Toyota NSCS Talladega qualifying: Notes and Quotes

Brian Vickers: "I think it’s by far better qualifying than we’ve ever seen at superspeedways ever in the history of the sport."

BRIAN VICKERS, No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing (Starting Position: 18th)

What was your opinion of this style of qualifying at Talladega? “It was interesting. It was definitely more exciting than what we normally go through. The Aaron’s Dream Machine team did a great job. We had a good car and I know we did really good in the first session and probably missed it a little bit in the second and just picking the right time to go full throttle basically. It’s all about catching the right draft at the right time and being with the right group of guys. It’s a tough situation and it’s interesting. I think it’s by far better qualifying than we’ve ever seen at superspeedways ever in the history of the sport. It didn’t work out for us this time, but it could just as easily work out for us next time.”

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Pretzel Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing (Starting Position: 19th)

MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing (Starting Position: 21st)

What did you think of the new qualifying format today? “It was a little bit of goat rope. It was kind of interesting to watch everybody run. It was just hard to predict. The first session worked out okay. The second one I just got going there in that last group and they let the first two groups get too far away and we didn’t have enough dirty air to catch anybody. So, you only get one shot at it once the field thins out which we learned.”

Was qualifying as entertaining as you expected it to be? “Yeah, that first round was. There was a lot going on because there was so many people out there. There were a few cars that had to make it by time and the group was so big. The second session was just you better make sure you’re in that line to get started where you need to be in that group because you don’t get a second chance. The second one went quick and the third one goes even quicker. You’ll have to get it right away or you’re not going to get it.”

How much different is it going through the qualifying process at Talladega compared to other tracks? “Yes. It is totally different. It’s just as different as normal racing to plate racing.”

Do you like this new format? “I hate using the word boring because I think all racing is interesting, but there wasn’t anything more boring than watching single car qualifying at Talladega. So, from that aspect I think having group qualifying is something to watch, something interesting, something for people to pay attention I think is a great idea. Single car qualifying is 100 percent about the car, but at least here you’ve got some strategies and you can mess around a little bit and try to hold back and do stuff like that.”

RYAN TRUEX, No. 83 VooDoo BBQ & Grill Toyota Camry, BK Racing (Starting Position: 24th)

CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing (Starting Position: 27th)

What did you think of qualifying? “It was fine just didn’t get the right situation. It is what it is. I didn’t want to put a lot of emphasis on it because you really shouldn’t. The only thing I didn’t want to do was go out there and wreck you know what I mean -- tear your car up. Aside from that I’m fine and looking forward to the race.”

MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 66 BlueDEF Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing (Starting Position: 28th)

How strong is your car for the race? “My Toyota is really strong and it’s a fast car. We just didn’t execute that session as well as we could have. I had some damage on the right front because of just going for it. I had a small hole I needed to get in and evidently it fit, but barely. We were lucky not to blow the tire and fortunate that we’re in the race and looking forward to moving up tomorrow. My hat’s off to TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and all the folks at Toyota because they’ve given me a really strong car and the boys at Michael Waltrip Racing for tuning it up for me.”

COLE WHITT, No. 26 Scorpyd Crossbows Toyota Camry, BK Racing (Starting Position: 31st)

ALEX BOWMAN, No. 23 Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing (Starting Position: 33rd)

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing (Starting Position: 34th)

How was your qualifying effort? “It was horrible. To try to organize something -- it doesn’t work. We ended up out front at Daytona just kind of doing our own thing, but trying to organize something here it just doesn’t work. You’ve got to just go out there and do the best you can for yourself.

Did you have trouble working with other drivers? “The line that we formed was just not fast. You’ve got to go out there and suck up on other cars so it’s part of it.”

How will your starting spot affect tomorrow’s race? “It won’t make any difference. You can go to the lead in five laps from where we’re at. If you get the pole that’s great and if not pit stall selection and all of that stuff really doesn’t matter that much. We’ll just go on for Sunday.”

Are you comfortable with this type of qualifying for restrictor-plate races? “I think it’s okay. There was some exciting moments with guys slowing up and guys that are trying to make runs, but other than that I thought it was fine. It really kind of looks like a practice out there.”

JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 Royal Teak Collection Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports (Starting Position: DNQ)

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Brian Vickers
Teams Michael Waltrip Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing , BK Racing , Toyota Racing , NEMCO Motorsports
Article type Qualifying report
Tags alex bowman, brian vickers, clint bowyer, cole whitt, denny hamlin, joe nemechek, kyle busch, matt kenseth, michael waltrip, nascar-cup, ryan truex, talladega