Martin Truex Jr. (second) was the highest finishing Toyota driver in Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Tennessee’s Bristol Motor Speedway.
The finish marked Truex’s top finish of the 2011 season as well as his first career top-10 finish at the half-mile bullring in 12 career NSCS starts.
Camry driver Denny Hamlin (seventh) also recorded a top-10 finish at Bristol.
Other Toyota drivers in the field included Kasey Kahne (11th), Joey Logano (13th), Kyle Busch (14th), Brian Vickers (21st), Casey Mears (23rd), Bobby Labonte (34th), David Reutimann (36th), Michael McDowell (39th), Joe Nemechek (40th) and Mike Skinner (41st).
Busch continues to lead the unofficial NSCS point standings. Hamlin ranks 13th in the standings and is currently 38 points behind 10th-place.
Other Toyota drivers in the top-25 in the unofficial point standings after 24 of 36 races include Kahne (15th), Truex (17th) and Logano (18th).
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 2nd
How was your race tonight? “It was a great night for all of us on our NAPA Toyota. I’m so proud of all the guys at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) -- Chad (Johnston), my crew chief, who is still pretty new to this stuff and all the guys in the pits. They had one bad pit stop one from the end, but they were able to rebound on the last one when we got two (tires) and got the lead. Just a little too tight on restarts to be able to stay with Brad (Keselowski) there. On the long run we were as good as anyone. Just couldn’t quite hang with him on two and was a little disappointed because I thought we had a shot at it. Again, I want to thank all these guys. This place has been a tough track for me in the Cup Series. We’ve had a lot of good runs and we led over half the race in the spring and finished 20th or something. Just hadn’t ever had the luck we needed here or a good car enough in the second half of the race. We worked really hard this weekend on being good the second half of the race and not the first half. We were really good on long runs all night and just needed a little more on the restarts.”
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 7th
How was your race tonight? “We did what we had to do. I wish I could race harder and I wish I could do all those things, but at this point we have to have solid finishes. This is all the car would give me today. This is a step forward for this FedEx team. If we just handle business the next couple weeks then we’ll be okay.”
How do you feel about tonight’s finish? “I feel a lot better. It’s been a while since we’ve completed a race and been able to finish where we’re capable of finishing. It’s a great job by the pit crew today -- they did an awesome job. Made up spots every time. Mike (Ford, crew chief) did a great job with adjustments and I felt like we learned some stuff today.”
Did you think your night was over when you spun? “That’s the thing -- we got hit and spun and I was like, ‘Of course it’s our luck.’ We were able to make something of it and battle back. That was the most patient that I’ve been since my rookie season. I think when retaliation comes into affect on the short track, people don’t think about the repercussions of all the innocent bystanders. You almost would rather see it on a different kind of track where no one can get in it. At short track racing, that is part of it. We know when we come here that there’s a chance of that stuff happening.”
How did your car handle tonight? “We worked on the balance of the car all evening. Luckily, we got the lucky dog and were able to work our way up to 11th at the finish. The finish moved us up two spots in the points, which is great with two races left to get in the Chase. We head to Atlanta next week, which is one of my favorite tracks so looking forward to that.”
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 13th
How do you feel about your race tonight? “We’re kind of confused. The first part of the race we were really loose. They got the car better and we came from the back and my car was awesome. I drove all the way up to fifth and thought this thing was good enough to win this thing. We made another run and kind of hung in there in fifth and then just got loose -- just like a light switch. Then we stayed loose for another run and then just gave up our center and at the end of the race it was still loose. What happened when that happened? I don’t know what the deal was. We had a better car at points than where we finished. I felt like we should have finished better than where we did. Just kind of confused right now, that’s all.”
Is this one of your best Bristol finishes in the Cup Series? “For Bristol, yeah. I’ve never really run well here at Bristol. I’ve always had fast cars so that parts not different. I’ve always had fast cars and had an opportunity of winning all the time and just never been able to put a solid finish together. We finished 13th and I’m frustrated, but at the same time it’s our best finish and we have to look at the positives. The guys did the best they possibly can so we just need to look back and see what changed.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Doublemint Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 14th
What did you struggle with in handling tonight? “We’ve just struggled since we got here with our Doublemint Camry. We just didn’t quite have the balance that we were looking for the whole time. Unfortunately, we thought we were doing the right thing this morning and turns out we did the wrong things for the car for the race. Kind of a disappointing day, but proud of the guys. We never gave up, but we just never could get the car to where it would feel like it had in the past. That’s kind of what we struggled with all weekend -- just not being able to get that special Bristol feel.”
CASEY MEARS, No. 13 GEICO Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Finishing Position: 23rd
BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Bush’s Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Finishing Position: 34th
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron’s Freedom Ride Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 36th
MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 66 HP Racing LLC Toyota Camry, PRISM Motorsports Finishing Position: 39th
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 NEMCO Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 40th
MIKE SKINNER, No. 60 Big Red Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Finishing Position: 41st