Joey Logano (third) was the highest finishing Toyota driver in Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Daytona International Speedway.
Camry drivers Kasey Kahne (fourth) and Kyle Busch (fifth) also earned top-five finishes at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.
Other Toyota drivers in the field included Brian Vickers (12th), Denny Hamlin (13th), David Reutimann (25th), Joe Nemechek (30th), Bobby Labonte (31st), Casey Mears (32nd), Martin Truex Jr. (35th), Mike Skinner (40th), Michael McDowell (42nd) and Kevin Conway (43rd).
Camry racers led 25 times for 54 laps (of 170) in the 400-mile event, which featured a track record of 25 drivers with 57 lead changes.
Busch moved up two spots to third-place in the unofficial NSCS point standings and is 10 points behind leader Kevin Harvick following Daytona, and Hamlin currently sits 11th in the standings.
Other Toyota drivers in the top-25 in the unofficial point standings after 17 of 36 NSCS races include Kahne (19th), Logano (20th), Truex (23rd) and Vickers (25th).
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 3rd How did you decide with Kasey Kahne who was going to lead and who was going to push on the final restart? “I looked at his back bumper and his back bumper was all kind of bent in at the sides. Didn’t really have an option. It was like okay, ‘I feel like I’m going to dump you if I’m pushing him because of his bumper wasn’t square on the back.’ So, went on the start and tried to find each other and found each other. Went three-wide outside for the lead and I went, ‘All right, we got’em.’ And, we got back down to the bottom. The inside line just had more cars down there that shoved them ahead. It pulled the 88 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) from his partner. Then we just stuck there on the outside and got down in there and I was hoping we would build a run on the back straightaway — we couldn’t. Our speeds were just the same all the way to the line. Our only hope was if those guys tried to pass each other at the line. I knew they weren’t — they’re teammates. That’s awesome for David (Ragan). He’s a good friend of mine. We grew up together running Legends cars and everything. So, it’s really cool to see him winning. Me yesterday and now him today here at Daytona — it’s really cool for everyone back from Atlanta running Legends cars. It was really cool. Awesome run for our Home Depot Toyota. Two good weeks in a row for us. We’re building some momentum. Good yesterday. So, everything’s on a roll. We’re pretty pumped up.”
How much confidence do your results at Daytona give you heading to Kentucky next weekend? “I need something to turn around here. Recently, it seems like everything’s been going the wrong way. Ever since we got that pole last week and won the West race and had a good run there in Sonoma, coming here and getting a first and a third. Going into Kentucky, was a really good race track for us, at least we think it is. We’ll see when we get there. But, there is definitely a lot of momentum on my team side. Me, personally I needed a lot for self-confidence, but it definitely helps out a lot with the team too. You know, not feeling as desperate out there in what we have to do. We definitely can relax out there and do what we need to do like we did last year.”
Were you trying to partner up with Mark Martin when you made contact late in the race? “Yeah, he started like that. I didn’t have no friends and he didn’t either. But, I was going to try to shoot through that gap and see if someone could push me. I had my nose in there. It’s one of those deals towards the end of the race there. I probably could have backed off and let him get in there, but I was all about that group in front of him was coming down across, too. So, I was just going to shoot through there and see if we could find something. That’s just the racing deal. That could have gone either way. I probably could have done something to stay out of it and he could have stayed up. So it’s just one of those deals. It’s no one’s fault, really. Just either one of us could have done something to avoid it.”
KASEY KAHNE, No. 4 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Finishing Position: 4th How was your race? “It was a really good night for our whole Red Bull team. All of the guys did a nice job, and mine and Brian’s (Vickers) cars worked really well together. We were hooked up the whole night together and worked well — led some laps. I lost him, then we crashed over in (turn) three or when that big wreck was. Just really was never able to get hooked up again with him, which was disappointing because I thought we had a couple really good Red Bull Toyotas working together.” -more-
KASEY KAHNE, No. 4 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team (continued) What happened when you were involved in the accident late in the race in turn three? “I was kind of pushing up the track. I was tight that run. We put on rights two times in a row. I was pushing and Brian (Vickers) was getting hit from behind and he was like pushing me more up there. So, then when that wreck happened, I lost Brian from there on out. I still got to push Joey (Logano) — another Toyota — and it worked out pretty good for us.”
How would you describe those closing laps? “Just try to get hooked up as fast as you can and go. To me, it’s tough because it takes a lap or two to get hooked up and get momentum and get going. And that’s what kind of happened there at the end is from fifth on back got slowed up and we were just all in line coming to the line. Usually there would be a pack and a big burst and everybody would be going for it, but it didn’t happen that way.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 5th How was your race? “I can’t say enough about this Interstate Batteries Camry. It definitely was a good race car. We worked with Joey (Logano) all race long and then that wreck that happened in (turns) three and four there I got mixed up and got in the wall a little bit. But, we came down pit road and worked on the thing and tried to get it straightened back out where we could finish the rest of the race and got dislodged from my running partner Joey there and got dislodged from (Brad) Keselowski, (who) I was going to try to work with. Jeff (Gordon) and I teamed up there at the end and drove up through there and they wrecked again once we got through so I was like ‘Whew. At least we didn’t wreck on that one.’ I saw melee everywhere, man. I’m just thankful that we weren’t in all of it. We got a piece of a little bit of it, but great finish tonight for Interstate Batteries.”
What is it like driving through that many cars in such a short period of time? “I think the best way to sum it up is go where they ain’t.”
How did you finish fifth tonight? “I have no idea. I just kept my foot in it there at the end. When we got in the wall there, we come down pit road and we put four tires on it and fixed the fender damage and everything and got back out there. The big wreck happened and we missed it. We didn’t have any flats so we just decided to stay out. A couple guys pitted. We gained a little bit of track position back and then we got mixed up from (Brad) Keselowski, who were going to work with, and then (Jeff) Gordon was behind me so he just pushed me. We kept our foot in it and drove right up through the bottom, man. There were some holes that parted ways and just kept digging and luckily he made it through and I made it through and we ended up with a fifth out of the deal. Can’t say enough about the Interstate Batteries Camry. The guys did a great job for me. Really loved working with Joey (Logano) all day long. That was really good. Probably could have won the race. We were coming right there at the end around the top and we got in the wall and the caution come out. So, it’s just a product of what we got.”
BRIAN VICKERS, No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Finishing Position: 12th
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 13th How was your race? “It seems like something always happens to us on the last lap at Daytona. Ryan (Newman) and I were protecting the middle on that last restart down the back straightaway, and when those guys got a run on the outside, we disconnected and fell back. Then, they were wrecking in front of us coming to the checkered flag and I went spinning in the grass to avoid them. Our car was running hot all night, but when the 39 (Ryan Newman) and us were hooked up; we could go to the front when we wanted to. For me, it’s disappointing that we didn’t win or help the 39 win, but we salvaged a decent finish.”
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 25th How was your race tonight? “We were doing great all day. Martin (Truex Jr.) and I worked real well together all race long. It seemed like I was better pushing, so we stuck with that most of the night. We were in a great position to make a run there at the end and compete for the win, but got caught in those late race wrecks. Tough luck for sure. We were hoping to see our Aaron’s Dream Machine right there with the 56 (Martin Truex Jr.) at the end — unfortunately it just didn’t work out for us tonight.”
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 NEMCO Motorsports Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 30th
BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Kingsford Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Finishing Position: 31st
CASEY MEARS, No. 13 GEICO Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Finishing Position: 32nd
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 35th
MIKE SKINNER, No. 60 Big Red Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Finishing Position: 40th
MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 66 HP Racing LLC Toyota Camry, PRISM Motorsports Finishing Position: 42nd
KEVIN CONWAY, No. 97 Extenze Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 43rd