TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Post-Race Notes & Quotes Martinsville Speedway — April 3, 2011
Kyle Busch (third) was the highest-finishing Toyota driver in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Martinsville Speedway.
Camry drivers Busch (151 laps), Denny Hamlin (89 ) and Kasey Kahne (one) led laps in today’s 500-lap race at the half-mile Virginia race track.
Hamlin (12th), Joey Logano (13th), David Reutimann (15th) and Brian Vickers (17th) also earned top-20 finishes.
Other Camry drivers in the field included Bobby Labonte (27th), Michael McDowell (32nd), Casey Mears (36th), Kahne (39th), Martin Truex Jr. (40th), Mike Skinner (42nd) and Joe Nemechek (43rd).
Busch gained three positions to the take the lead in the unofficial NSCS point standings with his third-place finish — his career-best result at Martinsville Speedway.
Other Toyota drivers in the top-20 in the unofficial NSCS point standings after six of 36 races include Kahne (15th), Truex (17th) and Hamlin (19th).
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Pedigree Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 3rd How did your car handle today? “We just didn’t have a short run car today. Unfortunate because we had a great Camry — it was awesome. Really, really good on the long runs. Just wasn’t a long run race there at the end.”
Did you think you had a chance to pass Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the final laps? “They (Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr.) were getting after it and I gained on them and got there. Just not enough time. We had made the car better, just not better enough.”
How was your race today? “It was really good. We had one of the best runs here we’ve ever had. Probably had the best car here today and unfortunately just didn’t win with it. Came down to the last run of the race there and it was kind of a short run. We just didn’t have the car to do it on a short run. Every time we had the lead off pit road we lost it. It took about 28 laps to get going again. I think the last run was about 28 laps and that’s when I started catching those guys a little bit. They were racing, they were battling, but we did get back up to them. Probably would have had something to beat them with, just can’t find speed here at Martinsville when it matters most.”
Was Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s pass fair at the end? “Yeah, I was holding him up. I sucked so it was good for him. He took the lead and no harm, no foul.”
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 12th What do you need to do moving forward? “There’s a lot of things. I would agree with Mike (Ford, crew chief) — our fuel mileage was like our pit stops. Everybody knows how those were. It was a tough day in that sense. We had a good car. We didn’t have a great car. It seems like when the track did collect a little bit of rubber there, our car fell off just a little bit. It was all about track position today. Those guys who came out of the pits in the front had a big advantage.”
Do you need to make changes in your pit crew? “We need to work on who we’re going to have change tires for us I guess, I don’t know. Things like that, it’s pretty tough. Especially mid-season. You’ve got chemistry and stuff that you’ve got to deal with, but at this point you either work with what you’ve got or try to find someone that maybe can do a better job. You just don’t know right now and we don’t know what to do. As far as fuel mileage and that results and is the key to our bad finish so again, just go to TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and figure out why we’re getting such bad mileage. We had to stop a little bit before those guys and ultimately put us in a bad spot when the caution came out.”
Were you surprised that Kevin Harvick won the race? “I think the track went through a transition. Eventually the tires did put some rubber down on the track and that’s where you saw the transition of guys that were probably good at the beginning weren’t as good at the end. That’s why you saw the shift of cars towards the front I think.”
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing (continued) How disappointed are you with this finish? “It’s disappointing for sure. We’re going to another good track next week for us. We have to get rolling. We have to get some good, solid finishes. At this point, I’m just happy we finished the race being everything that’s going on. We’re making slow and steady progress I guess.”
Is the fuel mileage connected to your other engine issues? “No, our mileage just sucks real bad. It sucked at Phoenix and it sucks here. We just have to figure it out. All of the things we need to do to be a championship team