Camry driver Kenny Wallace (sixth) was the highest-finishing Toyota in Sunday afternoon’s NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Iowa Speedway in his 500th career series start, marking his best finish of 2011.
Michael McDowell also earned a top-10 result with a seventh-place finish in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Camry.
Steve Wallace (11th), Drew Herring (12th) and Des Moines, Iowa-native Michael Annett (13th) also recorded top- 15 results for Toyota in the 250-lap event.
Camry drivers Joe Nemechek (16th), Brian Scott (27th) and Ryan Truex (34th) were also in the field.
Six Camry drivers are currently in the top-20 in the unofficial NNS point standings following 12 of 35 races in the 2011 season — K. Wallace (seventh), S. Wallace (eighth), Scott (ninth), Annett (11th), Nemechek (12th) and Truex (17th).
KENNY WALLACE, No. 09 American Ethanol/Iowa Corn/G-Oil Toyota Camry, RAB Racing with Brack Maggard Finishing Position: 6th Are you happy with your finish today? “I was just totally stunned. We had a good car in practice. They dropped the green flag and my left front tire just started bottoming out really bad and just really, really aggravating. I don’t know what happened overnight, but it was a big difference. My car didn’t handle good all day long, but my crew chief Scott Zipadelli worked really hard on the front end. Then, we got into a wreck and just destroyed the car. Because we were in the wreck we kept coming in and putting gas in it, but it was just never time for me to pit. And, then the 11 car, my Toyota teammate Brian Scott, wrecked and that was my gain. The caution came out and once you get upfront we pulled a straightaway on the guys in eight spots. It’s really just about track position. I’m happy with a sixth-place for as bad as we were.”
How tough were the track conditions today? “I was happy with the track, the tires. I just don’t know why my car bottomed out so bad. This was the same car we ran at Richmond, Phoenix. It hits the frontend every once and a while. It was a tough day, but my boys just kept adjusting. I wrecked it, I handled horrible, they kept fixing it and we got sixth.”
MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 18 Pizza Ranch Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 7th How was your race today? “It was good. I’m still very thankful for the opportunity to drive the 18. We had high expectations and I don’t think we ended up where we all wanted to. The car was pretty good in the beginning. Not good on the short run, but pretty good on the long run. We were able to get the lead and then we just couldn’t get going on the restarts. Just kept getting loose and losing spots. We kept working on it and then I’m not sure what happened there at the end. I don’t know if some guys stayed out under green-flag stops, but we kind of got shuffled around there and down a lap so we couldn’t come in and work on it. We had to get the wave by. We kind of had what we had there at the end and we were able to make up some good spots at the end. I was hoping we could get a top five out of it, but it was a good start for Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) and I working together on the Pizza Ranch Camry. I’ve just got to figure out what I need to be a little bit better, and I think we showed speed so we’ll just move forward and we’ll come back here in August. I’ve got a few more races in-between as well.”
Did you feel any pressure driving the 18 car this week? “It was a lot of fun. I didn’t really feel the pressure of getting in the 18, because I just felt like I have experience now and my ability is going to be what it’s going to be. I just wanted to go as hard as I could and enjoy every minute of it knowing that I had a good car.”
STEVE WALLACE, No. 66 5-Hour Energy Toyota Camry, Rusty Wallace Racing Finishing Position: 11th
DREW HERRING, No. 20 SportsClips Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 12th
MICHAEL ANNETT, No. 62 Pilot Travel Centers/Flying J Toyota Camry, Rusty Wallace Racing Finishing Position: 13th How was your race? “In the first half of this race, I really thought we had a solid finish coming. My team worked really hard this weekend to get us back on track and where we needed to be, so a comeback finish would have been great here at my home track. We definitely had a top-10 car and were running lap times consistent with the leaders, but our 13th place finish doesn’t show for it. Thanks to my guys for all of their hard work this weekend. I’m looking forward to getting back here to Iowa Speedway in August.”
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 16th
BRIAN SCOTT, No. 11 Shore Lodge Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 27th
RYAN TRUEX, No. 99 Toyota Camry, Pastrana-Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 34th What happened to take you out of the race? “We blew a right front tire. There was no warning, there was no nothing. We had a really good car. The first run we were really good and we were a top-10, running top-10 times, catching those guys. We were just a little too tight in the center, a little free in so we came in to work on it and got up to fifth. My pit crew did a great job, but we just adjusted on it wrong and got the car really, really free in and off. We were kind of just holding on, waiting for another caution and the tire blew.”