Kyle Busch (second) was the highest finishing Toyota driver in Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch’s finish marked his 12th top-five result at Charlotte in 17 career NNS starts at the speedway.
Camry driver Brian Scott also earned a top-five result with a fifth-place finish in the 200-lap race — his second top-five finish this season in the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) No. 11 Camry.
Camry drivers Steve Wallace (13th), Kenny Wallace (16th), Michael Annett (17th), Joey Logano (19th), Ryan Truex (34th), Kevin Conway (36th) and Joe Nemechek (37th) were also in the field at the mile-and-a-half oval.
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 2nd How was your race car tonight? “It was really good on long runs. Slow on short runs — didn’t have enough under the hood to keep up. Got out-motored on that last restart and finished second.”
JASON RATCLIFF, crew chief, No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What did it mean to run strong at a mile-and-a-half track after struggling earlier this season? “We were really excited to have the opportunity to be up there. Mile-and-a-half tracks have not been our greatest tracks this year, but we’ve come a long way. I’m really proud of this team — this Z-Line Designs team and everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing. You know, we had a shot at it there and if we did everything right tonight the one thing that we struggled with a little bit is still the restarts. I think it’s just a product of horsepower, or you know whatever. And, those guys have been really good all year in that category. Kyle (Busch) did a great job all night. I don’t think he got beat there from a talent standpoint, obviously. He drove a phenomenal race. Just for us to be up there and be close and be in the fray is great. It was a good night for us. Unfortunately, we came up one short. But, I’m really proud of Kyle and what he did and proud of this race team.”
What seems to be so tough at these mile-and-a-half tracks? “It seems like we just always finish third at these mile-and-a-half tracks. These Dodges and Fords just seem really strong and they’ve got some of their set-ups figured out. We’ve been working hard on our set-up to get it better. I think we showed tonight that we did. I think at one point we had all three of our Joe Gibbs (Racing) cars in the top-seven and they were all three running strong. We just didn’t need to see the caution. Once we got the thing wound up and got it going, we could run with anybody, but we needed that clean air at the end and the 60 (Carl Edwards) got in front of us – it takes so much to get by him, especially on cold tires like that. If we had 10 more laps, who knows, maybe Kyle (Busch) drove up there and gave him a little more run for his money. Just not enough laps left to get it done.”
BRIAN SCOTT, No. 11 Doosan Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 5th How was your race tonight? “We started off really not where we wanted to, but we were able to hang out right near the top-10. The pit crew did a great job always moving us forward on spots. Kevin (Kidd, crew chief) did good adjustments and that just kept us in the hunt until we could get our car right. Towards the end of the race we had our car pretty good and we were able to gain some more positions and have some more good pit stops. We just kept working towards the front from about the middle of the race on and we made it count at the end when it mattered. That was great and we were able to bring home a top-five for Doosan and it was great to have them on the car. They are such a terrific partner at Joe Gibbs Racing and our Camry was just fast when it counted. That’s all that matters.”
How much momentum does your team have following this run? “We’ve had some really good runs lately. We’ve ran up there the last — seems like five races. We haven’t really finished up there a couple times — Kansas comes to mind and Dover comes to mind. We’re capable of running up there and now we’re getting more finishes up there. We’ve got a lot of strength with this team and we’re going to end this year really strong and we’re going to go into next year representing Dollar General and try to win them a championship.”
STEVE WALLACE, No. 66 5-Hour Energy Toyota Camry, Rusty Wallace Racing Finishing Position: 13th
KENNY WALLACE, No. 09 Thank You Fans! Toyota Camry, RAB Racing with Brack Maggard Finishing Position: 16th
MICHAEL ANNETT, No. 62 Pilot Flying J Toyota Camry, Rusty Wallace Racing Finishing Position: 17th
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 GameStop Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 19th How was your race car tonight and what happened when you hit the wall? “We had a solid, strong top-five car. We could run third at times, fourth at times and we got up to second there for a little bit. Carl (Edwards) was really fast there at the end. I was doing everything I could to hold him off — I was doing anything. Since he got to the outside of me and the 6 (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) was following him and he just went in right on my door — right on my door. I just lost control of it and spun it out — well, I didn’t spin it out — I just put it in the wall. Unfortunately — we were better than that. We were making progress because we haven’t been this good lately. We’ll take it.”
What happened between you and Kyle Busch on a mid-race restart? “I was wanting a one-two finish there and was trying to get him. At times I was better than Kyle (Busch) and then Kyle got pretty good throughout the race and got his car a little bit better than mine. We were pretty close to each other all day. I think our 20 team has made progress over the last few weeks here and making our car better. Obviously, I don’t have the finish to show it today, but I think we ran definitely a lot better than what we have been so we’ll take that.”
Do you think Kyle Busch was mad at you from that restart? “I don’t think Kyle (Busch) is mad at me. The only thing that bummed him out was that he was leading the race and the caution came out that cost him the win. I didn’t want to wreck my car so it hurt me worse even. It’s a bummer that we lost a win for Joe Gibbs Racing, but we’re doing all we can do. Just trying hard.”
RYAN TRUEX, No. 99 Toyota Camry, Pastrana-Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 34th What happened that took you out of the race? “I just blew a tire — out of nowhere with no warning or anything. We just blew a right front. I hate it for these guys. They worked so hard to get this car built and now it’s wrecked. Frustrating night. We had a motor problem right from the start of the race. We were down on power. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if we broke a valve spring or what. We were way down on power so I would have to run the outside just to keep up with those guys. We were in for a long night either way and unfortunately we came up short.”
KEVIN CONWAY, No. 87 Extenze Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 36th
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 97 AM/FM Energy Pellet & Wood Stove Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 37th