Toyota NSCS Michigan Post-Qualifying Notes & Quotes

TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS)

Post-Qualifying Notes & Quotes

Michigan International Speedway – August 17, 2012
American Muscle


MARK MARTIN, No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 1st How was your qualifying lap? “First of all, I want to thank Michael (Waltrip, team owner) and MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) and everybody that works there for the incredible teamwork — Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer and Toyota for great power in these things. I have to drive these things fast — I’m trying to keep a job here. So far it’s going well. I’m just proud to be working with these guys — Rodney Childers (crew chief) and these guys.”

Could you have been any faster on your second lap? “I didn’t almost wreck the first lap, so I tried to go a little harder on the second lap and there was no way. I wobbled into (turn) one and there was no way I was going to beat it after that. I’m designed and geared for one lap qualifying. I know I can never make it another lap that quick no matter what.”

How much stronger was your Camry this second trip to Michigan? “I was a little disappointed last time qualifying here — I thought we had a really fast race car and you have to have momentum. You can’t feel it out and go. You’ve got to go before you get a chance to feel it out. The car didn’t feel right to me last time here qualifying and we didn’t go fast, but it felt pretty good. I had no idea what it was — if it was fast enough or if it was 20th. It was as fast as I could go and I tried to go a little faster the next lap and couldn’t make it. The guys are making big steam under the hood with TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and with the Toyota engines. MWR’s (Michael Waltrip Racing) is just doing a killer job. I’ve got such great teammates in Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer. We’re all really working together — working hard to put two cars in the Chase and trying to be a championship contender and trying to win races.”

Are you still surprised by your accomplishments? “I am surprised — I am surprised. I was surprised in 2009 at what we were able to accomplish — very similar kinds of things that we’ve accomplished this year. I was surprised in 2011 when we were not able to accomplish anything special. I was surprised again this year to be able to accomplish what we’ve been able to. In this business I don’t expect results, I expect effort. The one thing that you’ll get from me is every ounce that I can find and you get that no matter what the result may be. For me, I feel a little bit of the magic that I felt in 2009 working with Rodney Childers (crew chief) and working with my teammates and all the incredible staff at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing). I just really feel like this is a very, very lucky time in my career and in my life because I get to race on my terms and do things the way I want to do them.”

Do you think you have the car to beat on Sunday? “I feel good about it for multiple reasons mostly because at the test it was absolutely insane how much faster we were than everybody else. I wish the race was that day because you come back the next day and more times than not, it’s not that way. It was obscene — it was crazy. To be able to get that lap is a nice thing. We posted some pretty fast laps in race trim before we switched to qualifying trim today. All that bodes well, but you know me — I know how hard these things are to win and I know that not only does the fastest car not always win the race, but it just takes a whole lot. I believe this race team is up to the challenge of contending and winning a race somewhere along the way. I can’t know if it could possibly be this one or not. I just can’t say. All I know is we’re probably not going to have to take a middle of the pack race car and try to win with it, which is a feather in our cap. Trying to win with less than the fastest race car is an additional challenge — not one that can’t be overcome because you can actually try some things a little outside the normal box. If you know you’re not fast enough to win then you don’t have anything to lose. You can try strategies or whatever — try this or that to try to get one. I know that the race car is going to be strong. I won’t know how strong until practice is over tomorrow. It was strong today. It was incredibly strong in the test a couple weeks ago when we were up here. I can’t believe that we will be that superior on Sunday. I haven’t seen anybody with a race car that superior in quite some time. I hope it’s the fastest car, but no matter what our team will be fighting to the end.”

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 7th How was your qualifying lap? “It wasn’t hairy. The track came around so at the end of practice it was good and in qualifying it was better — everybody’s faster. It was cool.”

Will Sunday’s race be a one-groove race? “I think what we’ll see is right now the groove is right around the middle and I feel like the groove will move down before it moves up. Especially with restarts and guys shooting the bottom like they did here last time — down on the flat. I feel like it’s a little bit wider now than it was earlier just because guys are getting loose and chasing it up going in. That’s making it a little bit wider. I feel like in the race the groove will get low before it gets higher.”

LANDON CASSILL, No. 83 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing Starting Position: 9th How was your qualifying lap? “That was a long time to hold your breath. It was really surprising to see that we needed to make two laps — that’s what everybody’s been doing today. We kind of put a plan there and it felt really good coming to green. I knew it was going to be good even before the second lap — I knew it was going to be good. I kind of stuck to my plan — I didn’t want to overdo the first lap. That was the goal, if we knew we were going for the second lap I was going to kind of cruise the first lap and then really try to get all I could the second lap and that’s what I did. Just really proud to have a team like this behind me that puts a great car on the race track.”

CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 12th

JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 16th How was your qualifying lap? “It didn’t feel terrible. Everyone is picking up, so you feel like you’re faster just a little bit on the free side to go as fast as we want, I guess. I thought we would have been a little bit better than that. I think I have a good race car. I think we’ll be fine when the race starts.”

Why is the track so slick? “There’s not as much rubber down as last time. We had a whole test and there’s just not as much. The groove hasn’t widened out, so hopefully the truck race helps that.”

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 21st How was your qualifying lap? “Not what we wanted by any means. It’s just the car was really loose and when you run these speeds, you really can’t be loose — it’s just going to kill your time. Hopefully we’ll race a little bit better.”

How difficult will passing be in Sunday’s race? “This tire’s not laying any rubber on the race track, so it’s going to be one groove and passing is going to be real, real difficult.”

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 23rd

REED SORENSON, No. 91 Plinker Tactical Toyota Camry, HP Racing Starting Position: 27th

BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Scott Products Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Starting Position: 28th

TRAVIS KVAPIL, No. 93 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing Starting Position: 30th

DAVID STREMME, No. 30 Inception Motorsports Toyota Camry, Inception Motorsports Starting Position: 31st

JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Starting Position: 35th

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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