Toyota drivers talk Richmond NASCAR race

Kyle Busch on the podium in Toyota Owners 400 race

Kyle Busch (above) was the first Toyota Camry driver to the finish line in Saturday night’s Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Richmond International Raceway.

Here's what he had to say after the race:

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing:

How was the race?

“It was crazy. Really battling this M&M’s Camry -- that’s for sure. We didn’t have our best underneath it tonight, but I have no idea the last 10 laps, I have absolutely no clue. I started 16th and finished third -- that’s about all I know. Pretty crazy with everything going on. I was shaking in my seat just because of how fast I was passing guys. I was like, ‘Whoa, something is going to happen -- something is going to screw up.’ I was just trying to make sure I didn’t end up in it. Those guys were racing hard up front and it was really cool to watch from my seat. Glad I got by and then it kind of got settled out and got too calm and let Joey (Logano) and Jeff (Gordon) just kind of stabilize and I could just run with them and that was all I had. Great finish for the way our day was. Can’t say enough about the gutsy call by Dave (Rogers, crew chief) -- and the bad ass driving by me.”

What were the closing laps like after you pitted for four tires?

Just tires were so stellar right there, it was unbelievable the way it looked and the way it felt. Going from 16th to 10th in one corner literally, that was just insane and I was kind of going by him so fast that I was just wondering if I was going to end up in the may lay of everybody just racing each other so hard and getting into one another. I got clear and got up there and tried racing Jeff (Gordon) and Joey (Logano) down, but by the time I got there those guys were singled out and running their own pace. We didn’t have a good enough car much of the day to be able to contend for that win anyway. To come home third like we did -- that’s just an effort. That was a closing effort today for sure. Dave (Rogers, crew chief) made a very gutsy call there to come in and put four tires on it and restart 16th and I just was a bad ass and drove the hell out of it.”

How were you able to pass so many cars on the final restart?

“Our finish right there was just insane. Somehow I found a fourth lane out there and got around everybody. I had enough tire grip to make that all happen. I think they had eight laps on their tires and we came in and put tires on and we looked like heroes. It looked like they had 80 laps on their tires. Crazy, but it worked out for us. Really, really happy to come home third -- we did not deserve a third today. That just helps us in the points and keeps us up front. We’re going to use our win to get in the Chase, but if somehow for some reason you need two wins then maybe we can fall back on points.”

How far off was the car earlier in the race?

A lot, we’re way, way behind. Matt (Kenseth) looked really, really good. I don’t know how Matt drove to the front and took the lead -- that was pretty stellar for how far off I feel like our stuff is. My car tonight -- I drove up and I got up to fourth and I’m like okay, I’ve got a chance and can hang with them and one more adjustment I’ll be good and that one more adjustment took us all the way to 14th. That’s just the razor blade edge we’re working on.”

MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Home Depot/Husky Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing, finished fifth:

What happened between you and Brad Keselowski?

“With me and Brad (Keselowski) specifically, I don’t know he was mad because I ran into him a little bit getting into (turn) three, but we’re going for the win. I ran him up to the third groove or so, but I’ve witnessed him racing that way a lot like I think he did to Jimmie (Johnson) at Texas a few years ago. I thought once we got to the straightaway I left him enough room unless I wasn’t clear, I need to re-watch it. I guess he’s upset about that and we were all going for the win, that’s what we’re supposed to be doing.”

How did the team continue to adjust on the car to make it better during the race?

“I’m disappointed I didn’t get them the win. I did everything I could do. We were good on the first restart and I thought we were going to have it and the second restart we were good and I thought we were going to have it again, and on the third cycle on the tires I just couldn’t go. Being in clean air I just couldn’t get the nose to cut and I couldn’t get the back to hook up and couldn’t go anywhere.”

How were the tires in the race?

“I can’t really comment too much on it because I never really have any of that. I don’t really know. We watched the race last night so I guess we knew it was coming.”

What happened at the end of the race?

“We were racing for the win and I thought the track was wide enough with how high people were running all the time. I had to drive in there and try to give him (Brad Keselowski) the slide job, absolutely. I was trying to watch both lanes and I was trying to win the race. I think that’s what all five of us were trying to do up there. It’s really disappointing we had to tear up all our cars afterwards -- by wrecking my car he wrecked the 88 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) and a couple other ones. I never think that’s very cool. Obviously, I could have gave him a little more room, but he had a lane all the way to the straightaway there and just racing hard. I feel bad for my Home Depot guys and Dollar General guys, they did a great job with our Camry tonight and at the end of the day I just didn’t get it done for them. I couldn’t hold them off.”

BRIAN VICKERS, No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing, finished 12th:

How did your car handle during the race?

“We had a really, really good long run car there once we got it right. We were just on the splitter way too hard at the beginning of the race. Once we got that up and got the car freed up we were really, really good and maybe the best car on the second to last run for sure. Billy (Scott, crew chief) and all the guys did a great job from where we started this race from being one of the worst cars to being one of the best. We just went too far with some of the adjustments there at the end and got back on the splitter and got too loose off and then we lost three spots on the pit stop. Track position really hurt us and it was hard to come back from that at the end of the race. Then it was just mayhem, but the Aaron’s Dream Machine Camry was really strong tonight at moments and really proud of that. Thought we had a chance to run down the leaders and get the win, but just wasn’t our night.”

CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 AAA Insurance Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing, finished last:

“It was on fire. What a bad night. I hate this for AAA. This is our first race with them and was really proud to have them on board with us tonight. It was just one thing after another and not a very good night.”

What happened with Kyle Larson at the start of the race?

“I really hate that happened. I really like Kyle (Larson) and I’m a big fan of his. Him and the 2 (Brad Keselowski) kind of spun the tires and I just got such a big run him when he moved up. Then I was like, ‘Okay, I guess I’m going to go to the bottom if you’re going to give me the bottom.’ Then at the last minute he arched it in and I just wasn’t ready for him. I tried to get on the brakes and just got into him. I’m so glad he didn’t hit the wall. I was afraid he hit the wall and ended his night. It certainly didn’t help it at all.”

Toyota Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Michael Waltrip , Brad Keselowski , Kyle Busch , Kyle Larson
Teams Michael Waltrip Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing , Toyota Racing
Article type Race report
Tags clint bowyer, denny hamlin, kyle busch, kyle larson, nascar, richmond, sprint cup, toyota