Denny Hamlin (second) was the highest-finishing Camry driver in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Michigan International Speedway. Hamlin started 33rd and led once for 12 (of 200) laps in the event. Martin Truex Jr. (eighth) and...
Denny Hamlin (second) was the highest-finishing Camry driver in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Michigan International Speedway. Hamlin started 33rd and led once for 12 (of 200) laps in the event.
Martin Truex Jr. (eighth) and Joey Logano (10th) also recorded top-10 finishes for Toyota.
Camry drivers Marcos Ambrose (15th), David Reutimann (16th), Kyle Busch (18th), Scott Speed (25th), Reed Sorenson (26th), Robby Gordon (37th), P.J. Jones (39th), Max Papis (41st), Michael McDowell (42nd) and Joe Nemechek (43rd) were also in the field.
Camry drivers Hamlin (third) and Busch (eighth) remain in the top-12 in the unofficial NSCS point standings with three races remaining before the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
Reutimann (18th), Truex (20th) and Logano (21st) are also in the top-25 in the unofficial NSCS point standings following Sunday's race at Michigan.
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 2nd
Are you happy with finishing second? "It's win or nothing for us. This was a great fight by our FedEx Express team. This is the kind of run we needed to get back in the swing of things, but we still have to get better. The 29 (Kevin Harvick) was strong down that straightaway and so it was hard for us to beat him. It was a good battle. I haven't had that much fun racing someone for a win in a long time."
How did the electrical problem in your car impact your race? "It was a warm day, for sure. We keep having voltage problems with our FedEx team. Don't know what it is exactly, but hopefully we just keep fixing these problems and eventually we'll be alright."
How was it racing with Kevin Harvick at the end? "It was a battle, for sure. We are definitely happy with that run. We are trying all we can to get 10 more bonus points, but Kevin (Harvick) had a really strong car. It showed all day. We just kind of snuck up there. I knew we had a good car, but we never had really good track position. We were just hanging around eighth or 10th all day. I knew the capabilities of the car once we got out front. Mike (Ford, crew chief) made a great call to stay out there and luckily it gave me a shot to win it anyway."
What were you thinking at the end of the race? "Win or wreck -- that was the only thing I was thinking. We're in a situation where winning is everything. I tried everything I can and almost wrecked a couple times. I could only drive the limits of the car and that's all we had."
Are you surprised the second-place finish after starting 33rd in the race? "I felt like we were better than 33rd. We were not a 20th-place practice car. Those are all about single, one-lap fast speeds. I've never really been good at getting overall speed out of the car. I said last year in Homestead after we won, in order to win the Chase next year, we were going to have to qualify better. Right now, we are just struggling so b ad with qualifying. It takes us the entire race to get to the front. That's going to be a tough road to travel if we're going to try to win the championship."
Is Kevin Harvick as your primary threat for the championship? "I tell you, I don't think that you can put together any 10-week stretch during the course of the year where Kevin (Harvick) has been off. He's always been solid. Even when we had that 10-week stretch where we won all those races, there were a few bad races in between. I'm sure probably Kevin scored the most points still in that 10-week stretch. Through the course of the regular season, he has just been really, really good. Really reliable. He's been a guy that's been super solid. I really don't see how he can't be really the favorite going into it as solid of performance as he's been. Really not tapered off -- he's actually gotten better."
What do you think about NASCAR taking 18 engines to the dyno this week? "I'd love to see it. We heard that they were coming with the engine stuff this week. We're not the best out there. I think the RCR (Richard Childress Racing) camp has the best engines. So, I mean, we'll see with the dyno numbers. These guys, they're tough. They really got everything working right now. Their cars are handling really well and they've got horsepower. Those are two things that are tough to beat. For us, we feel like we're off a little bit in our camp in a couple different areas. Meeting with the guys Monday, we'll figure out what we've got to do to be better."
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip
Finishing Position: 8th
How was your race today? "Pretty good day for us. After the first pit stop we were real strong. We drove up there to fourth and were catching (Jimmie) Johnson and them guys for the lead. I was a little too loose there, we made some adjustments and got looser and really throughout the day we could never catch it. We stayed too loose all day long and battled that. Overall, it was a good day for the NAPA Toyota. Pat (Tryson, crew chief) did a really good job calling the race. We stayed out that one time and got track position and then were able to get our four tires and we were able to stay up there. We had a really good car on the long run. It took us a while to get going on the short run and that hurt us. We were as good as anyone on the long run. It just took us too long. It's something to work with. We were a lot better than we were here last time. The guys are working good and making the cars better and we feel good about that."
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 10th
How did the handle change on your race car today? "The thing that kind of messed with me was when we started in dirty air, we would get tighter and when we were in clean air, we would get looser. The track temperature was going up and down and it just kept screwing with me all day. It made it really hard to adjust on the car. If you had clean air all day and were up front then you definitely had a more consistent car and easier to work with. We finished with what we had. That was basically all we could do with it. We finished top-10 and that's good after the last few weeks, we definitely needed a solid top-10. We need to start moving ourselves back up towards the top-12 in points. If we can't make the Chase, we need to be as good as we can. We'll keep pushing."
What happened between you and Ryan Newman on the track? "He (Ryan Newman) races me way too hard, he races everybody too hard. I'm not the only one that complains about it every week. And he just went in there and door-jammed me. I was down there trying to save it and trying to save it. When someone is right on your side it takes your air off. I'm down there just hanging on and hanging on. I saved it three times before I'm like, 'I can't save this one, he should have given me room by now.' I will have to call and talk to him about it because I know I'm not the only one that complains about it, but I don't know why he races everyone so hard. I hear it from too many people."
MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 47 Little Debbie Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing
Finishing Position: 15th
How was your car in today's race? "We hung in and around the top-15 most of the day. We didn't qualify well, but we were able to drive our way up into the top-15. We started off tight in the center and loose off. When we had that bit of cloud cover, we were tight center off. The crew made some air pressure adjustments, which seemed to help. A little over halfway we were really free. With about 35 (laps) to go, we were tight in the middle before we took two tires. All in all, we had a respectable finish and look forward to Bristol this week."
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael
Finishing Position: 16th
How did your car handle in the race? "We just fought it all day today. We'd work to correct one thing and it'd hurt the other. We tried some pit strategy to gain track position toward the end, but really we just did the best we could with the Aaron's Dream Machine. The track conditions were tough, but on a day like today you just do what you can to gain every position. We'll take it and head to Bristol."
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 18th
ROBBY GORDON, No. 7 SpeedFactory.TV Toyota Camry, Robby Gordon
Finishing Position: 37th
P.J. JONES, No. 07 SpeedFactory.TV Toyota Camry, Robby Gordon
Finishing Position: 39th
MAX PAPIS, No. 13 GEICO Toyota Camry, Germain Racing
Finishing Position: 41st
MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 55 Toyota Camry, PRISM Motorsports
Finishing Position: 42nd
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports
Finishing Position: 43rd
-source: toyota motorsports