Darlington Raceway 500
• Kahne started from the pole in tonight’s race, marking the first pole for Toyota in NSCS competition this season.
• Denny Hamlin (sixth) and Martin Truex Jr. (10th) also earned top-10 results for Toyota in tonight’s 500-mile race.
• Other Camry drivers in the field included Kyle Busch (11th), David Reutimann (16th), Bobby Labonte (18th), Casey Mears (30th), Brian Vickers (34th), Joey Logano (35th), T.J. Bell (38th), Mike Skinner (40th), Joe Nemechek (42nd) and Michael McDowell (43rd).
• Busch remains third in the unofficial NSCS point standings following Darlington, and is now 39 points behind leader Carl Edwards.
• Other Toyota drivers in the top-20 in the unofficial NSCS point standings after 10 of 36 races include Kahne (15th), Hamlin (16th) and Truex (20th).
Are you disappointed you didn’t win the race tonight? “It’s good for -- I hit the wall once and I hit it really hard so I screwed up the right side and we had to work on it after that. The guys did a good job of keeping me upfront with pit stops and kept working on the car to make it as good as we could. I’m a little disappointed with fourth, disappointed with myself, but other than that the Red Bull team was awesome. The car was great. Qualifying first helped a ton tonight -- having that first pit stall tonight.”
What happened to your race car? “When I was leading I hit the wall and killed the crush panels in the back. It ruined the rear of the car and then it didn’t turn as good either so that killed us for a while. The team did a great job with pit stops and just kept working on our Red Bull Toyota to get it better. I think we were a top two car probably minus the strategy there at the end. That was pretty good for as hard as it hit -- that was pretty good.”
The guys did a good job of keeping me upfront with pit stops and kept working on the car...
How much momentum does this finish give your team? “We started pretty decent this year and then it seemed like these last couple we’ve been really good again. We have Dover and Charlotte and some good tracks for us so we should be capitalizing on some points and get back to where we need to be.”
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 6th
How was your race tonight? “We had a bad car at the beginning and we fought. I pounded the wall on the second lap. We fought to get it back. We got the car pretty good there at the end. We finished sixth and that’s about what car we had most of the day. We’ll take that.
Still trying to build points right now so we have to be a little bit conservative.”
Are you disappointed with your finish? “To finish sixth and be disappointed -- that’s a good thing I feel like. We have a lot to build on. The good thing is that we’re having smooth races now and nothing is really catastrophically going on.”
What was your strategy at the end of the race? “We did tires just like everyone else. We were ahead of Regan (Smith) and Brad (Keselowski) and those guys. We told ourselves that we were going to stay out and then at the last minute we decided to pit. It looked like staying out was the call to make. Still it’s a solid day and we needed a good points day.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Finishing Position: 10th
How was your race tonight? “I am so happy for my NAPA guys. They’ve been through a lot this week and did a great job for me in the pits. I feel awful for spinning out. It was my fault. I’m just glad we were able to race our way back to 10th. I knew we could do it because my NAPA team has been giving me good cars all year. We just haven’t been getting the results to show for it. I’ll take this top-10 -- this team deserves it.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Doublemint Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 11th
Can you talk us through what happened between yourself and Kevin Harvick? “It was tight racing after the restart there. (Kevin) Harvick is up there on the top a little bit loose and I had a run and I gave him room -- he kind of came up off the wall. That’s kind of a bad angle, obviously (watching the replay). He lifted early to let me go into turn three and I thought it was all good. Then he drives into the back of me there. He made my car loose all the way through the exit and just made a run for those two guys to get back on my inside. Then obviously Clint (Bowyer) wrecked bouncing off of Harvick. Just uncalled for and just unacceptable racing. It’s in the last couple laps, but I gave him room off of two and I didn’t get the room. Just real unfortunate. We tore up a few good cars there. Our Doublemint Camry was so good today that we should have ran up front and we should have finished up front, but we kind of got marred back in traffic there. Tried to fight our way back forward. It was a really, good clean night and I probably passed the most cars tonight, but there was one I couldn’t pass.”
Have you been asked to go to the NASCAR trailer? “Yeah, no big deal, that’s fine. Good to hash it out now -- might as well.”
What happened in the closing laps of the race? “So we were racing there on the last couple laps through one and two and I was following Ryan Newman on the bottom side. He was on the inside of (Kevin) Harvick coming off of turn two. It seemed like Harvick got a little loose or slipped or something and tried to protect himself from the wall. Came off of turn two really shallow and he left about four feet between himself and the outside wall off of two. I was on his inside at that point and underneath the white line trying to give him room and we made contact off of two and as we raced down the backstretch we touched again. Getting into turn three Harvick lifted early and then he throttled back up or let off the brake or something and hit me getting into turn three and pushed me going through the corner there where I got loose and was trying to protect my spot and getting back to the gas. I was really slow off the corner where Harvick and (Clint) Bowyer got back to my inside at the exit. As we came off the corner all three of us made contact and it got real tight. Bowyer spun out, obviously and got into the inside wall and Harvick and I -- we couldn’t really get away from each other and he ended up spinning at the end of the frontstretch.”
As we came off the corner all three of us made contact and it got real tight.
What happened between you and Kevin Harvick on pit road at the end of the race? “After the race I was just kind of cooling down and talking to Dave (Rogers, crew chief) on the radio about that I wanted to talk to him in the hauler about something and I see the (Kevin) Harvick car -- the 29 come up flying up on my inside through three and four. Instead of going to pit road I thought he was going to force me into the inside of the pit road wall so I gave myself a little bit of room and turned up to go back up onto the race track like I would for another cool down lap and he followed me. When he pulled up next to me, I tried to back up. I put my car in reverse and tried to back up and I blew reverse out of the transmission. I tried to back up too fast and the transmission gears are so light that they can’t take that kind of abuse. Blew reverse out so then I had to pull forward and kind of do a U-turn to get back to pit road. I was just trying to get away from the situation with Harvick and unfortunately he got to pit road before me so I pulled in behind him. He let the 47 (Bobby Labonte) go, but I knew if I tried to turn left or right he was going to run into me or block me or something. I just stayed behind him, I was just going to sit there, not worry about it and let him cool his head for a second and let him figure out that we just need to go back to the garage area. Instead of him doing that, he wanted to get out of his car I guess and wanted to fight. I knew that wasn’t going to be a good situation and when I saw him getting out of his car, I knew it wasn’t going to be a good situation. My choices were limited, I was either going to get punched in the face and then wait for Harvick to get back in his car for me to go or just drive through his car and push it out of the way so I could get out of there and try not to get hit or anything like that. I made a judgment call there and it wasn’t one of the best choices that I had, but I pushed his car out of the way on pit road and unfortunately there was men walking down pit road. I hate it that somebody could have gotten hurt, but I was just trying to get away from it and get back to my hauler and go on with my own business.”
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron’s Outdoors Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 16th
BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Lance / Tom’s Snacks Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Finishing Position: 18th
CASEY MEARS, No. 13 GEICO Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Finishing Position: 30th
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 35th
TJ BELL, No. 50 Little Joe’s Autos Toyota Camry, Gunselman Motorsports Finishing Position: 38th
MIKE SKINNER, No. 60 Big Red Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Finishing Position: 40th
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 NEMCO Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 42nd
MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 66 Racehp.com Toyota Camry, PRISM Motorsports Finishing Position: 43rd
-source: toyota motorsports