Camry driver David Reutimann (third) was the highest finishing Toyota in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Pennsylvania's Pocono Raceway. Marcos Ambrose (sixth) also earned a top-10 finish in his Toyota in his first NSCS race at...
Camry driver David Reutimann (third) was the highest finishing Toyota in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Pennsylvania's Pocono Raceway.
Marcos Ambrose (sixth) also earned a top-10 finish in his Toyota in his first NSCS race at the triangular race track.
Denny Hamlin was the fastest car in the final practice session on Saturday, but a broken fuel pump on lap one forced him to the garage for repairs and ultimately a 38th-place finish.
Other Toyota drivers in the field included Michael Waltrip (17th), Brian Vickers (21st), Kyle Busch (22nd), Joey Logano (23rd), Robby Gordon (31st), Scott Speed (32nd), Dave Blaney (40th), Joe Nemechek (41st) and Patrick Carpentier (43rd).
Five Camry drivers are in the top-20 in the unofficial NSCS driver points -- Busch (ninth), Reutimann (11th), Hamlin (12th), Vickers (17th) and Ambrose (18th).
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position: 3rd
How pleased were you with the call by your crew chief to gamble on fuel? "Yeah, he (Rodney Childers, crew chief) had another one. He has been keeping us up front all year. We had a pretty decent car all day, he told us to save, save , save that last pit stop and said we were probably one of the few cars that could make it. There towards the end I think we were all running five seconds slower. We were supposed to be trying to save fuel and it ended up working out. We had a good day, good pit stops all day and the car was pretty good since we unloaded it. Guys at Michael Waltrip Racing and Aarons Dream Machine -- just real happy. This is like a win for me here because I have sucked so bad here in the past, it is great to be in the top five."
How hard was it to conserve fuel in the last 20 laps? "I asked Rodney (Childers, crew chief), 'Do I need to race or do I need to ride?' He said just do the best you can. I'm like, 'That is not exactly an answer.' I knew what he meant, just go as fast as you can, just roll out of the gas early and roll back in late, let it roll and we did all that. I don't know how much is left in it -- the fuel pressure never fluctuated or anything like that. We may have a little bit left. Thanks to Toyota and Toyota Racing Development. They have been working hard to get us some fuel mileage and they got us here today."
What did you think of your third-place run today at Pocono Raceway? "I think it was probably stellar compared to the runs we've had here in the past. This place has never really been all that kind to me. Matter of fact, this time last year I was sitting parked in the middle of turn one and two out of fuel and didn't even come back to the start-finish line. Little better deal today. Rodney Childers (crew chief) made a great call and just told us to save fuel from the time we went back out there and just try to be easy with it, which I'm not really very good at that. So he kept telling me we need to save some fuel and I was like, 'Well, do I need to ride or do I need to race?' He said, 'Just do the best you can.' And to me, that's not an answer, you know, so I just knew it meant go as hard as you could and just save fuel at the same time. I don't know exactly how you do that, but got us some good fuel mileage and just worked out in the end and didn't rain, so kind of good on that one I guess."
What did you think of the double-file restarts? "I think if the fans like it, I think it comes down to it. If it adds a little something to the race for them I think it's a win-win, and sometimes it's going to work for you, and sometimes, there's a couple of times, I was in the spot I wanted to be and it worked out well, and there's other times you got shuffled around and you weren't. Sometimes it's a 50-50 shot it's going to work for you. I wasn't close enough to the front to really see what was going on with the leader. But you know, I'm sure they will refine it and make it better, but I think it came off pretty good for the first time. As long as they don't start inverting."
