Toyota Motorsports press release
Denny Hamlin (eighth) was the highest finishing Toyota driver in Tuesday’s rain-delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The finish marked Hamlin’s second-straight top-10 finish.
Camry drivers Brian Vickers (11th) and Martin Truex Jr. (14th) also recorded a top-15 finishes in Georgia.
Four Camry drivers led laps in the 325-lap race -- Hamlin (six), Kyle Busch (19), Truex (three) and Kasey Kahne (15).
Camry driver Kahne started from the pole and led the first 15 laps before a mechanical situation forced Kahne to the garage for repairs. Kahne would return to the track to finish 34th.
Other Toyota drivers in the field included Busch (23rd), Joey Logano (24th), Casey Mears (28th), David Reutimann (31st), Bobby Labonte (38th), Joe Nemechek (40th) and Michael McDowell (41st).
Busch currently sits second in the unofficial NSCS point standings and trails leader Jimmie Johnson by 21 points. Hamlin ranks 12th in the standings and is currently 42 points behind 10th-place.
Other Toyota drivers in the top-25 in the unofficial point standings after 25 of 36 races include Truex (16th), Kahne (17th) and Logano (18th).
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 Charter Communications Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 8th
How was today’s race? “It was a solid run. I was really just buying my time coming in and when we did have to right there we just got too loose at the end. It was a great day for our Charter Communications Toyota and I feel like it’s a step in the right direction. We’re taking baby steps at this point.”
Do you think you benefited from Clint Bowyers’ misfortune today? “They’re (Clint Bowyer and the No. 33 team) good too. They’re a good team and they’ve won there (Richmond) before also. You never know in this sport. You never know what can happen. We need to go out there next week and get a solid finish and try to win. We know we’re in if we win.”
What is your confidence heading to Richmond? “Better than what we were going into this week, but we still just would have liked to get a win today. Our car just faded there a little bit at the end and just fought track position. Those Hendrick guys could really just take off and really not pay too bad of a price it looked like. Overall, a good day for us.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 14th
How was your race? “It was rather interesting from my seat. You never like to have them deals where you have got to stop and go, stop and go and all the rain delays. They threw us a little bit of a curve. The rain getting on the track and then the jet dryers coming out, it really affected our race car quite a good deal. We were probably at our best right before that first time that we had to stop. And we just, for some reason, we never really got the balance back after that. We were tight in. We were loose, but we just never hit it right after that. I felt like we were better than the 14th-place car where we finished, but overall it was a decent day for our NAPA Toyota. We had a few little troubles on pit road, but the guys came back at the end and made it happen. We got some spots back and made a decent day out of it. We still got to get a little better on these mile and a halfs.”
How did the decision to take two tires impact the outcome? “We still probably ended up where we would have. We needed a caution to come out a little bit earlier. We hung on for a little while and then after about 20 laps the tires really started to hurt and we dropped back. We were lucky we got a caution when we did, but it would have been nice to get one a little bit earlier.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Pedigree Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 23rd
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 24th
CASEY MEARS, No. 13 GEICO Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Finishing Position: 28th
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 31st
BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Bush’s Best Baked Beans Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Finishing Position: 38th
What happened to you car? “We weren’t that happy with it on Friday or Saturday. Made some changes on it and I think we went the wrong way a little bit. The car was really, really tight in the center and it was so loose off and so loose on entry and the grip level went away like a light switch going off in about seven laps. The guys worked really hard and we tried to do everything we could do. This Bush’s Baked Beans Toyota wasn’t what we wanted it to be, but ended our day quickly today. Excited about next weekend at Richmond and feel like we have a better program there than we do here. We were just trying some stuff today and it didn’t work out for us like we wanted it to.”
Did the start time negatively impact your setup? “We were really loose throughout the corner and we tried to fix it. We were trying a few things different, but not a whole, but a few things different. The track kind of got us today where we needed to be a little bit different. It wouldn’t have mattered if it was Sunday night or today, it probably would have been the same thing.”
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 NEMCO Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 40th
MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 66 HP RACING Toyota Camry, Gunselman Motorsports Finishing Position: 41st