions. I know that I've been slowing the car up a little bit too much and was trying to roll through there with more speed, and I did. I rolled through there with more speed and bounced up and pushed through it and kind of messed my exit up quite a bit. I just tried to make the rest of the lap count."

/Are you surprised at how fast of a race track this is with it being a road course? "This is a fast race track. That's part of the reason I just struggle to get comfortable. It's like a really fast intermediate track for us. You're just sliding through the corners and holding on for dear life and usually pretty much out of control."

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Starting Position: 9th

Did you leave anything on the track? "It just wasn't a very clean lap. It's tough when you only get one. You practice all morning and get in that rhythm and you have to sit for a while and get back in there. I just screwed it up -- plain and simple. This NAPA Camry was good, the guys have done a great job and we're going to have an awesome race car for tomorrow, it's just disappointing. I left a bunch out there. A little disappointed in myself, but we'll go get them tomorrow. This is a place I generally have done the same thing every year -- practice good, qualify like crap and race good. I'll try to do it again."

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

How was your qualifying lap? "It was okay. We're just a little bit off on speed all weekend. We're not terrible, but just a little bit off. Hopef ully we can find a little bit more overnight and we should be good for tomorrow's race."

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Starting Position: 23rd

What kind of race car is your backup Camry? "It's one of our older chassis we developed last year sometime, so obviously that hurts us a little bit. Really, kind of disappointed in that qualifying effort. We've ran almost that fast in race trim this morning. Definitely not happy with that, but we'll try to make something of our day. We've been good here these last couple years and gotten taken out or something like that has happened. Hopefully if we don't have the best car, we'll have good fortune."

BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Miller Welders/Freightliner Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing
Starting Position: 26th

How was your qualifying lap? "This is a brand new car. These guys worked really hard at it. We didn't go anywhere to practice it, so we unloaded here and it was obviously significant than what we've had in the past -- we had to make a lot of changes on it. They did really good every time we went out today as well. We're still a little bit behind on trying to find some things for rear grip because we missed some rear grip for qualifying. It's probably not going to be the best qualifying effort. Obviously we thought we'd pick up a little bit, we really didn't -- it just got too loose. We're trying to figure this car out a little bit. We'll get the race tomorrow and see what we've got."

BRIAN VICKERS, No. 55 Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Starting Position: 33rd

How was your qualifying lap? "It was good other than turn one. I just started wheel-hopping and I didn't get it down in second and just completely missed turn one. The rest of the lap was good, but it's very frustrating. The guys did a really good job with the car. I think we have a good car for tomorrow, but we needed a better starting position."

Source: Toyota Motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Michael Waltrip Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing
Article type Qualifying report
Tags bowyer, busch, hamlin, labonte, logano, toyota, truex, vickers