Toyota MENCS NHMS Post-Race Recap

Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Race 20 of 36 – 318.46 miles, 301 laps
July 22, 2018

TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, Kevin Harvick*
2nd, KYLE BUSCH
3rd, Aric Almirola*
4th, MARTIN TRUEX JR.
5th, Chase Elliott*
13th, DENNY HAMLIN
16th, ERIK JONES
22th, DANIEL SUÁREZ
33rd, BLAKE JONES
*non-Toyota driver

TOYOTA DRIVER POINT STANDINGS**
1st, KYLE BUSCH 844 points
2nd, Kevin Harvick* 791 points
3rd, MARTIN TRUEX JR. 740 points
4th, Joey Logano* 679 points
5th, Kurt Busch* 646 points
10th, DENNY HAMLIN 583 points
14th, ERIK JONES 501 points
20th, DANIEL SUÁREZ 359 points
*non-Toyota driver
**unofficial point standings

  • Camry driver Kyle Busch finished in second place with the top-Toyota entry in Sunday’s rain-delayed Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
  • Busch led the field once for 36 laps (of 301) on the 1.058-mile track.
  • Martin Truex led the field one time for 83 laps en route to fourth-place result. Truex also won the race’s first stage.
  • With their finishes, Busch and Truex remain first and third, respectively in the MENCS point standings.
  • The race was delayed for more than three hours due to inclement weather before beginning.

TOYOTA QUOTES

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KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 2nd

What did you think of the bump by Kevin Harvick?

“You know, it’s racing. We had a really, really poor performance today. Our Interstate Batteries Camry just wasn’t there – it wasn’t there all weekend. We kept fighting the same things all weekend long and we never make any gains on it all through practice and we kind of struggled with it through the race and Adam (Stevens, crew chief) made some really, really good calls – some really good adjustments to just try to keep improving on it. My pit crew was flawless. They gained us all those spots on pit road to get us out front to get us in that position – to have a shot to go after the win – and, you know, we controlled the restart and drove away by a little bit, but we weren’t the best car on the long run. All them SHR (Stewart-Haas Racing) cars were really, really good today. They were all fast, so it was going to be hard to hold them off and I was just kind of backing up and, you know, three, four, five corners in a row and with a faster car, I’m not sure he (Kevin Harvick) had to do it, but he did. It’s fine. How you race is how you get raced, so it’s fine.”

Does this change how you’ll race Kevin Harvick?

“Well, he did that because of Chicago. I think that, you know, he had a fair game. Everybody has fair game on Kyle Busch – that’s for sure when it comes to the fan base, so, you know, that’s fine. That’s how – that’s how they want to race, that’s how I’ll race back, but, you know, it was just a bump. I mean, it wasn’t a big deal. He didn’t wreck me or anything like that, so he did it early enough, but he did it way harder and pushed me out of the groove three lanes and it just takes you so long to recover here that it was just no possible way I could get back to him, so – and I was slower anyways. I was in the way, so no harm, no foul.”

Was it just a mountain to climb today?

“Yeah, we – we were way off. We were horrible today, so just not what we needed and not what we wanted. We fought the same exact things all weekend long. We just could not get it fixed. We tried everything we possibly could. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and the guys worked really, really hard on it all weekend. Even in the race, they worked really, really hard in getting me a better piece each and every team we hit the race track, so that’s all you can ask for and of course my pit crew, they were awesome. They got us out front, got us in position to get everything we needed to try to win the race there and control the restart, control the end of the last run of the race and I knew our car wasn’t – wasn’t going to be good enough long enough there. Those SHR (Stewart-Haas Racing) cars, they were all fast today and we just didn’t have what we needed there, so I was just kind of backing up and, you know, (Kevin) Harvick was using me up there for about four or five corners in a row, which is fine. You know, I think he could have made the move work cleaner than that, but, you know, it’s all fair game when you’re racing. How you race is how you get raced.”

Did you expect Kevin Harvick to do that?

“When you’re slower, I guess you kind of expect it, but you also think that a guy’s going to race you fair and try to pass you clean first. I don’t think he (Kevin Harvick) ever tried to pass me clean once he got there. He just kept hitting me in the rear bumper each and every time. It was getting increasingly harder.”

Were you worried?

“I was already aware that he (Kevin Harvick) was there. I wasn’t worried about anything. Just, you know, if more would have come of that – if there would have been a crash – then it certainly would have been a way different game from here on out.”

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 78 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry, Furniture Row Racing

Finishing Position: 4th

How was your race?

“Yeah, it’s – we were fast early. Just VHT wore off and I was no good anymore. A couple guys – specifically the SHR (Stewart-Haas Racing) cars – man, they got rolling there about midway through the race and we just pretty much crapped, so couldn’t ever fix it and we had one set of tires that was funny and on that one run there it was wheel hoping real bad, I just – I couldn’t hang onto it, so we lost some spots there, but pit crew kept us in the game. We had a good stop there at the end that gave us a shot. We just didn’t have the speed there after a few laps. We tried hard, but we just can’t quite figure out the second half of this thing, but when we do we’re going to be in good shape.”

How difficult is wheel hop at this place?

“Oh, man, it’s – especially when it does it a few times like out of nowhere and you don’t expect it and we’ve never really fought that anywhere before and, like I said, it just seemed like it was that one set of tires that really did it, so I’m not sure what was going on there. I thought I had a shock – a left rear shock broke or, you know, maybe the belts in the tire broke or something funny happened because it was pretty wicked there a few times.”

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 13th

Were you struggling to do what you wanted on the track?

“No doubt. Yeah, I mean, there’s several different approaches, several different things I tried to do inside the car to get the front to turn. Just would not turn. Does it for a couple laps in open track, but once I get in traffic it just plows through the front – touch the gas and it plows through. I can’t keep it one lane, so it’s a struggle with balance. I think our cars have speed, we just have to get our – do the best to get our setup on there that we can be aggressive with.”

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