Post-Race Notes & Quotes
New Hampshire Motor Speedway – July 15, 2012
Camry driver Denny Hamlin (second) was the top-finishing Toyota driver in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Hamlin led the field five times for a race-high 150 laps (of 301) — after starting third.
Camry driver Clint Bowyer (third) also earned a top-10 result at the one-mile speedway.
Camry driver Kyle Busch started the race from the pole, led a total of 72 laps and finished 16th.
Other Camry drivers in the field at New Hampshire included Martin Truex Jr. (11th), Joey Logano (14th), Brian Vickers (15th), Bobby Labonte (23rd), Landon Cassill (29th), Travis Kvapil (30th), David Stremme (35th), Joe Nemechek (38th) and JJ Yeley (43rd).
Four Camry drivers are in the top-15 in the unofficial NSCS driver point standings following New Hampshire — Hamlin (fifth), Truex (eighth), Bowyer (ninth) and Busch (13th).
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 2nd How hard were you driving during the closing laps? “That’s all I had. That’s as hard as I can drive and just came up about five car lengths too short. Trust me, if I could have got to him (Kasey Kahne), I would have made it real interesting. I just didn’t have enough there at the end and it’s all we could do. We made our bed by taking those four tires. Darian (Grubb, crew chief) wanted to take two (tires) — I told him I just needed tires and that was it. He took it that I needed four tires. It was just a little miscommunication that turned into a second-place finish. You never know what could have happened on that last restart if we were taking two (tires). The 5 (Kahne) still may have been better, you never know. We obviously had a great car there at the end and made it interesting at least for the fans.”
How did the final pit stop impact your car? “It made our car faster than it already was today, but you can’t overcome over a straightaway that we were back — I think probably six seconds at one time. We just didn’t have enough laps was the bottom line. We just came up short. It’s days like these that you can just build on. We’re going to be back here in just a few months when it really counts and that’s when you want to win — so we know we have something to race him with.”
Did you think you could win the race after the four tire pit stop? “You try to be as optimistic as possible, but you know in your head that was a death sentence basically for us. I honestly didn’t think that we would get back to where we did — Kasey (Kahne) stretched out so far on that lead when we were about 10th. I was thinking, top-five and then I was thinking I could get to the top-three and then we made some good ground up there at the end. Needed four or five more laps — just needed to get within striking distance because I was going to rough him up.”
Were you frustrated following the miscommunication about tires? “They gave me a fast car — there’s days when you’re not as good and you finish second and you’re overjoyed. Today, you finish second and you’re disappointed because you’ve got a dominant car. They gave me a new package this time around. We dominated all the practices and it showed in the race what we had. It’s part of it. I would have loved to get win 200 for number 11. That part of it is frustrating that we can’t break through and get that. We’re getting close.”
Does your 2010 championship battle help you this year? “Definitely, if you look at our stats from this year, if we don’t get wrecked or taken out or something like that, we’re in contention to win a race. I feel like our performance right now, even though we don’t have the wins we had in 2010 at this point, I think we’re more competitive now than what we were in 2010. Maybe not the all-out speed. This weekend we did have that speed. At the mile-and-a-halves — we don’t have the speed we had in 2010. But we’re dangerously close competitive-wise to where we were in 2010. Now we’re just going to take that experience from then and apply it this year. You know, everything seems very, very similar to a couple years ago as far as how our performance.”
CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 3rd Did the two tire pit stop late in the race help you have a strong finish? “It was actually the four tires that made the difference — we were able to go from 15th or so up there and get position and then take the two tires. That’s what enabled us to get the spot. We had a good weekend with our 5-HOUR Energy Toyota — just a little off. The (Joe) Gibbs (racing) cars and (Kasey) Kahne were the class of the field.”
CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing (continued) How was your car early in the race? “We were just way off — way too loose and way too tight in the middle. Usually, when you have that, there’s no fix — you can’t get one without the other. That is the balance of the all together package thing. All in all it was a good weekend for our 5-HOUR Energy Toyota — good way to get things turned around. After the last two weeks of getting wrecked, it felt good to get a good finish.”
Are you pleased with your position in the point standings? “We’ve been running well — I’m not too worried about that. Certainly, happy for Kasey Kahne for winning today, but didn’t need him to. That’s a wild card spot that I had by points and now I’m going to have to go get me another win to have him by a win.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 11th How was your race? “It was a battle for sure. We weren’t very good all day. We had a couple moments where we were okay, but for the most part it was a battle all day. Had trouble on pit road, had trouble making adjustments the wrong way and all that. It was a rough one. I guess 11th on your worst day is pretty good.”
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 14th How did your car handle throughout the race? “We were getting closer about halfway through the race — we were about maybe three-quarters of the way from having the car as good as we were going to get it. I think we needed to do a lot more different things in practice to get our Home Depot car a little bit better. We have some things to work on for next time — we know that. Felt like we were getting better and then when we put that last set of tires on the car, it went to crap there. I’m not really sure why or what happened there, but 14th isn’t the end of the world. We can salvage this day and go on to Indy and try to make it happen there. I have to thank all the guys back at the shop — we’re hanging in there. We’re going to get another one here shortly.”
BRIAN VICKERS, No. 55 MyClassicGarage.com/Aaron’s Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 15th
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 16th
DAVE ROGERS, crew chief, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What happened in the race today? “It was a tough day for the Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, but really proud of Kyle (Busch). He drove a great race — he drove a brilliant race. Really proud of this race team — that Toyota Camry there was fast. I think we were one of the fastest cars all day. Just gave up track position. We got caught speeding the first run there — that wasn’t Kyle’s fault. We calculate the RPM we’re supposed to run. We’ve seen some times where that’s more accurate and we made an error in our calculations — simple error, wrong transmission ratio. Gave Kyle the wrong number and he sped and that got us behind from the beginning. Then we were trying to play catch-up all day long. When you play catch-up you often gamble so we took a gamble there. It seemed to work out initially where we stayed out. Then we pitted and the yellow came out and that pretty much ended our day.”
What does Kasey Kahne winning do to your wild card outlook? “He (Kasey Kahne) obviously moves in front of us, but our goal is to go and win every race. It doesn’t matter — nothing matters. All we can control is the things we can control and try to win every race. You saw today that we were going for the ‘W’ — we could have run around seventh all day long. I could have pitted when everyone else pitted, finished seventh and everything would have been fine. We want some wins under our belt so we gambled there and stayed out — that paid off, but when we pitted that didn’t pay off. I think you saw the mindset of the 18 car.”
BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Luke & Associates Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Finishing Position: 23rd
TRAVIS KVAPIL, No. 93 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing Finishing Position: 30th
LANDON CASSILL, No. 83 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing Finishing Position: 29th
DAVID STREMME, No. 30 Inception Motorsports Toyota Camry, Inception Motorsports Starting Position: 35th
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 38th
JJ YELEY, No. 49 Robinson-Blakeney Racing Toyota Camry, Robinson-Blakeney Racing Finishing Position: 43rd