Toyota NSCS Charlotte All-Star & Showdown Qualifying Quotes

TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) All-Star & Showdown Post-Qualifying Notes & Quotes Charlotte Motor Speedway — May 20, 2011

All-Star Qualifying 1st, KYLE BUSCH 7th, KASEY KAHNE 15th, DENNY HAMLIN 18th, DAVID REUTIMANN

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 1st How was your car in qualifying? “I can’t say enough about everything. The guys unloaded a really, really good M&M’s Camry today. Dave Rogers (crew chief) did a great job. All the guys here that work on this thing gave me a really good piece. I did have to do my part. I thought I gave it a little bit too much. I guess it was just enough. Again, a fast lap — fast guys on pit road. They deserve to win that pit crew challenge. One of these years we need to get that with them. Just can’t say enough about M&M’s, Interstate Batteries and all the guys that did a great job today so far. Hopefully, we can keep it rolling into tomorrow.”

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Are you surprised that you have not won the All-Star race? “I want to bring home the check. That would certainly be nice. I know Joe (Gibbs, team owner) would love that — J.D. (Gibbs, team president) and all the M&M’s folks would love to see us in victory lane celebrating too. We appreciate the M&M’s employees and associates all worldwide that watch us week in and week out. This race is a race where everybody says it suits Kyle Busch and we all know why — it’s because you can go fast, balls to the wall and you either bring back the steering wheel or the check. Unfortunately, I’ve been highly successful at bringing back the steering wheel. Unfortunately, I have not brought back the check. Hopefully, we can do that here tomorrow.”

Do you view your chances as good in tomorrow night’s All-Star race? “I think it changes your mindset a little bit. You don’t really know how you unload off the truck until you unload off the truck. The guys did a really, really nice job there for me to get me a good, comfortable feeling and fast race car. I think our chances maybe go up a little bit. You look at the time sheet of our race runs and stuff — we felt good about that. You look at the drivability of the race car and it felt good to me so I like that there. It’s a huge morale booster for the team. Those guys, they know they’re number one and I know they’re number one and we pat each other on the back an awful lot and pump each other up when we can. Those guys, to get the recognition this past week of the Mechanix Wear First Quarter winners of the pit crew deal — that was cool for them and to get themselves seated number one last night was really good. Unfortunately, we got knocked out early. Week in and week out, I praise my guys and this is just another one of those testaments that they are number one.”

How would you feel if your first Cup win at Charlotte was in the All-Star race? “That wouldn’t hurt my feelings at all. I don’t think it would any of our guys. They don’t care if it’s a non-points race or if it was the 600 or the 500 here in the fall. We were even joking around in the hauler — I guess the track record here is a 27.90 or something like that and a lot of those guys were picking up speed so we thought we would come close to that. If we did it here qualifying now, we were going to be disappointed that it wouldn’t count for track record. Fortunately, we can save that for next week so hopefully we have another car like that where we can do the same thing.”

Should pit crews be involved in qualifying each week? “I think it would be too long on a week-to-week basis. I think our two non-points races that we have — I mean the Budweiser Shootout we do a draw, so it doesn’t really matter where you start there. You know, the pit crew could certainly make it a little bit more fun if we did it that way down at Daytona as well, but at a restrictor plate track you’re going around there wide open anyway, so coming to pit road it might get a little tricky maybe. It would kind of be excited, I guess, to showcase a little bit more of the pit crew. We just love it. It’s something different. If we did it every week, then we’d be like, ‘This is stupid. Why are we doing this every week?’ The guys love it. We love it and it’s a neat opportunity for them to do it, because we’re all mostly from here in Charlotte. The 78 team (of Regan Smith) might not be and a couple others might be from Virginia maybe, but it’s close to home for a lot of our guys, so it makes it easier on the team and the pocket book and everything too in the long haul.”

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing (continued) Do you believe you are one of the best drivers at getting onto pit road? “Yeah, I would certainly say that that is an added bonus for me. You know, it does come every week that we get our reports that I’m one of the best. I may not be the best every time, but one of the best coming to pit road. And it’s a challenge: it’s difficult; it’s not easy ; you’re down shifting; you’re making sure your car’s not loose — you’re trying not to lock up the rear wheels; you’re trying not to lock up the front wheel. For as much is going on in a particular moment in time, you’re hands and feet are going everywhere and you’re brain is thinking a mile a minute, so it makes it fun for me and challenging for a lot of drivers, but it seems like I’ve taken to that very well.”

If it comes down to shootout at the end, what lane do you take? “It depends on how you’re car is driving really, but most likely you’re going to take the top. If you took the bottom and that guy got a restart and got you lose through one and two, you’d basically give the race away. It’s probably more beneficial in order to take the top and make that guy loose rather than yourself.”

