Toyota Racing Post-Qualifying Report
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Michigan International Speedway – June 8, 2019
TOYOTA STARTING POSITIONS
1st, Joey Logano*
2nd, Aric Almirola*
3rd, Kevin Harvick*
4th, DENNY HAMLIN
5th, Clint Bowyer*
14th, ERIK JONES
15th, KYLE BUSCH
16th, MARTIN TRUEX JR
29th, MATT DIBENEDETTO
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Qualifying Position: 4th
What do you expect from Sunday’s race?
“Cars will be closer together and who knows how passing is going to be. It looked like it was a little tough in practice, but certainly we’re running a lot of on-throttle time. We’ll just sort of see how the race plays out and then we’ll know better for the second race when we come back.”
Are there any notes from previous races that can be used this season?
“It’s been totally different. Really no notes have been able to be used from previous years other than maybe a little in the short tracks. The mile-and-a-half and two-mile stuff has all been completely different and that’s been the biggest challenge.”
How strong is the Joe Gibbs Racing organization this season?
“The organization is really running well, and it seems like one of our cars is hitting it every week, even though we may not show it in practice. Hopefully, we’re the ones that got it right this week. We’re going to have a good qualifying spot so we’re optimistic that we’ll have a good day on Sunday.”
ERIK JONES, No. 20 Craftsman/Sport Clips Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Qualifying Position: 14th
How special is it to race at your home track here in Michigan?
“It always is, coming back here. Being at home and staying with the family and seeing all the people that come out and support this race is always a good feeling. I’ve always wanted to race here growing up and now I have my opportunity in the Cup Series. To come here always feels good. Would definitely love to get a win here at some point in my career in the Cup Series.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Hazelnut Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Qualifying Position: 15th
How was your car in practice yesterday and what do you expect in Sunday’s race?
“Our M&M’s Hazelnut Camry was pretty good in practice and it was really good by itself. Really good out front and led pretty well. Had decent speed up there, but after a few laps, guys were able to attack us and get to our side – stuff like that. Traffic was not very good, it was really, really hard to keep in the wake of the guys in front of you and be able to make time on him. Then to be able to get a good enough and big enough run to make a pass.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Auto Owners Insurance Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Qualifying Position: 16th
What do you expect in Sunday’s race?
“It’s hard to tell today, qualifying is wide open and pretty easy here. It felt good today and yesterday we had a decent practice. We started off pretty good and the track changed quite a bit as we ran. Then we got off a little, but I feel good about what we have. It’s going to be a big challenge to make moves tomorrow and make the right moves. It seems like this place here, you almost get penalized when you beat someone through the corner getting underneath them. You try to pass somebody and if they screw up getting into the corner or whatever, you can get under them and then you get on the straightaway and six cars pass you. It’s a frustrating place to race because of that. Hopefully, the groove moves up, that’s what we really need to happen, so we’ll see how that works out.”
MATT DiBENEDETTO, No. 95 Toyota Express Toyota Camry, Leavine Family Racing
Qualifying Position: 29th
How was your car in qualifying and do you expect this race to be similar to a superspeedway race?
“It’s okay, qualifying hasn’t been so much of our strong suit, but the Toyotas seem to race well and hopefully we can go into attack mode in the race. That’s the main priority. This race isn’t going to race totally like a superspeedway race because that dirty air you get in the corners from the big spoilers and stuff – these cars are just too aero-dependent. In the corners, it will be hard when you get stuck behind people in a dirty wake of air. It’s the same battles we’ve had all year. It will be tough, but I think you’ll get a suck-up on the straightaways for sure. That might make you have to play a little defense to the guy behind you and things like that. It is tough in the corners, you can get stuck behind people that you might be significantly faster than and that’s just a product of the fact that in my opinion, big spoilers don’t belong on stock cars and it makes it tough to pass.”