Toyota NSCS Phoenix Post-Qualifying Notes & Quotes


KASEY KAHNE, No. 4 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Starting Position: 3rd Could you be someone to beat in Sunday’s race? “We had a really good lap there. I was real happy with it. I got into turn one and two, through the center I was kind of waiting for it to get a little loose and it never did. I felt like I got back in the throttle a little bit late. I felt like I should have gone a little bit quicker, but still we ran a .25 and are starting top-three. That’ll be a great spot for tomorrow. We felt like our Red Bull Toyota was fast yesterday in practice in race practice so I feel like in tomorrow’s race we’ll have a good shot at staying, holding our position and racing with those guys. It’s going to be tough because everybody is pretty good. It’ll be tough, but Carl (Edwards) had a really good lap there and just barely pulled it off.”

How much did starting with Red Bull at the end of 2010 help you get ready for this year? “I think it was good. I felt like Homestead we qualified first and ran sixth in the race. Kind of closed off the season pretty well. The guys have worked really hard during the offseason to prepare better cars than we had at that point. Kenny Francis (crew chief) always does a great job. This is probably one of my worst tracks as far as my finishes go and the way I feel at this track when I race. We put a lot into it and we did some short track testing. The first lap I made yesterday, I knew we had a car and had a good chance to run strong this weekend. It goes to the Red Bull guys for working hard and prepared.”
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Is this your time to shine with this team? “I feel like it can be a really good team. I knew it going in. As soon as we started putting the whole deal together with Red Bull and Kenny Francis (crew chief) coming and being a part of it and a lot of the guys I’ve worked with in the past. A lot of the Red Bull guys and what they have, and the experience they have, it’s been really good. We’ve been putting it all together as a big team and it should be strong. Having Brian Vickers as a teammate will definitely be beneficial for everyone as well. I just look forward to the whole season. Phoenix is a good spot to get started. It’s one of my worst tracks if you look at finishes, so if we can run well here and go to Vegas, be strong we’ll get off to a good start — that’d be great.”

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Combos Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 4th How was your qualifying run? “We’ve been good here and just came up a little bit short there. I think it was more driver than it was car. The car was pretty good. It felt really good like yesterday. I just didn’t quite have enough there. It’s real, real tight up front. The least little slip means a lot.”

JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 6th Are you happy with your qualifying lap? “I feel like my Home Depot Toyota is pretty good. We sat down this morning and tried to come up with a game plan for our lap there and I changed up my driving style a little bit. It seemed to work alright. We’re close, it stinks when you are that close — if you could find a little bit more if you needed it. I probably wouldn’t and would’ve ended up overdriving it and going slower. It’s a good starting spot for us and hopefully get a good pit box. Pit boxes here are probably a bigger deal than qualifying spots.” -more-

LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing (continued) Why do you think speeds were higher here in qualifying compared to last fall? “It got a little overcast so you get to see the speeds up and higher this year. Quite a bit better than last fall. You’re going to see the speeds up, but I feel like our Home Depot Camry is pretty good. It was a pretty good lap and definitely a good pickup from what we had in practice. The guys did a good job getting this thing ready for me. We’re close, we just have to find a little bit more.”

What do you like about this race track? “I love this place. I think it’s neat. I struggled the first couple of times we came here, but once you kind of figure out what it takes to go fast around here it’s a blast. It’s a lot of fun to go down turn one and use a lot of brake, try to roll speed and then in (turn) three and four it’s completely opposite. You’re using hardly any brake and just about three different ways you can go through over there. It all depends on how your car is. It’s a fun track. It’s a driver’s track because you can really change your handling by what you do out there.”

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Starting Position: 7th Are you happy with your qualifying results? “The guys on the NAPA Toyota worked really, really hard yesterday. We unloaded first practice and we were really far off. Pretty much changed everything on the car between practices. I’m real proud of them for the work, the efforts they did to turn around the car. We talked all winter and we feel really good about this year. We’re very excited. I’m excited about my team and what we were able to do at the end of last season. This shows what we can do. From where we unloaded yesterday, that’s a huge accomplishment for these guys. We’ll keep working hard and hopefully we’ll have a good day tomorrow.”

Will weather tonight affect tomorrow’s race? “It’ll be different if it does rain but 50, 60 laps in will go right back to where it was yesterday. This is big league racing, if you can’t adapt then you have to find something else to do.”

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 12th Has your team gotten the fuel situation figured out after last fall at Phoenix? “Yeah, I think so. I think we’ve got a better grip on it surely than what we had here in the fall. I’m proud of this whole FedEx Freight team. We’ve worked hard these last couple days to get this car tuned in, and really was never was way off in any point. We didn’t make a qualifying run in the final practice session yesterday so kind of unexpected to see what we were going to have until today.”

What do you think your team learned from the race at Phoenix last fall? “Obviously, my passion for one thing. You look at the video of me after the race and you wouldn’t think we’d still be leading the points, but it was just the passion because I knew that I let a big opportunity slip away from us in the sense of we could’ve gone to Homestead and just kind of rode around and collected a championship. For me, it was just my passion. It’s always been in me — the competitiveness has always been in me and it will never change.”

How were you able to put Phoenix last fall behind you? “I think just getting in the offseason — getting away from racing for a little while definitely helps a lot. And then when you look back at it and I look back at it, it was a heck of a career year for myself. That’s something that can’t be overlooked because it’s the best I’ve ever performed throughout my career — my young career. I’ve only been around this team, me and this team, for five year. We’ve accomplished a lot of things that a lot of guys never will. So, for me, I just look forward and try and figure out how we can progress and get to number one.” -more-

BRIAN VICKERS, No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Starting Position: 19th How did your car handle? “The guys did a really good job. We came here with the two cars setup differently trying two different things. In practice we worked on it and it wound up that it seemed like the 4 (Kasey Kahne) was a little bit better than us. We weren’t bad, but it seemed like they were a little bit better so we went in that direction and it was great. The guys did a great job getting that car swapped over. The best it’s been so I think we’re going to stick with that for the race.”

How did it feel to get back in a race car at Daytona? “It sucked being in a crash, but it felt fantastic getting back in a race car. It felt so good. I can’t tell you how happy I was to be back.”

BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Clorox Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Starting Position: 21st How was your car in qualifying? “We were a little bit free in qualifying, but we made some changes from yesterday. Obviously with the weather different, making a lap today is a little different. We picked up some speed over yesterday. Obviously going out early like we did because we didn’t have a fast lap yesterday. All in all, I think we made headway on it. This was my first time qualifying with these guys on a track other than Daytona. I know we are going to learn a lot of things quickly, like things I might like and stuff like that. We still are learning stuff as we go. I’m excited that we got a little bit better.”

Will weather tonight affect tomorrow’s race? “I do believe the track surface will change, but it will come back. It’ll take a while to come back maybe about 50 laps into the race it will be kind of like it is right now.”

DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Best Western Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 26th How was your qualifying lap? “It was a little bit tight the second lap where we should’ve been faster so it cost us a lot of time there. That wasn’t a very good lap. I think it’s okay in race trim, I hope it’s okay.”

CASEY MEARS, No. 13 GEICO Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Starting Position: 27th

JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 NEMCO Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Starting Position: 32nd

MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 66 HP Racing LLC Toyota Camry, PRISM Motorsports Starting Position: 34th

LANDON CASSILL, No. 60 Big Red Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Starting Position: 37th

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


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