DAVE ROGERS, crew chief, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing How did you approach today’s qualifying? “The biggest thing was just working on the setup and trying to unload close. This is a new tire this year. Limited practice time — only an hour and a half to figure it out. You have to make some race runs, you have to make some qualifying runs. Kyle (Busch) said it best — the guys working hard at the shop, beating the computers up and coming up with setups. This is probably the best we’ve come off the truck and certainly the best we’ve come off the truck at Charlotte. It just let us go to qualifying trim early and make a few mock runs and take care of business. Pretty uneventful day.”

KASEY KAHNE, No. 4 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Starting Position: 7th What happened during your qualifying run? “It was a good lap and I actually felt really fast — it was a really good lap. I didn’t get to pit road quite as good as I needed to and I was kind of slow on pit road. I definitely left a little bit pout there on pit road. Didn’t get enough, but everything else was good.”

What makes you so strong at Charlotte? “This is a good track for us and I’ve always drove pretty good here. Kenny Francis (crew chief) has always ran good here. I think just working together, it should work out pretty well and we should do a pretty good job.”

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 15th

DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 18th How was your qualifying effort? “The actually lap on the racetrack was good. Had the car at good speed, but just got a little hot so I cost us some there. I think one of our guys went over the wall a little quick, so it got us a penalty. Not going to end up very good, but I feel like the car has good speed and in race runs we felt like we we’re in pretty good shape. Driver made a bonehead move getting in and got a little hot and that’s not going to help us any.” What’s your approach for the All-Star race? “Just go like heck, you know. That’s all you can do.” – more –

Showdown Qualifying 7th, MARTIN TRUEX, JR. 9th, JOEY LOGANO 10th, BRIAN VICKERS 11th, CASEY MEARS 12th, MIKE SKINNER 14th, BOBBY LABONTE 17th, TODD BODINE 19th, JOE NEMECHEK

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Starting Position: 7th How did your car handle in qualifying? “It was okay. Today in practice, our NAPA Toyota was good in race trim and we went to do some qualifying runs right there at the end and we don’t do much of this impound stuff anymore and we were pretty bad there at the end. Some good changes. We didn’t hurt the car for the race at all — we just kind of improvised for the setup there. I’m happy with that. It’s close enough to the front that we can win from there and the car is good enough to do it.”

How do you approach the Showdown? “If you don’t win, it don’t matter. Win or go home.”

JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 9th How did you approach your lap after changing motors? “It was alright; a little bit too loose. We didn’t really make a qualifying run there and it doesn’t really matter, because we changed our motor and we’re going to start last no matter what. I just went out there and tried to put down a solid lap and we’ll see what happens from here. We’ve just got to go from last to first or second in 40 laps to make this happen. I’m not saying it can’t be done, because it can be done and we’re going to give it our best shot.”

BRIAN VICKERS, No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Starting Position: 10th How do you feel about your qualifying lap? “Really proud of the Red Bull guys. They did a great job with the car. We made a lot of changes — pretty much changed almost every component in the car between practice and qualifying there. I left a little bit on the table coming to the green, just trying to feel the car out. It was still a good lap.” How do you approach the Showdown? “All out. We’ve got to just put it on the line. You either win or go home.”

CASEY MEARS, No. 13 GEICO Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Starting Position: 11th How was your Showdown qualifying lap? “It was good. The guys have worked really hard on this car, so it was fun to go out and run a decent lap. It’s going to continue to get cooler and faster. I’m happy with the way its driving and we haven’t had a whole lot of speed and to be able to run that was pretty good. There’s a lot of faster cars that are going to go out, but we’ll see where we’re at.”

How do you approach a 40-lap sprint race? “It’s all out. It’s all out, except we’re a team that needs this car for the 600 as well. The times I’ve been in this race in the past, it’s been all out and if you just bring home the steering wheel it’s fine. But this is probably our best piece we have so I’m all out. But at the same time if we’re not in contention to win it we’re going to bring it home and make sure we’ve got it for the 600.”

MIKE SKINNER, No. 60 Big Red Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Starting Position: 12th How did your car perform in qualifying? “The engine was really, really good in it. It picked up two hundred RPM qualifying. I feel like I really left a lot on the table down in three and four. They clocked the segment and said the segment was really, really good. I thought I really ran fast through one and two — maybe I didn’t. Maybe I didn’t run as fast as I thought I did. In my mind it was pretty fast. For the situation that we’re in here with our Camry — I’m just glad to be here.”

BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Reese Towpower Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Starting Position: 14th How was your qualifying lap? “It wasn’t bad. We went from one setup in practice to a totally different setup right now. We had no idea what it was going to do. It was something we really hadn’t run a whole lot this year and thought we would try it and see. The guys did a great job doing it. It’s just that we’re going to get beat up here in qualifying, but hopefully it will be good for the race.”

TODD BODINE, No. 66 Techsouth Toyota Camry, PRISM Motorsports Starting Position: 17th

JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 NEMCO Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Starting Position: 19th

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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