Joey Logano (sixth) was the highest-finishing Toyota driver in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at California’s Infineon Raceway.
Logano started from the pole position — his second career NSCS pole and his first road course pole.
Martin Truex Jr. (eighth) and Kyle Busch (11th) also earned top-15 results at the 1.99-mile, 11 turn road course near Sonoma, Calif.
Other Toyota drivers in the field included Kasey Kahne (20th), David Reutimann (24th), Michael McDowell (30th), Casey Mears (34th), Brian Vickers (36th), Denny Hamlin (37th), Bobby Labonte (38th), Joe Nemechek (40th) and Mike Skinner (42nd).
Busch is now fifth in the unofficial NSCS point standings following Sonoma, and Hamlin is 11th in the standings.
Other Toyota drivers in the top-25 in the unofficial point standings after 16 of 36 NSCS races include Truex (18th), Kahne (19th) and Logano (23rd).
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 6th Are you pleased with your finish today? “Over the last few finishes here — yes, for sure. I felt like there are some things we could have done better — could have kept myself out of trouble a little better. Besides that, the four tire call there at the end by Zip (Greg Zipadelli, crew chief) definitely a good move to get a good solid finish out of here after getting the pole and winning yesterday (NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race). I can’t tell you how bad I needed something like this. It’s definitely going to help our season. I think it’s definitely going to get us some momentum.”
How much did Max Papis help today? “Max (Papis) is the man. He is awesome. He’s funny, listening to him on the radio and he has that accent going. He’s awesome. He’s helped out a ton. Everything he does, he just makes total sense. He’s just done this for so long he knows exactly what to do out there. Him being another driver you can really relate to what he is saying. I thought it was great — him helping me before we got here last month — we were working with each other. Hard work pays off all the time.”
What happened with Robby Gordon? “That’s no big deal to me. I don’t know. He was running me all over the race track. He knocked my fender in for no reason. We were a lot, lot faster than him. I just had enough. I wasn’t going to get pushed around. He pushed around before and I was sick of it. I think that’s a small story. That’s not a big deal. We finished sixth. I’m pretty happy about that.”
How would you describe the racing? “It’s crazy out there. Luckily this time I wasn’t involved in as many (incidents) as I’ve been before. Usually, I was getting spun out all the time. We did a good job with all that stuff. Obviously, our car’s beat up a little bit. I think overall, considering everything that happened, that’s pretty good.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 8th How was your race today? “We had a great car. It was fast. Just got spun out once. Then, we got on the right pit strategy. At the end, we were just out of tires. I was really good for 25 laps or so on tires, and then if we get a caution and I got a heat cycle on them I was really loose. I was really loose all day, but the heat cycle would really make it bad. At the end there, those last five laps, I just couldn’t go because the rear tires had smoke coming off of them. I just couldn’t get any rear traction. We lost four spots the last few laps. Still a good day for us. We had a fast car. Everything held up. The brakes were great all day. The transmission, the engine — all that stuff was good. Just wish we could have got a little bit more there. We thought for awhile there we were going to have a shot for the win. I just ran the tires off it.”
Are you disappointed with your finish? “I wanted to win. I thought we had something for Kurt (Busch) there. We were running him down when that caution came out. Then after that caution I was so loose I couldn’t go and I got pushed in the dirt. After that caution my car was horrible. Before that caution — if it went green — we were going to be fighting with Kurt, I believe.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Pretzel Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 11th How was your race? “Overall it was a really good day. Early on in the race it seemed like we had a pretty good M&M’s Pretzel Camry that we could come up through the field and pass a few guys. You know, a couple guys started making pit stops and getting their cars a little better and we sort of fell back. We were a little bit mediocre. We were still fast, we just didn’t have the speed like the 22 (Kurt Busch) did all weekend. We were like a fourth- or fifth-place car. We had the opportunity to finish there, but unfortunately with about five (laps) to go we were involved in a few others wreck and spun out. Gathered it back up and got going again, probably fell back to 15th, but salvaged an 11th out of the thing. We’ll take it and go on.”
KASEY KAHNE, No. 4 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Finishing Position: 20th
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 24th How was your race? “That’s a long race. We did a decent job in the Aaron’s Dream Machine. We stayed out of trouble until right there at the end when we spun. I hate that. We were in position to have our best finish ever here and it just got away from us at the end. Our pit crew today was outstanding and Rodney (Childers, crew chief) made some great calls and put us in a good position all day. I’m ready to head back to an oval next week in Daytona.”
MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 66 HP Racing LLC Toyota Camry, PRISM Motorsports Finishing Position: 30th
CASEY MEARS, No. 13 GEICO Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Finishing Position: 34th
BRIAN VICKERS, No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Finishing Position: 36th What happened with Tony Stewart? “You know, he wrecked me and I wrecked him.”
Were you blocking him? “I wasn’t blocking him (Tony Stewart). That may have been his perception where he was sitting. You know, the 18 (Kyle Busch) went off the race track in front of me — he was flying through the dirt. He was coming back on the race track and I was trying to avoid him. You know the cars in front of me were slow and I was in the inside of the guy in front of me. It’s pretty early in the race to worry about blocking someone or wrecking someone. I think when he sees the replay and he realizes why I went low, he’ll realize that if he looks out my front windshield, he’ll realize it had nothing to do with him, it had to do with the 18 almost wrecking and a couple other guys slow up top. You know, it’s unfortunate. He made his bed at that moment and he had to sleep in it.”
Are there any problems between you and Tony Stewart? “I don’t believe he said that. Maybe he did. I think we were joking and laughing last week — we had a great race. We haven’t had any problems in a long time. Actually, I think the last real problem we had was turn 11 in 2004, funny enough. That was the last time we actually got together.”
Why are drivers always angry after this race? “I’m not angry. I’m okay. I’d rather have been racing for a win than worrying about crap like that. I’m fine with how it all worked out. Granted I wished it hadn’t happened — I hate it for the Red Bull guys. These guys worked hard on the car, we had a really good car. We were trying some different stuff, we made some changes at the beginning of the race. We were trying some different stuff on air pressure and we were just horrible at the start of the race — just absolutely horrible. Once we fixed that we were pretty quick. We were quick after that until we got wrecked.”
BRIAN VICKERS, No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team (continued) Has NASCAR said anything to you? “No, they haven’t and I don’t think they will. They know that Tony (Stewart) and I have been around long enough to know how to handle these things ourselves. We’re both grown adults. It’s not like we’re rookies and we’re learning the ropes. We know the deal, they know the deal — we’ll figure it out. I’m sure Tony and I will talk this week. We don’t need them to tell us.”
Do you like racing at road courses? “I do like road courses. I enjoy coming here. It was a good race and I think they’re good — the two road course races we have are good tracks. They’re exciting for the fans — they’re exciting for the drivers — it really mixes things up. I don’t necessarily know that road racing is, I think our cars are better suited for ovals. But, I think we put on a heck of a show on road racing venues as well.”
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 37th
BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Clorox/Kleenex Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Finishing Position: 38th What happened that forced you to the garage during the race? “I do know we got together with David (Reutimann), I just drove underneath him there. He might not have seen me. I just got on the curb and was almost saving it, but it didn’t quite work out. He got setup by the 17 (Matt Kenseth) car. I was just part of it, part racing. Then we were building our speed back up there and got a couple laps and come off turn 11 and the 66 (Michael McDowell) car was there and I’m not sure what all happened, but next thing I know I’m in the fence.”
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 NEMCO Motorsports Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 40th
MIKE SKINNER, No. 60 Big Red Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Finishing Position: 42nd