Did you think you would be contending for a spot in the 'Chase' this season? "No. Not really. You guys (media) see me enough. I'm not exactly the most confident guy here. But I knew there was -- the potential was there, the way we finished out last year. I was like, 'Man, if we can just do this and do a couple of things a little bit better I think we might be able to do that or at least be in contention to do the stuff.' Anyway, it's worked out so far. We have definitely had some races that we would like to forget, but for the most part it's been a pretty good year and it's been pretty productive especially if you look back at the previous years and the results we have had compared to last year, there's just no comparison. In the end I felt like if we did the right things and we were heading in the right direction, I knew the possibility was there, and up to this point, I had not even had the possibility to do that, so I'm pretty happy with everything."
MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 47 Little Debbie Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing
Finishing Position: 6th
What did you think of your first race at Pocono Raceway? "It's got nothing to do with road courses. This place is insane how hard it is -- like no place I've ever been in my life. Great day for our team we had a fast car regardless of fuel strategy -- it's the first time I've had to save fuel at this level so I didn't know what to do so I was very conservative. I'm proud of my guys for putting me in that position and looking forward to next week and next week and next week."
What did you learn in today's race? "I've got to work on my elbow strength, because my elbows are worn out. I've been working them all day. So it's a tough place I think it's one of my favorite tracks I've ever been too. It's really tough to get around."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position: 17th
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 22nd
How was your race car today? "We just never really got the car right today. It would start off the run tight and then go to loose by the end of the run. We've got a lot of work to do here for next time, that's for sure. A lot of those guys made it on fuel and we couldn't. We didn't think that everyone else could. But the fact of the matter is that we were off. It's disappointing."
STEVE ADDINGTON, crew chief, No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What happened with the fuel mileage at the end of the race? "The fuel mileage deal - we were three laps short and the way we are sitting here in the points, 60 or 80 from being out of the top-12 so I played it safe. We didn't figure that a lot of those guys could make it all the way to the end so we tried to do a short pit deal - put tires on it and try to make up some time. We made up some time. Those guys made it and I don't know how. Our teammate was getting better fuel mileage than us and he ran out in turn three. We wouldn't have made it even if we tried to back it down. We did the right thing - we finished on the lead lap. It's not a proud day for us for sure."
Were you able to find anything in the car that will help when you return to Pocono? "Our laps times were just up and down all day long. I don't know - I thought we did. I didn't think the car was that bad. A few runs, on the back side of the runs we were great. Ran great lap times compared to everybody, but we lost so much of it at the beginning of a run to get there. We've got some work to do on our race cars to come back here."
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 23rd
What were you able to learn in today's race? "We started off bad - kind of like I expected to run. I just learned a lot about where to be on the race track and we were able to adjust our car accordingly. I kind of wished we had practice back to be able to adjust to where I needed to be and that sort of thing. It's kind of typical when you come to these places because you just don't know. I felt like I learned a lot and we were running good at the end. It was too late - we finished 23rd and maybe we should have finished a few spots better, but a few guys got us on fuel mileage. I feel like I'm going to have a better piece when we come back here next time."
What did you think of the double-file restarts? "I thought it was pretty cool. Some places its going to work better than others. I thought it went good here. I thought there might have been mass confusion out there a couple times, but everyone had it all figured out so it was good. No one was all screwed up or had to make extra laps or anything so it was good."
ROBBY GORDON, No. 7 Pittsburgh Paints Toyota Camry, Robby Gordon Motorsports
Finishing Position: 31st
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 38th
MIKE FORD, crew chief, No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What happened to your car on the first lap of the race? "It was just unacceptable. It's not the first time we've had fuel issues - across all three cars. It's just plain unacceptable and it should never happen. We had a fuel pump lock up and that broke a couple other pieces in the system. It's one of those things that's difficult to troubleshoot in a short amount of time. What started it was having the fuel pump lock up. It was just a parts failure."
DAVE BLANEY, No. 66 Prism Motorsports Toyota Camry, Prism Motorsports
Finishing Position: 40th
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports
Finishing Position: 41st
PATRICK CARPENTIER, No. 36 Toyota Camry, Tommy Baldwin Racing
Finishing Position: 43rd
-credit: toyota motorsports