Toyota MENCS Richmond Raceway – Qualifying Recap

Toyota Racing Post-Qualifying Report
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Richmond Raceway – April 12, 2019

1st, Kevin Harvick*
3rd, Kurt Busch*
4th, Joey Logano*
*non-Toyota driver


ERIK JONES, No. 20 DeWalt Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Qualifying Position: 2nd

Is this a qualifying format you think could work or is it a, ‘wait and see what happens in two weeks situation?’

“You probably have it right there, see what happens in two weeks. Short tracks, I think it’s fine. It’s a little hectic in the first round and even in the second round, but it’s easy for me to say. We had a great pit stall being first out. I could just roll out and here it doesn’t benefit you to wait so you just roll out and get your lap in. Other than that, I don’t know. I don’t think it’s going to solve any mile-and-a-half issues having a short round for sure.”

Could it penalize you on a short track depending on your pit stall from qualifying draw?

“It could. I would say that if I was down at the end of pit road, I might not have the same sentiment about it. I think if you’re fast, I don’t know where the others were starting on pit road that are in the top-12, but I think if you’re fast you’re going to find a way either way no matter if you have to wait or if you can go right away.”

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Qualifying Position: 5th

Talk us through qualifying and what you thought of the new format.

It’s a hurry. It’s hectic that’s for sure. The biggest thing is there’s no time for reruns anymore. You’ve kind of got what you got. If you mess up or your car is off balance or whatever, you’re pretty much screwed.”

Doesn’t the new qualifying format benefit really good drivers or really good teams and drivers that can adapt?

“I think it benefits the good crew chiefs more than anything. Them having a good understanding and a good guess to give you what you need for qualifying for that first round.”

MARTIN TRUEX JR, No. 19 Auto Owners Insurance Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Qualifying Position: 6th

How was the new qualifying format today?

“It wasn’t a huge deal here. Some tracks they get to be a lot bigger deal. It was fine. We luckily got out there and got us a clean lap in each round. I think that was really the main concern especially the first round. It’s a lot of cars to get out there in five minutes and you just don’t want to get held up by anybody. We found a good spot. We rolled right out. Luckily our draw on pit road was good enough. We were 11th I think in line so we were able to get out there in that first wave which was good. They were all good cars in front of us.”

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

Qualifying Position: 18th

“Well the track definitely changed. With the rain it was a clean race track so anybody that’s pitted at the front of pit road’s got a huge advantage because they can go out. We were dead last here on pit road. We had to wait on everyone to go and by then it gets rubbered up – the track really changes and slows down. That and with the compressed round one, we only have five minutes to go. We were late to go out in the first round. That made us late to start our tire pressures and then had to go in the second round. The time crunch…we couldn’t get out there early in round two and that really kind of deteriorated the handling of our car. Overall, we felt pretty happy with it in race trim, but we’ll battle from 18th with this FedEx Camry and see if we can’t win tomorrow.”


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