When he rolls off the grid in 11th, it will be Michael Waltrip's (No. 55 NAPA Camry) best start in a Camry. David Reutimann (No. 22 Dominos.com Camry) will start 12th Sunday, his career best NNCS start. Four Camrys will start within the top-20...
When he rolls off the grid in 11th, it will be Michael Waltrip's (No. 55 NAPA Camry) best start in a Camry. David Reutimann (No. 22 Dominos.com Camry) will start 12th Sunday, his career best NNCS start. Four Camrys will start within the top-20 in Sunday's 3M Performance 400 with Michael Waltrip and David Reutimann starting side-by-side in row six and Dave Blaney and Brian Vickers starting side-by-side in row nine.
Toyota has earned one pole this season with Dave Blaney (No. 22 Caterpillar Camry) at New Hampshire International Speedway in June. Five Toyota Camrys competed in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway in June. Three Camrys finished the race in the top-20 with Michael Waltrip finishing 10th, David Reutimann finishing 15th and Dave Blaney finishing 18th. The finishes marked the first time two Camrys finished in the top-15 at a NNCS race.
MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 NAPA Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting position: 11th
Why did you take a second qualifying lap? "No radio. I was on the wrong channel, they said. I was screaming: 'What do I do? What do I do?' No one answered, so I just kept going -- which was dumb because I know I couldn't go any faster than I did. It was kind of silly to keep going, but when you're scared you don't really know what to do."
How was your qualifying lap? "I took a gamble in turn three. I came through turns one and two and it was just a little tight. I was wide open, but it was just a little tight. Historically, I get tighter off this corner. When I go there, I said the heck with that and turned hard left -- and went dead to the bottom and it stuck. Sometimes, you have to go with your instincts. And, if I don't have any after 20-something years, I probably never will get them."
Why did you pick up time from practice? "We were able to pick up that speed is because we didn't change anything. I had a lot of confidence in the car. We didn't do anything. They asked me what I wanted to do, and I told them; 'I love it.' I know what I got. So many times we come to the track and we've had to scramble when we went to qualify, and it wasn't good. This time I had a car I could count on."
Does running strong here earlier this year help? "It's a hard call. We've seen guys come back to a track a month later and not able to find their behind with either hand. We've got a lot of work to do now to get ready to race. It takes a different package, a different set-up, to get ready to race. I'm optimistic because I like this track. It's certainly not a given that we'll do well just because what happened last month."
What changes will you make to prepare for the race? "We'll start where we ended up here in the spring -- which was pretty decent. We think we have a little more power than we had then, and we know we have a little bit more downforce on our bodies. So, I feel pretty optimistic about the race."
How was the engine? "I thought it was better, and after that lap -- I say it's definitely better. I ran a lot faster than I did here in the spring and we had a really good car here in the spring. Hopefully, that will relate to better racing for us on Sunday."
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Dominos.com Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting position: 12th
How was your car in qualifying? "You don't have much choice at places like this to do anything but put the pedal to the metal. Everyone at Michael Waltrip Racing did a great job and we got the Dominos.com Camry in the show and that's all that matters. It's a really big race track to hold your breathe. I definitely drove it in as deep as I could get. It was just a little free off and I had to chase it a little bit and use a lot of race track. I feel like it was a pretty solid effort. I'm just glad I made it. The goal is just to get in the race. Sometimes I get up on race morning and not know where we start because the goal is just to get into the race, not where you start. The main deal is that we are starting -- and that's a pretty big deal."
DAVE BLANEY, No. 22 Caterpillar Toyota Camry, Bill Davis Racing Starting position: 17th
How has practice and qualifying been today? "Qualifying was good. I picked up over two-tenths from practice. We struggled a little bit in turn one during practice and they got it fixed up for me right there in qualifying. It was really good, actually. I was a little bit off in turns three and four, but it was a good lap. Any time you can pick up two-tenths after practice, you're pleased. We've been in qualifying trim all day. Anytime you're outside of the points, you have to do that unless it's an impound race. We have been in qualifying mode all day just like we do anytime we're outside of the top-35. You have two race practices tomorrow, so we have time. A lot of guys made only one or two race runs today, so we didn't get too far behind as long as we have two Saturday race practices."
How has your car been today in practice and qualifying compared to how it performed in June? "It was good. We were a little tight, but we had a good car. It was just a little tight off of turn two, I'm not really sure why it just gets tight towards the bottom. It feels better getting into the center and getting better into the gas and I just lost the nose. I had to lift to the wall. Turns three and four probably weren't as good. We made a couple of race runs today, but our race runs aren't race runs -- they're hybrids. We took the tape off and made more than just two lap runs, but we still had the qualifying set-up on there. It's a hybrid mix -- it's not really for race practice, it's to get a couple extra laps and get a feel for tape, not really for race set-up."
-credit: toyota motorsports