Las Vegas: Toyota teams race notes, quotes

Denny Hamlin (second) was the highest-finishing Toyota driver in Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Camry driver Brian Vickers finished fifth at the 1.5-mile track located north of Las Vegas. Trevor...

Denny Hamlin (second) was the highest-finishing Toyota driver in Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Camry driver Brian Vickers finished fifth at the 1.5-mile track located north of Las Vegas.

Trevor Bayne (sixth) earned his career-best NNS finish on Saturday. His previous best finish was seventh at O'Reilly Raceway Park near Indianapolis and Richmond International Raceway in 2009.

Camry drivers Steve Wallace (10th), Jason Leffler (12th) and Brendan Gaughan (13th) also earned top-15 finishes.

Toyota drivers Kyle Busch (16th), Brian Scott (31st), Michael Annett (33rd) and Chad Blount (40th) were also in the 300- mile race.


DENNY HAMLIN, No. 20 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finished: 2nd

Did you have anything for race-winner Kevin Harvick the last few laps? "Those four tires got us there at the end. We were coming there to him (Kevin Harvick) at the end, but don't be mistaken -- congratulations to all this Interstate Batteries team for putting a good car under me. That's for sure. We didn't have the best car all day. I felt like we had the best car at the beginning of the race but we didn't have the track position to go with it. Once we had the track position it took off but then those new tires got us there at the end."

What happened on that last restart? "I tried to drive in as hard as I could but I wasn't risking tearing this Interstate Batteries car up. We never got on the same cycle as those guys. Those new tires, Kevin (Harvick) had a good car for most of the day. We fought track position. As soon as we'd get to someone we'd just get aero-tight. Overall, it was a good d ay. I started running back to them there at the end. We have something to at least build on."

Can you talk about your race? "We were pretty good at the beginning. I felt like we had the best car at the beginning. We would run down Kyle (Busch). He was really hard to pass at the very beginning. I'd run him down and it made it kind of difficult to pass. Kevin (Harvick) would fade after about 20, 25 laps or so, but he had a ton of speed until that point. That's what really helped him out there at the end. He had so much speed at the beginning of the run and we didn't have enough to get him."


BRIAN VICKERS, No. 32 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Braun Racing
Finished: 5th

How was your race today? "It was an okay race. We ran well, we had a shot to get up there and race for the win. The pit strategy, the rain, the whole situation was kind of -- when we needed the position the most, we didn't have it. We lost a lot of it, we lost more of it when my window net came down. My window net came down and I lost a few spots coming down and I lost a few spots trying to get it back up under green so it was kind of a mess."

Did the weather play a role in your race? "The track picked up a little bit. The lines moved around a little bit more once we got into night. It changed some but not a lot. It was pretty much the same for anyone."


TREVOR BAYNE, No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Diamond Waltrip Racing
Finished: 6th

How was your race today? "Pretty awesome, man. I'm pumped up. Good deal -- good momentum for this team. We said we want to get better every week and we've done that, so far. And if we continue to do that every week we'll be in victory lane before too long. Before we get ahead of ourselves, we just got to race every weekend. We got to go to the next track and be prepared. We gained a lot in our Monday morning meeting last week and we have to do the same this week. Just keep getting better and better and better."

How big of a role does your pit crew play in your success? "These guys are awesome. Pit road was unbelievable -- right there with all the best of the best. I couldn't ask for anything better. Jerry Baxter (crew chief) is doing a great job of adapting to my style of driving. It's hard when you have five different drivers like last year. This year, we have one driver and one team. I think track position was a big thing. We took two tires and that got us in track position so we could hold them off -- because when you're back about 10th you can't make any position on those top-10 cars. That was a big step in our race to get us up in track position."


STEVE WALLACE, No. 66 5-Hour Energy Toyota Camry, Rusty Wallace Racing
Finished: 10th

How does it feeling picking up another top-10 finish? "Another top-10 -- the third in a row. It was another good point's day. We had a lot better car here than we had last week, that's for sure. We had a really consistent car -- it consistently handled good. But, we just couldn't ever just get it perfect. I either start too loose and at the end of the run I'd still be loose, or I'd start loose and I'd get a little tight. So, couldn't ever get the car exactly where I wanted it, but we got it close many times. There towards the end -- we should have finished eighth, but we got passed by two cars over the last three or four laps. I started sliding my right front off of turn four pretty hard and that's where they were beating me. Another top-10. We'll just have to keep chipping away at this thing. We're for sure a lot better off now than we were last year -- that's for sure. We keep chipping away at it and we'll get better every week."

Are you pleased with the start to your season? "For sure -- 100 percent. We've got three top-10s in a row there and we might have gained a couple of spots in the points. We'll go to Bristol -- and that's one of my favorite race tracks. I can get around that joint pretty good."


JASON LEFFLER, No. 38 Great Clips Toyota Camry, Braun Racing
Finished: 12th

BRENDAN GAUGHAN, No. 62 South Point Casino & Hotel Toyota Camry, Rusty Wallace Racing
Finished: 13th

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finished: 16th


BRIAN SCOTT, No. 11 Toyota Camry, Braun Racing
Finished: 31st

What happened on the race track? "I think it was obvious we were having a good day. Our Toyota was really fast. The only hiccup all day was just a bad pit stop and we were overcoming it and we were back on track and back in the top-10. We just got caught up in a racing incident. It was my fault for putting myself in the position. You don't normally expect people to race you that hard with that many laps still to go and hold you down but ultimately I put myself there, I was behind the wheel. We were fast and I hate that a fast race car is tore up now, especially for those guys that have worked so hard since January getting stuff ready for Daytona and the season. I hate that they have to go back to the shop and in addition to getting ready for the rest of the races, they have to fix a fast, tore up race car."


MICHAEL ANNETT, No. 15 Pilot Travel Centers Toyota Camry, Germain Racing
Finished: 33rd

CHAD BLOUNT, No. 10 Toyota Camry, Braun Racing
Finished: 40th

-source: toyota motorsports

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About this article
Drivers Rusty Wallace , Jason Leffler , Kevin Harvick , Chad Blount , Trevor Bayne , Brendan Gaughan , Brian Vickers , Denny Hamlin , Michael Annett , Brian Scott , Steve Wallace , Kyle Busch
Teams Germain Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing