TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Post-Qualifying Notes & Quotes Martinsville Speedway

1st, Denny Hamlin 2nd, Marcos Ambrose 8th, David Reutimann 14th, Scott Speed 16th, Martin Truex Jr. 20th, Casey Mears 22nd, Joey Logano 26th, Kyle Busch 30th, Landon Cassill 33rd, Kasey Kahne 37th, Joe Nemechek 41st, Kevin Conway DNQ, Robby Gordon DNQ, Terry Cook DNQ, Johnny Sauter

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position:  1st Do you feel like it paid off to work on qualifying in today’s practice session? “Hopefully it’s a good thing.  We haven’t had our car in race trim yet.  I feel like we have a good baseline setup for here, obviously so we decided today that we were just going to focus on qualifying knowing that the corner pit stall is very, very critical here at Martinsville.  I love it when a plan comes together.” How nerve-wracking was it to watch the final cars take their qualifying laps? “I beat a hole through every cabinet and door in the front of the hauler.  The 24 (Jeff Gordon) had a good shot at us and the 16 (Greg Biffle) had a great shot at us getting into turn three on their last lap.  I wasn’t wishing bad luck, but I was just like, ‘Slip, slip, slip, slip.’  It came true for us.  I’m proud of this whole FedEx team.  We’ve had to work extra hard today because we have worked just on qualifying.  Kudos to them for working hard today and obviously tomorrow as well.” Are you pleased to have the number one pit stall for Sunday’s race? “It’s the biggest thing and this is only the first or second race we’ve had all year that we’ve actually just worked on qualifying on Friday.  I know the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) does that a lot and they typically out qualify us every single week.  This is the first time for us doing that and obviously we executed really well today.  Object one is accomplished and we just have to move on and change our mindset from here on out to what’s going to make our car last for 500 laps.” Have there been any changes related to pit stops at your team? “No, we’ve kept the same core group of guys for the last four years really of my career and really these are the same guys that I was probably complaining about earlier in my career.  They’ve just hit their stride and I think we’ve had the chemistry for so long now.  Even though we have strings of two or three bad weeks in a row where we had bad pit stops early in my career – we just figured that we had the right group of guys.  It’s just the chemistry and we needed to work on that part of it.  It seemed like it got better.  It definitely would from our standpoint.  If we were struggling in that area, a change like that would be open.  The 18 (Kyle Busch) car has got great pit stops every single week and they’re one of the best on pit road.  My guys have really stepped up big time in the last six months or so.  Keeping them together paid off instead of the changing like we were thinking about doing years ago.” Do you plan to keep your confidence up throughout the race tomorrow after sitting on the pole? “I forgot the last time I had a pole – I don’t get very many of them and it seems like I would remember.  We know here is a completely different beast than Atlanta or one of those tracks.  We know that when we do qualify on the pole, our car is really strong because we typically don’t qualify very well.  We always seem to race well.  It feels good to set out a plan and execute it.   We set it out days ago and said that we won’t even worry about what happens in race trim on Friday and just worry about getting that number one pit stall.  That’s optimistic being that you’re going up against 42 of the best guys in the country, but when you’re able to execute it like we are and like we’ve done, it gives you a lot of confidence.”

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing (continued) Was getting the pole here today phase one of your plan for the final five races? “Odds are that the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) isn’t going to stay where he’s at and the 29 (Kevin Harvick) isn’t going to stay where he’s at so that gap is going to close.  All we can do is try to win.  I feel like it’s going to be much easier coming from first.   We’re going to be able to be much easier on our equipment throughout the day where I’ve started back where those guys are before and you really have to use up a lot of your race car and sometimes you don’t have anything left by the time you get up front.  It’s going to be much easier on us starting there.  We can kind of set the tone, hopefully lead a lap early and obviously try to keep everyone behind us because the more we lead, the less for those other guys.” Will you have more left in your car at the end by starting up front? “I think it’s just because I’ve saved so much and I did a lot at Richmond earlier this year.  It’s about conserving equipment and I do feel like I’m good at saving brakes and things like that.  Parts have gotten so reliable on these cars nowadays – the brake packages and everything that guys are really hammering them and running as hard as they can each and every lap and they still have something left.  I think it’s a great start to the weekend and people might read into where Jimmie’s (Johnson) starting and where Kevin’s (Harvick) starting and where I’m starting, but we know as soon as the green flag drops those guys are going to be coming.” What is pit road like at Martinsville? “There’s about three good pit stalls.  What’s good for us is that hopefully the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) gets to pick a pit stall and he won’t have ones that work out for timing lines because a lot of guys here cheat pit road quite a bit in the sense that they’ll gas the cars up.  They know where the timing lines are so they’ll cheat where they are on pit road to work those timing lines.   Hopefully those good timing line pit stalls where guys cheat that will be gone by the time those guys get to pick a stall.  That will help us pretty much all day.  Hopefully we stay up front then we should have nobody in front of us when we’re going into pit road and obviously no one when we’re leaving because the number one pit stall.  It’s going to be important for us.  That was our biggest thing.  I think the 11th pit stall out there was the second-best one.  We wanted to be one of those two spots.”

