Camry driver Denny Hamlin won his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race of 2010 in Monday's rain-delayed event at Texas Motor Speedway. He also won at Martinsville Speedway in March, also a rain-delayed race. Hamlin led the final 12 laps...
Camry driver Denny Hamlin won his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race of 2010 in Monday's rain-delayed event at Texas Motor Speedway. He also won at Martinsville Speedway in March, also a rain-delayed race.
Hamlin led the final 12 laps after a late-race caution following a multi-car accident.
Toyota driver Kyle Busch (third) and Martin Truex Jr.(ninth) also earned top-10 result at the 1.5-mile oval.
Other Camry drivers in the race included Scott Speed (16th), Marcos Ambrose (17th), Max Papis (22nd), Robby Gordon (26th), Joey Logano (28th), David Reutimann (37th), Brian Vickers (38th), Reed Sorenson (39th), Joe Nemechek (40th), Michael McDowell (41st) and Dave Blaney (42nd).
Five Camry drivers are currently in the top-20 in the unofficial NSCS point standings after Texas -- Busch (sixth), Hamlin (11th), Logano (12th), Truex (17th), Vickers (19th) and Speed (20th).
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Did you have a lot of motivation to get to victory lane today? "We definitely don't give up. It sucks that we always have something to gain back. It's always a bit of a struggle -- we always have to start in the back. I never doubt this race team and Mike Ford (crew chief) did a great job there at the end. I have to thank the whole 11 team, everyone at FedEx -- all the employees, Sprint and the fans -- I've never seen so many fans on a Monday race like this. I can't thank them enough. It's just a great day for us."
Is winning at an intermediate track a strong statement by your team? "This is not the type of race track that people characterize us being strong at. They always say we're a short track team. When we won Homestead (Fla.) last year, it was a sign of things to come. I know we have some good race cars in our stable and we're going to keep getting better and working towards the Chase. Hopefully, by the time we get there we'll peak."
How important was your team in today's race? "It was just one of those days where every run we got our car better. Every run the pit crew did a good job of getting us some spots. It all paid off in the long run. We had one of those days where it showed how strong our race team is. Every little piece of it was very strong, from the pit crew to the car to the driver getting better through the course of the race, and our race car kept getting better. So, all those things put together showed right at the end."
Was the two tire stop at the end of the race the winning move? "We knew there were guys before that were close to us but we knew it was tough for us to get going on the short run. Our car was not strong right on the get go, so we needed to get track po sition and hope the race went green and it did."
What are your thoughts on today's race? "It was one of those days where it's just I felt like it was my rookie season. We just kept -- everything just kept getting better through the course of the day. Our car got a little bit better every run. We would gain three, four spots every run. The pit crew would gain a couple of spots just about every run. I was getting a little bit better and getting in rhythm every run. And Mike obviously made a winning call at the end. It was just one of those days where the pieces of the puzzle came together, and I felt like it was a winning effort overall."
Are you becoming a good closer after winning two races this season with strong moves at the end of the race? "Usually, to be honest with you, I'm one of the worst when it comes down to a shootout at the end. I never seem to gain positions. I don't know what it is. This year I have gotten better at getting the maximum out of the car that's possible at the end of the races. But I think it's just my driving style is so conservative and not wanting to get in a wreck most of the times that that style doesn't pay off in shootouts like this. Obviously, styles like Kyle (Busch) does. It gets you more wins. But it also gets you in a little bit more trouble. I knew Kyle was going to be strong. Even though we felt like we were better than him all day, I knew he was going to be strong there at the end and give us a great run. I think the big point for me is I knew once (Jeff) Burton gave me that outside line, that I was going to be able to do something with it. I saw on the previous restart that he struggled getting through the first corner, and I knew if I could just hang right there on his outside I could clear him through three and four and we were able to do that. So it was just one of those situations where things worked out great for us.
MIKE FORD, crew chief, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What was your view of today's race from the pit box? "We just took it slow to begin with and paced ourselves. There were rumors of tire issues. And this is a race that came into play, the first time with the spoiler on a mile and a half. So we just wanted to feel it out and see what we needed to adjust to get in contention. We used the first part of the race to play around with some changes. Like Denny (Hamlin) mentioned, each change got a little bit better. We watched guys take two tires earlier in the race and knew what to expect. And with the possibility of tire issues, didn't want to be aggressive and have a problem and ruin the day. So waited till the end to get two tires and it worked out for us."
JOE GIBBS, owner, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What do you think of today's race? "The one thing I wanted to say is last week we had a very, very tough day. Denny (Hamlin) had that surgery, and us going down two laps. I think a lot of guys would have chosen to get out of the car. And I sent an email to him - not email, but a message - that said, hey, that showed a lot of courage. Stays in the car, bad day, fought his way through that. Today is just one of those things where it was a wild set of circumstances. We've had days like that where it goes against us. This time it went for us. We're really happy for FedEx, Denny, and everybody on the race team. It was just one of those days where we kept fighting. Did a good job. We were up front most of the day, and it went our way at the end.
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Were taking two tires the right call on that last pit stop? "It was definitely the right call. We probably had a 10th-place to 13th-place car today, unfortunately. Dave (Rogers, crew chief) and the guys never gave up. The pit crew on pit road was awesome today, they were just flawless. They did a great job for us. Our Interstate Batteries Camry was just that. We needed work on it a little bit longer and could never get it. I think I know what it was and Dave (Rogers) knows what it was too, so hopefully we can come back here in the fall with something a little different. What we had worked with the wing, but doesn't like the spoiler that much so we have some work to do on that. I can't thank the guys enough. Third is a good day for us here today. I'm glad to see our teammate (Denny Hamlin) win, hopefully he gets out gingerly."
How was your race today? "There was a lot of work that went into that one for sure. The guys never gave up on pit road. Their pit stops were flawless, and Dave (Rogers, crew chief) made some good race calls for us to try to get us back in position and get us up there. We had something in the car today that we liked when we ran here last fall with the wing, but it didn't like it here today with the spoiler. So we'll go back and review our notes and look at it, and determine what to bring back here in the Fall. But as far as our finish goes, we got a lot better than probably what we deserved. Last week, we didn't get what we deserved. So , it's unfortunate we miss a win, but then we get a third because of a 13th-place car. But overall, times work out back and forth. But, we'll take what we got today. Congrats to Denny (Hamlin) and those guys. They've been working really hard and doing a good job. So they looked good today."
Are you tired after that race and what was your view of that big accident? "Physically, I'm okay. I think I'll be all right for today (for the Nationwide Series race). I haven't eaten since breakfast this morning, so it's time for some grub, that's for sure. Got to feed the fat man. You know, as far as the wreck goes, you can't really anticipate a wreck. I just did what I needed to do to get up front and get past those guys, and I had a good run on the outside. (Dale Earnhardt) Junior made it three wide through the middle, and I ducked down and pushed my teammate clear into turn three. So that was just trying to get up towards the front and get down towards the bottom. It felt like for some reason with these tires, I'm not sure what it is with this tire, that it lays down rubber like it does. It seems like the outside lanes are horrible on restarts. So you only have one corner. For some reason, the 42 (Juan Pablo Montoya) and 48 (Jimmie Johnson) had it figured out here today. But any time I went up there, I lost a half a second. So I was just a bottom feeder all day. Just made what I could.
What kind of notebook do you leave here with the spoiler on this track? "I mean, it was a different race for sure. The car seemed to be a lot more consistent and a lot more driveable. So you know on restarts it seems like there's a lot more chaos going on. A lot of guys are really comfortable and can run side-by-side and really, you know, push each other a little bit down the straightaways and what not. So, it feels like they're going for broke even more than what we used to. At least with the old car the way the noses and tails were you couldn't bump anybody. If you ever got really close to somebody on the outside to the inside car, that inside car would get loose. So these cars are pretty comfortable. A lot of guys are taking advantage of it."
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip
What are your thoughts on a top-10 finish at Texas? "Merry Christmas to us. We have more work to do. That last run was tough. The NAPA Toyota wanted to go straight on exit when it hit the bumps. The whole race our car was good for two laps and then the handling would go away. We'll figure it out. Pat (Tryson, crew chief) and I are still getting to know one another and that's part of the process when building a new team. We'll get it worked out. We'll take ninth and keep digging."
MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 47 Tom Thumb/Viva Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty
MAX PAPIS, No. 13 GEICO Toyota Camry, Germain Racing
ROBBY GORDON, No. 7 Monster Energy Drink Toyota Camry, Robby Gordon
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael
What happened to your race car? "That's about as frustrating as it gets. We had a great car all day and ran with the leaders and we have a problem with 30 laps to go and can't finish the race. That unfortunately has been the story of our season so far. I don't know what we need to do to turn it around, but this is getting old. We've had some good finishes go up in smoke ... literally."
REED SORENSON, No. 32 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Braun Racing
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports
MICHAEL McDOWELL, No. 66 Toyota Camry, PRISM Motorsports
DAVE BLANEY, No. 55 Toyota Camry, PRISM Motorsports
-source: toyota motorsports