Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Race 28 of 36 – 300 miles, 400 laps
September 22, 2018
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, KYLE BUSCH
2nd, Kevin Harvick*
3rd, MARTIN TRUEX JR.
4th, Chase Elliott*
5th, Aric Almirola*
11th, ERIK JONES
16th, DENNY HAMLIN
17th, DANIEL SUÁREZ
37th, JEFFREY EARNHARDT
38th, ALON DAY
39th, TIMMY HILL
TOYOTA DRIVER POINT STANDINGS**
1st, MARTIN TRUEX JR 2141 points
2nd, KYLE BUSCH 2125 points
15th, ERIK JONES 2039 points
16th, DENNY HAMLIN 2031 points
20th, DANIEL SUÁREZ 550 points
**unofficial point standings
· Camry driver Kyle Busch was victorious in the second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) Playoff race at Richmond Raceway Saturday night.
· The win automatically advances Busch to the Round of 12 in the playoffs and ties him for the series-lead in wins this season with seven total victories. The win was also Busch’s 50th career MENCS win – 46 of his career MENCS victories came behind the wheel of a Camry.
· Busch led 92 laps (of 400) in the event after starting from the rear of the field to win the race – which he also did to win the spring MENCS race at Richmond Raceway earlier this season.
· With the victory, Toyota swept all four NASCAR national series races at Richmond Raceway in 2018 with Busch winning both Cup events and Camry driver Christopher Bell winning both Xfinity Series events.
· Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. finished third after winning both stages in Saturday night’s MENCS event at Richmond – collecting his 17th top-five of the 2018 season.
· Toyota playoffs contenders Erik Jones (11th) and Denny Hamlin (16th) placed inside the top-20 at Richmond.
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 1st
Were you nervous coming down the stretch battling Brad Keselowski and with Kevin Harvick coming?
“That was too close for my comfort. I thought we were a little bit better than that on the long run. I know (Kevin) Harvick, that’s kind of his specialty, but we had a really, really good race car tonight. The M&M’s Camry was awesome. The guys did a great job coming back from a dismal qualifying effort and prepared a really good race car here for us tonight. And, being able to start dead last and come up through the field and win this thing, that’s right Rowdy nation. All for you baby.”
Were you thinking of advancing to the second round and not having to worry about the Roval in your battle with Brad Keselowski?
“Actually, no, I never thought of it once. I just wanted to go out there and win this thing. Win this thing for M&M’s, win this thing for my team, Toyota — everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota. Obviously, it’s a whole team effort. We were a little bit behind yesterday in qualifying and the guys did a great job rallying and being able to put it together and giving us a really fast race car for tonight. Appreciate you guys, everybody at Richmond, thanks for coming out. Awesome race track and I love coming here. Hey, I finally won a fall race in Richmond. What do you know?”
How impressed are you to sweep Richmond this year with 32nd and 39th starting spots in both races?
“Yeah, I’m not going to qualify here anymore (laughter). It’s a waste of time for us. I don’t know why, I just can not qualify here, but we’ve got a really good race car when it comes down time to have a race and especially the later it gets. (Kevin) Harvick was getting me a little bit there at the end, but I think I was running myself pretty hard with Brad (Keselowski) a little bit earlier than that so I think he had a little bit more than I had there later in the game. This M&M’s Toyota Camry was awesome tonight. I can’t thank Adam Stevens (crew chief) and all my guys enough. Great job at working on this thing and getting it put back together today and being able to get it ready for tonight to be a great race car. Also want to thank NOS Energy Drink, Rheem, Stanley, DVX Eyewear, Black Clover and of course the fans, Rowdy nation. It’s awesome to come out here. I saw a lot of 18 gear here this weekend so really fun to see that and be able to put on a good show coming from the back all the way up to the front and being able to win for all those guys.”
Do you have a headache after this race?
“No, my back is killing me. You’re so on edge here that you’re just trying to feel the race car the entire time and you’re clenched, and you can never let go. You can never relax and it’s just that way the entirety of this race. Long runs like that, it wears on you a little bit especially when you get to be an old man.”
What did you do to make your Camry so good in the second half of the race?
“My guys. Adam Stevens (crew chief) and my guys that work on this thing. Obviously, I kind of put us a little bit behind there yesterday in qualifying getting into the wall and had to go to work this afternoon and put me back together an awesome race car. So, real proud of the effort and real proud of my guys. This M&M’s Toyota Camry was really good tonight. Early on in the race, the first run of the race especially when the track hasn’t quite cooled off yet you’re always kind of fighting those things of just not a lot of grip. There through the middle part of the race, I think we really had a race car to contend for the win and we kind of drove up there. We kept making up spots and making up ground and I was surprised that it was going as fast as it was going. And, then there at the end racing as hard as I had to race with the 2 (Brad Keselowski) car just wore my stuff out a little bit. But, once I was able to get by him I had some clean race track for a little while and then (Kevin) Harvick started running me down there at the end. I don’t know, 10 more laps and it was going to be a race so I’m glad this thing is only 400.”
ADAM STEVENS, crew chief, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What does it mean to get the victory tonight with Kyle Busch going from last to first place?
“That was a really strong effort there by our whole team. Kind of got behind the eight-ball banging the ball there in qualifying, but there’s no quit in these guys, no quit in KB (Kyle Busch). I think we’re setup here for a push to the finish.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR, No. 78 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota Camry, Furniture Row Racing
Finishing Position: 3rd
Did you think you could have got back up to the front of the field if you had a few more laps left?
“Another pit stop maybe. We used it up there at the end trying to get — I think we restarted eighth on the outside and to get back to third we were kind of used up at the end. But, man, what an awesome race car the guys brought here. The Auto-Owners Toyota was fast. It was really good all day. Just man, I don’t know what we’ve got to do to win this race. We’ve probably led more than anyone here ever that’s not won it. It’s crazy, but it wasn’t meant to be tonight. Hell of an effort by the guys and good recovery by the guys on pit road. Thanks to all you guys back in Denver working your butts off to bring these fast cars and just keep digging and we’re moving on. So, that’s the name of the game and hopefully we’ll get the win when we really need it.”
What will the Roval race be like for you given your situation?
“Yippee! Here we go. It’s going to be fun. I mean, I feel really bad for the guys that are going to go in there and have to do something. I think everybody is scared to death of that place. We’re going to go and have some fun and see if we can’t get some points.”
What was it like coming back through the field after the penalty in the pits?
“It’s definitely tough. The problem is when you get back there to pass those guys you really got to use up your tires. We did really good for only having one caution thrown in there. It went well. We needed more cautions so we could pit for tires. Man, what a hot rod we had tonight. I’m happy with what the guys brought here. They rebounded well from the pit road mishap. Just one of those deals. I don’t know what we’ve got to do to win at this place, but man, we sure have been close. I feel like we deserve it, but you’ve got to do everything right. That’s the name of the game and we didn’t do it tonight. All in all it was a success. We got some bonus points and we’re moving on to the next round so we don’t have to sweat the Roval next week. We can go and have some fun and try to get some more playoff points, bonus points and maybe try to go get a trophy.”