Camry driver Denny Hamlin (fourth) earned the best finish for Toyota in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Alabama's Talladega Superspeedway. Toyota drivers Kyle Busch (eighth), Martin Truex Jr. (12th), David Reutimann (14th) and...
Camry driver Denny Hamlin (fourth) earned the best finish for Toyota in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Alabama's Talladega Superspeedway.
Toyota drivers Kyle Busch (eighth), Martin Truex Jr. (12th), David Reutimann (14th) and Scott Speed (15th) also earned top-15 results at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.
Seven Camry drivers spent time leading in today's race, helping to establi sh two new NSCS records of 29 race leaders and 88 lead changes - Busch (22), Hamlin (17), Brian Vickers (13), Joey Logano (nine), Reutimann (five), Michael Waltrip (four) and Robby Gordon (two).
Other Camry drivers in the race included Gordon (20th), Vickers (29th), Logano (36th), Marcos Ambrose (37th), Waltrip (39th), Max Papis (40th), Joe Nemechek (42nd) and Dave Blaney (43rd).
Four Camry drivers are currently in the top-20 in the unofficial NSCS point standings after Talladega -- Busch (fifth), Hamlin (ninth), Truex (15th) and Logano (16th).
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Did you think you had a chance to win the race? "We needed one more lap -- one more corner. Whoever we were pushing just gained a whole lot of spots. I pushed the 29 (Kevin Harvick) to that position right there to get pushed for the win. Just whoever was in front of me went for a ride so it was a good day for our FedEx Express Toyota. This is what we needed to get back solidly in the Chase and we're going to just keep building on this."
Do you think NASCAR should control the excessive bump drafting at superspeedways? "I'm afraid there's nothing you can really do about it. Short of us running 230 and us having to back off there's nothing you're going to do to keep us away from each other. The grip level is so high that we're comfortable and when you're comfortable you tend to take chances and that's when you make mistakes. We talk about it every time we come to Talladega some guys are on the bad end and some guys are on the good end. For once, for us, we're on the good end. I know every time I get wrecked here it's just part of it and you've got to understand when you come to this race track it's a question mark. You don't know what's going to happen."
Were you surprised there were so many lead changes throughout the race? "It was the biggest yo-yo effect that I've ever seen as far as the front to the back to the middle. You just couldn't keep your track position. As hard as you tried to stay upfront there's nothing you could do to stay up there. From the competitive standpoint I don't know what else you can ask for. Anybody can win this race. There's no doubt about it. Any car can win this race and it's just who's going to put themselves in the position with 10 to go."
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Pedigree Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How was your race today? "We had a really, really fast race car. It was just unfortunate that we didn't have the right things go our way there late. Overall, we led some laps, our car was good in the draft, just trying to push people. Just circumstances."
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip
How was your car handling throughout the race? "My NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota just wouldn't go there at the end especially when I got shuffled out. It's a shame but considering my finishes over the last couple of races, I'll take it. We avoided the wrecks and we were in contention. That's a good day."
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Alabama National Champions/Aaron's Toyota
Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Were you able to get help from other drivers in the draft? "It seemed like I could give help, but no one seemed to really want to give me any. The 11 (Denny Hamlin) worked with us really good and there was a couple other guys that would. A lot of guys would work with you and then hang you out. That's just how it goes - no big deal. We should have finished a whole lot better than 14th today. We had a good car. At least we didn't tear anything up and we have something good to bring back."
ROBBY GORDON, No. 7 Monster Energy Drink Toyota Camry, Robby Gordon
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What happened that took you out of the race? "Started pushing the 39 (Ryan Newman) and it's been working all day for us. Everyone kind of got out of the way and we were able to find a hole in front of him and we were going to do the two-car draft. It looked like it was going to work. I was pushing him pretty hard and we were going up towards the front and I just must have got into him a little bit of the wrong way and got him loose. Then everything broke loose on that one. It was my fault. I was trying to get a little bit more than I could I guess. It worked the whole race and it was going to work there towards the end. I could just see it coming that it was going to be a shove fest. It was just who could shove whoever. It was going to work perfect for us and it just didn't work."
Do you wish the restrictor plate races were shorter? "It stinks because I wish we could do a 100-lap race instead of running around for 500 miles and then going. It kind of makes it a tough deal. You could see it was all going to come. Everyone just rides around and feels out which cars they work well with and then at the end it just comes to pushing people. You're pushing, pushing, pushing until someone spins out I guess. It's a tough deal. It's my fault and I just felt so bad for all the cars that wrecked."
MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 47 Bush's Baked Beans/Kingsford Toyota Camry,
MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 Aaron's 55th Anniversary Toyota Camry, PRISM
How did it feel leading the race? "Honestly, at one point I looked up and it was me and Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. leading the race and I thought, 'This feels great!' I hope the fans are enjoying it. The car was fast. Kyle (Busch) just messed up and ran into a guy and crashed him. When you set yourself to the standards that he does, he's really good and he'll tell you about it, but whether it's a tear-off or a caution flag, when you set yourself to those standards and then you make a mistake like that in front of the field, it's kind of disappointing."
Did you have fun out there today? "I thought I could win. I've raced 500 miles a lot of times and a win wasn't in the cards. A lap down and not running like you wanted and you just fight your way through it so that when the day comes along like this you're ready and I was ready. Golly, I wanted to do it so bad for my sponsor. This is my first Cup race for Aaron's and to be able to lead the race for them and be a part of the front of the pack, it was really fun for me."
MAX PAPIS, No. 13 GEICO Toyota Camry, Germain Racing
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports
DAVE BLANEY, No. 66 Toyota Camry, PRISM Motorsports
-source: toyota motorsports