Toyota driver Joey Logano (third) had the highest finishing Camry in Sunday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Camry drivers David Reutimann (ninth) and Denny Hamlin (10th) also earned top-10 finishes in the Coca-Cola 600.
Three Toyota drivers — Hamlin, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch — combined to lead the field 10 times for a total of 107 laps. Busch led 55 laps, Kahne led 28 laps and Hamlin was at the front of the field for 24 laps. Kahne finished 22nd and Busch ended up 32nd.
Other Camry drivers in the field included Brian Vickers (18th), Casey Mears (23th), Bobby Labonte (24th) Martin Truex Jr. (26th), Kasey Kahne (36th), Michael McDowell (39th), Joe Nemechek (41st) and Mike Skinner (43rd).
Busch dropped to fifth in the unofficial NSCS point standings following Charlotte, and is now 53 points behind leader Carl Edwards.
Other Toyota drivers in the top-20 in the unofficial NSCS point standings after 12 of 36 races are Hamlin (12th) and Kahne (19th).
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 3rd How happy are you with tonight’s finish? “I’m just happy to get one here, as many as we got taken away this year like that. We’ll take one and get a good finish out of this day. Hopefully, this will put some momentum on our side and we have some good race tracks coming up for us. We need it and we’ll get our Home Depot ride going again and we’ll be just be fine.”
What does this say about your perseverance? “It’s just never giving up, man. That’s all it is. None of these guys do. My whole team doesn’t and the 43 drivers don’t. So, that’s what you really got to be in it the whole time and got to keep focused and keep your head in the game. There’s times you say, ‘We’re definitely out of it going down a lap twice.’ To come home with a decent finish like that — we’ll take it for sure.”
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron’s Armed Forced Foundation Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 9th How did your car handle this evening? “The car drove okay. We struggled a little bit early being tight and waiting for the track to cool down. The track finally came to us a little bit and Rodney (Childers, crew chief) and the guys made the car better. Things worked out and we finished ninth. We did okay.”
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 10th Are you happy with a top-10 finish tonight? “You can’t run second on the back straightaway and be happy with 10th. Great day in our FedEx car. We had a race- winning car today. We battled our way back to the front of the pack. Can’t say enough for everyone at FedEx — all the employees. Almost got a win for them, but just a bunch of us right there on that same fuel strategy. My eyes got huge when I saw everyone running out in front of us. As soon as they got big — they got small because we ran out of fuel. Can’t say enough for this whole team. For changing that carburetor and not going a lap down and to keep fighting. We’ll keep fighting — this is a step in the right direction. We’re back being competitive like we should be and we’re going to win some races here soon.”
BRIAN VICKERS, No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Finishing Position: 18th
KASEY KAHNE, No. 4 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Finishing Position: 22nd What happened on the last restart? “I ran out of gas. We were trying to make it. It was just our strategy. That was our plan.”
KASEY KAHNE, No. 4 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team (continued) Is it discouraging to end the race that way or do you like the strategy? “It’s what we had to do. Our Red Bull Toyota was pretty decent out front in the top-six, with pretty clean air. Other than that we were horrible. We would get on every side of it. We just couldn’t go anywhere. It was our strategy. We stuck with it. We had to. It was our only chance to finish in the top-20. I don’t know where we finished, but it probably wouldn’t have been a whole lot worse than where we would have done it.”
CASEY MEARS, No. 13 GEICO Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Finishing Position: 23rd
BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Kingsford/Bush’s Baked Beans Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Finishing Position: 24th
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 26th
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 32nd
DAVE ROGERS, crew chief, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What issues did you battle this evening? “The race was 600 miles and it felt like 800. Clean air meant so much tonight. We started 21st and I thought Kyle (Busch) did a great job of methodically working his way up to the front. Finally, got up front and we got our car back from practice — in practice this M&M’s Camry was really fast — but back there in dirty air, we couldn’t get out of our own way. Kyle did a great job, got to the front and we got our practice car back. Then pit strategy — we got caught on fuel windows there. We got in a situation where the guys were racing where the guys we were racing and we could make it one more stop when we pitted when we did. Then we gave up all that track position and got in that dirty air. Honestly, Kyle was just trying to make something out of nothing. None of the cars handled well back there. The 16 (Greg Biffle) rode in the back and barely stayed on the lead lap and then contended for the win. Clean air means everything and Kyle was trying to make something out of nothing and it got away from him. We ended our day a little early.”
Was Kyle’s spin caused by him pushing the car? “He was pushing it and running right on the edge trying to get it. The 17 (Matt Kenseth) car was the best car all day. He was the only car that could make it up through traffic. We knew we left pit road right behind him and Kyle (Busch) was trying to stay with him. We didn’t quite have the car that he had. Kyle just tried to do the impossible and that’s why we love him. We know he gives us 100 percent and he doesn’t ever leave any on the table. Tonight he just tried to take a little bit too much and it got away from him. That’s part of racing. That’s why we love Kyle Busch — he only knows one speed — full throttle.”
MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 66 KEYper Toyota Camry, PRISM Motorsports Finishing Position: 39th
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 NEMCO Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 41st
MIKE SKINNER, No. 60 Big Red Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Finishing Position: 43rd