Camry driver Denny Hamlin earned his third win of the season in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Martinsville Speedway. The 28-year-old Chesterfield, Va., native led three times for 206 (of 501) laps at the half-mile Virginia...
Camry driver Denny Hamlin earned his third win of the season in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Martinsville Speedway.
The 28-year-old Chesterfield, Va., native led three times for 206 (of 501) laps at the half-mile Virginia short track to record his seventh career NSCS victory.
The win marks the 20th win for Toyota in the Cup Series since 2007 and the 10th win for a Camry in 2009.
Kyle Busch also earned a top-five for Toyota with a fourth-place result.
Other Toyota drivers in the field included Brian Vickers (11th), Joey Logano (12th), David Reutimann (16th), Marcos Ambrose (27th), Michael Waltrip (30th), Scott Speed (31st), Robby Gordon (37th), Joe Nemechek (38th), Dave Blaney (40th), Michael McDowell (41st) and Derrike Cope (42nd).
Hamlin moved up to ninth in the unofficial NSCS Chase point standings and Vickers sits 12th in points following Martinsville.
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 1st
How happy are you to get the win at Martinsville? "It's a good bounce back. I just gotta thank all my fans for sticking with me on Twitter and everything, giving me some hope that the last two weeks were in the past. Just have to thank everyone from FedEx, Toyota, Sprint, Gillette -- just everybody. Coke helps support this. JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing), everyone in the shop that puts these cars together because we keep bringing better cars to the race track every single week and it's starting to show up on the race track."
Did you feel like you could hold off Jimmie Johnson? "I know all those guys are going to be aggressive to try to get a win. We just had the best car there at the end. The 48 (Johnson) didn't do anything that he shouldn't have and made sure he protected his points lead. He gave us a little bit of respect as well."
How does it feel to get three wins this season? "It feels great to get three wins this season -- more than we've had in any other season. This is the best we've been. It's just a shame our Chase has gone so bad."
What was your plan coming down the stretch to hold off Jimmie Johnson? "I knew he was going to be strong on the restarts. Our car was just so good. Mike (Ford, crew chief) did an awesome job adjusting on the car and got better and better with every stop. Our car was just really, really good on the long run. I was kind of worried about that short run at the end, but we were able to survive it."
How important was track position in this race? "It was definitely good. It seems like our car just took a little while to come in. At the beginning of the race just kind of pacing ourselves and trying to wait and see how things were going to go, and we kept bouncing between it seemed like 5th and 12th or so. But once we got that track position, our car just kind of took off it seemed like. I'd push it a little bit more, and was able to get a little bit more out of the race car, which usually that's not the case, and obviously when you can step it up like that and gain a little bit of lap time, that's going to help you at the end, and I think that's what helped us."
Did you feel like you could win another race this season after a few weeks of disappointing finishes? "We don't have any weak spots anymore in our race team, and I feel like -- that's how I figured I could say that I knew we were going to win another race regardless. Even last week after our troubles, I said, we're going to win another race, because every single week, whether it be a superspeedway, a short track or intermediate (track), we can win. Obviously when you put yourself in position like we have over the last few weeks, you're going to win races. You know, it's just great to have that feeling, able to go to a race track and know that you can win no matter what type of race track that you're on. I just had a lot of confidence in the team, and I knew if we just got past a few hurdles here and there, had some good stops at the end of the races then we would win. Obviously it came true."
MIKE FORD, crew chief, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs
What are your thoughts on the win today?
"The guys did a good job. It came down to we were bouncing back seventh to 12th early in the race from not qualifying well, and every time we'd come in, we would give up a couple spots. We needed to get track position, so we got two tires, which kind of put us in a strange window there, but the guys did a good job on pit road, and we got a couple quick cautions there, which was a big wrenching because guys at the back were getting tires. So we needed a little bit longer run there, and we got it. The runs just fell our way today. The cautions fell our way even at the end of the race. We were better on older tires, and it kind of worked to our advantage today."
J.D. GIBBS, team president, Joe Gibbs Racing
How happy are you with the win today for Joe Gibbs Racing? "Yeah, this track for one is one of my favorites. Just coming to these races over the years, Late Model races and then the Cup stuff here -- I know Denny (Hamlin) kind of feels the same way. So it's got a special place for me, just to be able to come out here -- it's just got a lot of character. It's never an easy track to get a hold of, and the races are always kind of action packed in a lot of different ways. So for us it's a big deal, and for FedEx, and it's special to get some momentum for our guys, they really need it, and it was a big deal."
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 4th
How tough was today's race? "It was tough. It was definitely a great battle with everybody. It was a hard-fought day and the M&M's Camry was decent. I'm real proud of the effort. The guys had awesome pit stops all day. The guys worked hard. We made a lot of changes today. Every stop we made a change on the car trying to make it better. Tires were the name of the game. We just seemed to be on the right strategy when we could come get tires and drive back through some guys. We had a good enough car to do that with. Glad we came down there with like 15 or 18 to go, whatever it was, and put right-sides (tires) on it because that probably gained us about eight spots today. Real proud of the effort."
What did you say to Jimmie Johnson after the race? "I just went over to him and said, 'It's either you or the 11 (Denny Hamlin) here.' They finished top-two here like the last six times. Just real proud of the effort on our guys' side. We had a hard-fought race there to get fourth. The guys worked hard and every stop we made changes and we got better. From the gain we made this spring to right now, we need to make that gain again and I think we can win one."
How did the double-file restarts change the race? "It changed it a little bit, especially the guys that had tires versus guys that didn't have tires. It mixed up the complexion of the race a lot. For us, it seemed to work. We were always on the right strategy. Whoever was on the wrong one would just go backwards. Tires seemed to mean something here today. Normally you don't see that at Martinsville. Guys are always staying out on 100-lap tires, but today with this car, you needed tires."
How bad do you want to win a race at Martinsville? "We want to win everywhere. We want to win any week and the Joe Gibbs (Racing) cars seem to be a little bit off, but Denny (Hamlin) has been doing an awesome job with them. I have been trying to get there and trying to get a little bit better. It seems like the past couple weeks, we've done some improving. We've got a lot more to go."
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Farm Bureau Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 12th
Are you happy with your finish today? "I'm glad it's over. This is a very, very tough racetrack. I feel like we fought ourselves all day more than anything else. Couldn't make a good pit stop, kept losing track position. We were only good in long runs and there wasn't many, except that one and we were able to gain a lot of track position there. We finished 12th and that's still okay. I'm glad it's over."
What was your biggest challenge today? "Track position and we never got it. That was probably the biggest thing and this shows you came out pretty big here at the end. It was a tough one but it is what it is."
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael
Finishing Position: 16th
MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 47 Kingsford/Clorox/Bush's Toyota Camry,
Finishing Position: 27th
MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 NAPA Adaptive One Brakes Toyota Camry, Michael
Finishing Position: 30th
ROBBY GORDON, No. 7 Schrock/Menards Toyota Camry, Robby Gordon
Finishing Position: 37th
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 NEMCO Motorsports Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports
Finishing Position: 38th
DAVE BLANEY, No. 66 Prism Motorsports Toyota Camry, Prism Motorsports
Finishing Position: 40th
MICHAEL McDOWELL, No. 36 WAVE Energy Drink Toyota Camry, Tommy Baldwin
Finishing Position: 41st
DERRIKE COPE, No. 64 Gunselman Racing Toyota Camry, Gunselman Racing
Finishing Position: 42nd
-credit: toyota motorsports