Four Toyota Camry drivers recorded top-10 finishes in Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway -- Brian Vickers (third), Jason Leffler (fourth), Michael McDowell (sixth) and Scott Lagasse Jr. (ninth). Other...
Four Toyota Camry drivers recorded top-10 finishes in Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway -- Brian Vickers (third), Jason Leffler (fourth), Michael McDowell (sixth) and Scott Lagasse Jr. (ninth).
Other Camry drivers in the NNS race included Denny Hamlin (21st), David Green (31st), Michael Annett (32nd), Kelly Bires (37th), Kyle Busch (39th) and Scott Speed (40th).
Speed became the ninth driver in series history to earn a pole in his first career NNS start.
JASON LEFFLER, No. 38 Great Clips Toyota Camry, Braun Racing
Finishing Position: 4th
Are you happy with today's finish? "We just run out of fuel on that last restart -- got a bummer deal. The guys on the Great Clips Camry at Braun Racing did a great job. I'm happy about our run. We ran a smart race. I just don't know why we didn't go red, we went red twice earlier in the race. Everybody was short on fuel there and it was kind of a bummer but luckily no one wrecked on those restarts and we were able to get a top-five out of it so all in all it was a good day."
Did all the cautions play into your finish? "We were running low on fuel and I thought it took off good and then got to one and it sputtered really bad then it picked up again and we were able to get another spot there coming to the white flag and checkered. All in all the car was really fast and that's all you can ask for is a shot to run up front and then you'll get a couple. If we run like that every week we'll get a couple (wins)."
Is there a problem with the track? "You have a lot of speed here so when you get two cars two-wide in front of you, you lose all your down force. It's a fun place to race it just takes a few laps for everybody to kind of get spread out and then you can get after it. It was treacherous early on there."
MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 47 Kingsford/Smith's Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty
Finishing Position: 6th
How was your race today? "We had a great day. In California we had a really good qualifying, we qualified in the top five but we struggled in the race. We sort of learned from that and worked on our car and try to get it good in race trim and try to get it free enough. We sort of sacrificed in qualifying but we had a great car. We sort of got off sequence with pit stops there and it worked to our favor in the end. The last 100 laps or so we were in the top-10 most of the time. I felt like it was a short track race out there with all the wrecks -- it was fairly exciting. Obviously we lost a lot of good cars. We'll take a good finish and move forward to Bristol."
What do you attribute all the wrecks to today? "It reminded me of an ARCA race, I didn't think about it until now. The biggest thing is you're almost wide open on new tires and when you're two wide almost wide open the air is fairly turbulent and when you get real close to somebody you lose the nose or the back end but you have to stay wide open because as soon as you roll out of the gas in this thing you lose five or seven spots. You drive a little bit over the top in the Nationwide cars and I think it's fun. I think it was a great finish there at the end -- there was a lot of dicing and the trucks are very similar too, they're almost wide open at places like this and really aero sensitive. The racing was really good today the wrecks were just circumstances of having a cool day. Goodyear brought a softer tire this year so the speeds are up quite a bit even in race runs. You're almost wide open."
SCOTT LAGASSE JR., No. 11 America's Incredible Pizza Company Toyota
Camry, CJM Racing
Finishing Position: 9th
What was it like to come from the back of the field in your back-up car? "It was real good for us. Obviously there was a mistake in qualifying and Paul (Wolfe, crew chief) must have known it was coming because this is our California primary that wasn't supposed to be here but they swapped it out last minute as a back-up. I guess this is my new favorite car -- I've run two of them now and I like this one obviously better. It was a real good day for us. We actually thought about halfway through that we'd get a better finish than we did but I'm not going to complain at all for a top-10 finish. It just got tight. We took two tires and that didn't work and tried to put four on there at the end and there were not enough laps. Paul made a good call on pit road during that green flag pit stop to put two tires on and we gained a lot of track position and the car was good but that extra heat cycle on them really killed it. I have to really thank the guys at Toyota -- all the guys at TRD for helping. They swapped the motor and everything in this car after qualifying. It's pretty cool to know you can kind of hang it out and give it your all and I do know I need the reigns pulled back on me from time to time. These guys never got down about it, they said that's how it goes. They just want me staying on the gas so I'm happy about it. It'll be a fun year."