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MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 47 Dollar General Country Million Sweepstakes Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Starting Position:  2nd How has your short track program evolved? “We’ve had a great short track program all year and we’ve been looking forward to coming here to Martinsville.  It’s been a good day for us.  Started off pretty loose – had a little spin there early in practice, but we got lucky and didn’t hit anything.   Switched over to qualifying trim and really it was a good lap – I didn’t think it was going to be as good as the front row, but we’ll take it.” Do you feel like you run a separate race from the Chase contenders? “I’m excited to be on the front row and I’m going to try to stay there as long as I can.  There haven’t been as many opportunities as I would like to be at the front of the field so I’m going to try to take advantage of it.  At the end of the day I have to be mindful of who I’m racing around.  I appreciate the sport and if you’ve made the Chase you deserve to fight it out for the championship without a guy doing the wrong thing by you.  I’m mindful of who I’m around at the same time I’m racing my own race.” Why do road course racers do well at Martinsville? “I’m not sure I can answer that for you.  I’ve run well at Bristol and here – those are two good tracks for me.  Richmond I finished fifth as well.  I feel like in my case, our short track program has been strong and we’ve been able to take advantage of it.  I’m frustrated with my performances on the intermediate ovals so that is really my Achilles heel I guess if you like.  I feel like we’re running as well as we should, but then deserve to be with our team here – it’s nice to highlight it, it’s just a shame we can’t be more consistent with that.  Road racing guys, it doesn’t feel like a road race course to me, this place is very tricky to get around.  You have to run the car pretty loose getting in the corner and you have to trail brake – different to what I do in a road course so I don’t think there are a lot of similarities between them.”

DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position:  8th How was your qualifying lap? “We were okay.  Just a little tight on throttle.  The guys did a good job.  Both of our mock runs we were really, really good and that was the first time it had been tight on exit all day.  Little confused as to why it did that.  All in all, hopefully it will hold up to be a decent lap.”

SCOTT SPEED, No. 82 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Starting Position:  14th How did your car handle during your qualifying laps? “We gave a little bit up on our first timed lap – we should have been better, but I didn’t have enough rear traction off of turn four and I just kind of had a big drift all the way to the start-finish line.  I think I lost a couple hundredths.  The second lap I was just conservative and put together a good, solid lap.  Hopefully it will hold up solid for us.”

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position:  16th How did you feel about your car in qualifying? “It wasn’t what we were looking for, but it was better than practice.  We were fighting a lot of things.  This is a tough little place to get around.  It’s small and flat and it looks simple, but it’s really hard to get the car balanced good in all three parts of the corner – entry, center and exit.  We’ve  been complete opposites in all three corners today so we’ve been kind of battling it.   First lap was okay, but it was a little on the free side and the second lap the right-rear couldn’t hang in there anymore and just chattered out from under me.  Of course you lose three or four tenths in every corner when it does that so the second lap – you usually pick up on the second lap if you get things right, but the right-rear tire just couldn’t hold on that long.  Little disappointed, but at the same time it was faster than we ran in practice and a lot of guys slowed down.  Look at the positives and work hard on it tomorrow.”

CASEY MEARS, No. 13 GEICO Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Starting Position:  20th

JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 GameStop Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position:  22nd

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position:  26th

LANDON CASSILL, No. 64 Little Joe’s Auto Toyota Camry, Gunselman Motorsports Starting Position:  30th

KASEY KAHNE, No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Starting Position:  33rd

JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Starting Position:  37th

KEVIN CONWAY, No. 7 Extenze Toyota Camry, Robby Gordon Motorsports Starting Position:  41st

ROBBY GORDON, No. 07 Extenze Toyota Camry, Robby Gordon Motorsports Starting Position:  DNQ

TERRY COOK, No. 55 Toyota Camry, PRISM Motorsports Starting Position:  DNQ

JOHNNY SAUTER, No. 66 Toyota Camry, PRISM Motorsports Starting Position:  DNQ

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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