Kyle Busch took his No. 18 Z-Line Designs Camry to victory lane in Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. This was Busch's third Nationwide Series victory in a Toyota at the two-mile oval. This...
Kyle Busch took his No. 18 Z-Line Designs Camry to victory lane in Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
This was Busch's third Nationwide Series victory in a Toyota at the two-mile oval.
This victory was also the fifth consecutive win for both Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota at the track in the NNS.
Joey Logano (fifth), Steve Wallace (sixth), Brian Vickers (eighth) and Brian Scott (10th) also had top-10 finishes for Toyota in the 152-lap race.
Logano led the field five times for 130 laps.
Trevor Bayne (11th), Jason Leffler (14th), Michael Annett (17th), Brendan Gaughan (24th), David Reutimann (26th) and Kevin Lepage (40th) were also in the 300-mile race.
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Did you expect to be here in victory lane? "No. That's crazy. Do you believe that? That's some racing right there. That was pretty awesome. Man, I just can't say enough about these guys. We fought an ill-handling car in the beginning and worked on it all day. Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) never gave up. I never gave up, but this Z-Line Camry was just awesome. Pretty awesome to come out here to California and see a better crowd like that. We'd like to see more, of course, but really stick behind those guys and what they do for us. If they weren't pumped about that finish, I don't know what's going to get them pumped about for tomorrow."
Did it feel good to be on the other side of one of these close finishes? "It did. I feel for Joey (Logano). And, I didn't say it on TV, but I've been there -- I've had those. This is a testament to this team - the never give up attitude that we have. All teams have that, but this team demonstrates it. Ratcliff (Jason, crew chief) and the guys did an awesome job on this car. We started way off in the beginning and we got it a lot better for the end of the race. This Z-Line Camry was good. We just never really had what the 20 car (Joey Logano) had today, unfortunately. We'll go back to the drawing board and figure out why. Man, we won the race -- that's exciting. That was a very exciting run for the fans. I had no idea how it was going to turn out. When that happened in turn one -- I'm like 'Oh man, I got to get to the top.' I couldn't get to the top because (Greg) Biffle was on my outside and then we were three-wide -- then I was loose. Man, I don't know how we ended up not wrecking. It was exciting."
Did you have a plan for the final restart? "No. I had no idea. We went off into (turn) one and Joey (Logano) got loose and slid way across the race track and I had to turn underneath him and try to not get boxed in. And, then we went down the back and I was inside of (Greg) Biffle and I'm like, 'Man, I wish I was on the outside right now.' And we got into (turn) three and then (Brad) Keselowski put his nose in there and I thought we were going to wreck. Somehow we hold onto it and then down the front stretch I was so far up to Greg Biffle's butt -- I had a spoiler in the rear window. I knew I had to let him down before we got to turn one and get out from under him and I did that, but he still ended up getting a little bit loose so I was able to get on his inside. Man, it was exciting there coming to the finish."
Is Auto Club Speedway a special place for you with six national series victories at the track? "This is a neat race track. It's pretty wide and spread out where everybody gets away from each other for a bit. There at the end, it felt like the race track was really narrow there at the end of the race. It was exciting for us. Hopefully, it was exciting for the fans. What we were feeling in the race car was hopefully what the fans were feeling in the grandstands -- the excitement that came down there at the end. What a race. Joey (Logano) was just a dominant force all day. It's really a shame to see him kind of get messed up there -- I don't even know what happened but I think he got loose and we ended up getting by him. We raced down the backstretch with (Greg) Biffle and (Brad) Keselowski put his nose in there late getting into (turn) three, I thought we were going to wreck but we made it through there. Going down the front stretch, I pushed (Greg) Biffle down the front stretch just to get us down the front a little faster so we didn't have to battle anyone behind us and then he got a little loose getting into one and I was able to get by him there and race through (turns) three and four coming to the checkers side-by-side. We just barely edged it out -- it was nerve-wracking there for a little bit. I wasn't sure if we were going to be able to win it but we held it out just in the knick of time."
JASON RATCLIFF, Crew Chief, No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How did you see the race and the final few laps? "It looked good at the end. It looked like we were going to just finish second again. When the thing started, it wasn't where it needed to be. We struggled a little bit when we came off the truck, the car wasn't right. We made a lot of changes in practice and then when the race started we jumped the fence and had gone too far. We spent most of the race backing up on those adjustments trying to get the car tight and finally got it too tight. Still, even when the car was good we were a little off that 20 (Joey Logano) car, we were missing a little something. There at the end, I knew if we could stay close and keep the balance on the car good and keep him in track position we'd have a shot at it. You never know what can happen at the end on one of these things. Finally one went our way."
J.D. Gibbs, President, No. 18 Z -Line Designs Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What do you think about winning five in a row at California? "It's a little bittersweet with Joey (Logano). Anytime you get both of your guys running together, it's awesome to watch -- it's also nerve-wracking. Even with as good as they are, I think for us to come through that and then Kyle (Busch) on the last lap doing what he had to do to win the race is a big deal for us -- for Z-Line and Toyota. We're excited about that."
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 GameStop Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What happened in the closing laps? "I got hit, I don't know. We had an awesome race car that should have won the race. I don't know -- the 27 (Greg Biffle) decided to hit us again."
"I don't know what his (Greg Biffle) deal is with me, but for some reason in California he feels like putting me in the fence or hitting me towards the end. I know we were racing hard there at the end. I think he could have done it a little cleaner than that. Oh well, it was a good run for the GameStop Toyota. Obviously, we were the dominant car. I should have won it. It's tough after leading that many laps and you don't get a victory out of it."
STEVE WALLACE, No. 66 5-Hour Energy Toyota Camry, Rusty Wallace Racing
BRIAN VICKERS, No. 32 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Braun Racing
How strong was your race car today? "We were okay. We never were great. For the most part, we were probably the third best car, you know third or fourth best car. The 18 (Kyle Busch) and 20 (Joey Logano) were definitely hands down the best. We didn't really have much for those guys. There at the end we didn't take tires and probably should have. We lost a lot of spots because of it."
BRIAN SCOTT, No. 11 AccuDoc Toyota Camry, Braun Racing
How do you feel about your finish today? "It's a little bit bittersweet. Our AccuDoc Toyota was really good. We ran the top-five pretty much the whole race -- as high as second. At the end we were sixth when the last caution came out. There's always a lot of discussion, especially now here with how much tires are worth, whether you come in and take tires or you don't. We were sitting sixth and you never know. All the leaders fake low, then we were going to stay out and take track position to try to hold them off and then they all stayed out and we were kind of committed in staying out. We only had about a three car buffer before fresh tires, with Carl Edwards, I think he took two. I kind of thought then that it takes them a lap to get going. I think they had us cleared after the first corner. I was wrong there. We had a good finish, we had a good day finishing 10th. It's just a little upsetting that we didn't finish better after running better all day."
How's your wrist feeling? (Scott injured his wrist in a NCWTS accident at Michigan in June of last year.) "Unfortunately, my hand quit healing over the off -season when the doctors were under the impression that it was healing. Then they discovered it was too late to do anything about it before Daytona, it was like a week before Daytona. They figured out that it quit healing and surgery was the only thing that was going to get it back together. But, I need about -- depending on the doctor I talk to -- four to six to eight weeks to recover after surgery. Now, I'm just backed into a co rner. It's still broke, still sore. It's sore right now, it does hurt after a long race but you're driving the cars and especially here at California -- those last three laps are so exciting. You're adrenaline is going, you don't feel it then but I feel it when I get out. Basically, my only two options are, if enough doctors think I can recover after Vegas in that three or four week stretch, I'll do surgery then, if not then I'm going to have to wait until the end of the year and then get it operated on and be ready for 2011."
TREVOR BAYNE, No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Diamond Waltrip Racing
What was your race like today? "At the beginning of the race we were a little bit tight so we made some good adjustments there. We didn't ever get the front end turning any better but we just unhooked the rear where I could get it set in a little bit better. That was a good change. I wish we could have got the front end turning, but if not just unhook the back and let eat. We found the high line late after following Brendan Gaughan and Carl Edwards and a couple people that really ran the top well. That rocketed us towards the front. The middle run of the race we got on the top and ran down people in front of us by four-tenths of a lap. That was what set us apart in that center section of the race because we could make some moves to get up towards the front. That put us in position to get good pit stops and everything that followed late there. Very last stop, we were one of the first tires to pit for four tires and I thought we'd be digging to the front and I got trapped in the middle. The 88 (Kelly Bires) barely got his nose outside of us coming to the green flag and that just trapped us in the middle and we had to fight back. We got through turn two and had a big run but they got the high line and got back around us. We'll take an 11th-place finish, especially after coming out of Daytona. Our Aaron's Dream Machine is pretty in the garage, no marks on it so that's a good thing. We can make our cars better because they're not on a wrecker. We'll come back next week and try to do even better."
JASON LEFFLER, No. 38 Great Clips Toyota Camry, Braun Racing
MICHAEL ANNETT, No. 15 Pilot Travel Centers Toyota Camry, Germain Racing
BRENDAN GAUGHAN, No. 62 South Point Casino & Hotel Toyota Camry, Rusty Wallace Racing
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 10 Beringer Toyota Camry, Braun Racing
KEVIN LEPAGE, No. 56 Start Energy Drink Toyota Camry, Mac Hill Motorsports
-source: toyota motorsports