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 20 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs
Finishing Position: 21st
How are you feeling physically after that crash? "Yeah, it's just I got in the wall trying to drive the car too hard. I was racing the 62 (Brendan Gaughan) right there for five laps or so and just trying to get by them and once I got by them I was trying to make up ground and make up for the mistakes on pit road and just got ourselves in a bad spot."
Did you know Mike Bliss was behind you? "I didn't know anyone was even close to us but we definitely had a tire rub and it went down going into the corner and Mike (Bliss) really had no options of where to go. He didn't know I was going to go all the way across the race track. It was really bad timing more than anything."
Is it difficult to compete in two races during the weekend? "It's tough. To come here to these Nationwide races and try to do the best you can and just made mistakes on pit road and tried to make up for it by driving hard and just got ourselves into the fence, compounding one bad thing into another and got hit right there in the wall. We cut a tire and the rest is history. I've got to thank Interstate and Toyota and everyone for getting me in here for at least one race. I tried to have some fun but it's just tough to get this out of your mind for tomorrow but that's what you've got to do. You've got to realize that these are two different machines and we know we've got a strong FedEx Camry for tomorrow."
DAVID GREEN, No. 07 pmclife.com Toyota Camry, SK Motorsports
Finishing Position: 31st
MICHAEL ANNETT, No. 15 Pilot Travel Centers Toyota Camry, Germain
Finishing Position: 32nd
What happened to take you out of the race? "They were talking about how fast this place is, I guess you don't realize it until you come to a dead stop on a wall like that. There were 80 laps or something like that left in the race so we weren't racing real hard, just staying on the lead lap tuning our car for the last 50 laps. I just went into the corner and the next thing I knew we were in the wall. We'll go to Bristol in a couple weeks and try to rebound."
Were you happy with your car today? "Yeah, our car was really good in long runs all day yesterday in practice. We were just kind of waiting to get one of those. We haven't really had any all day but as soon as we got one we were going to go to the front and a couple more pit stops, two more sets of tires and keep tuning on it. It's just a shame that the car was Mr. Reliable' for these guys last year and it just never got tore up. They'll rebuild it and probably make it even better."
KELLY BIRES, No. 10 Toyota Camry, Braun Racing
Finishing Position: 37th
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Z-Lines Designs Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 39th
What happened to take you out of the race? "It was just a mistake on my part battling for the lead that early in the race. I just should've known that for as good as the Z- Line Designs Toyota was driving to just ride. I tried getting on the inside of (Kevin) Harvick there and got all of the air taken off my side and spun out. One-hundred percent my fault for trying to race for the lead."
Why did you decide to make that move so early in the race? "It was just 100 percent my fault for racing for the lead that early in the race. You have a clean shot off of turn two and go in the inside of somebody and race off into turn three and I felt like all of the air was taken off my side, but I guess that's just a part of hard racing. I shouldn't have been doing that that early in the race -- I shouldn't have. For as good as that Z-Line Designs Toyota was driving I should've just rode around in second place all day and waited to make the move on the last lap."
SCOTT SPEED, No. 99 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position: 40th
What was your view of what happened? "I hit another car on the race track. It was a racing thing. I think the 18 (Kyle Busch) spun out with being pinched down by the 33 (Kevin Harvick) forcing it down. The exact same thing happened to the 20 (Denny Hamlin). We were in the wrong place at the wrong time. At least we were fast, the car was running good. We were tight at the beginning just to stay in the lead but it was coming together for sure. I think we were going to have a really good car today. It happens." Was that incident Kyle Busch's fault? "I don't know. It's Kyle Busch -- look at how many races he's won. He's right a lot more than he's wrong. That's for him to know."
Are you okay? "Yeah, my left ankle is sore a little bit but we're alright."
-credit: toyota motorsports