Toyota NSCS Homestead Post-Race Notes & Quotes
by Official Release On Sun, Nov. 18, 2012
Post-Race Notes & Quotes
Homestead-Miami Speedway – November 18, 2012
Clint Bowyer (second) was the first Toyota Camry driver to the checkered flag in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Camry drivers Kyle Busch (second) and Martin Truex Jr. (sixth) also earned top-10 results at the one-and-a-half- mile Florida oval.
Busch started eighth and led the field six times for a race-high 191 laps (of 267) in the 400-mile event.
Other Camry drivers in the field at Homestead included Joey Logano (14th), Mark Martin (16th), Denny Hamlin (24th), Bobby Labonte (25th), Travis Kvapil (26th), Landon Cassill (27th), David Stremme (38th) and Mike Bliss (43rd).
Five Camry drivers finished the 2012 season in the top-20 in the unofficial NSCS point standings, including Bowyer (second), Hamlin (sixth), Truex (11th), Busch (13th) and Logano (17th).
CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 2nd How was your race? “We had a decent car. We didn’t have the strongest car, but we had a really good car. (Brian) Pattie (crew chief) and everybody at TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and all of these guys on this 5-hour ENERGY Toyota really work hard on fuel mileage. It paid off there at the end. I hated to lose — nonetheless, it was a good year for us and a good finish for us and just a good way to cap off a great year.”
Did you think finishing second in the points was a possibility when you made the move to Michael Waltrip Racing? “You just hope to run that good and hope to land with a good family and a good team. Everybody at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) — all three of these cars — Martin Truex (Jr.), Mark Martin and I are just fortunate to drive these race cars. Good cars each and every week. Like I said, it’s a long, hard road, this season is and it feels good to finally be over with.”
What were your feelings following the race? “Frustrated and bummed out. I would’ve loved to have won that race, especially to beat him (Jeff Gordon). To end up second and second in points. There were several points in that race where I thought we were good and then we lost all of those positions on pit road and the 5 (Kasey Kahne) car was leading and I was like, ‘Well, there goes third. Now where is fourth? How am I going to lose fourth?’ To be able to bounce back through all of the adversity and overcome all of that and finish second is just a great feeling. I’m proud of Brian Pattie (crew chief) and all of the guys on the 5-hour ENERGY Toyota. They work hard and they deserve good finishes like this.”
What was the racing like today? “It was fun. This is a neat mile-and-a-half race track. I think one of the best that we come to. Just so many options. You slip and slide around, and that outside line because it’s got the most banking is somewhat of a preferred line, but you can definitely slide people. It kind of reminds me of an old dry, slick dirt track. You’ve just got to make sure you slide them far enough and get that thing to stick once you get in front of them. Because a lot of times you’ll slide up there and you might get in the wall or might spin out in front of them and take you both out. I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen them go good and go bad.”
What does it mean to finish second in point standings? “It’s huge. To end up second in points and beat guys like Jimmie Johnson to do it. There’s several races — had I had to do over again — I wish they would’ve been different. Talladega was the biggest one. We just got behind at Talladega and never could really bounce back. I’m proud of everybody, because we were there all season long.”
What do you think of how the championship played out? “Congratulations to Brad Keselowski. I watched that deal with him and his family — his parents — and it’s just a cool story. We’ll have a new face as the champion of this sport. I would’ve liked for it to have been me, but I’m super proud of him and all of his efforts. He was strong when it counted and we all did a good job. We all had a great year. I’m proud of my MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) team.”
MICHAEL WALTRIP, owner, Michael Waltrip Racing How much does it mean to your organization to finish second in the point standings? “I’m glad we finished second in the points — Clint Bowyer and Brian Pattie (crew chief) and all of these guys on this team. It’s been so much fun to be a part of. We thought when we started 2012 that we were going to be a lot better than we had ever been before. I see a lot of smiles around from folks wearing MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) shirts and that’s a great feeling. What happened last week stinks, but at least we overcame it. We thought it cost us a chance for second in the points, which hurt. We didn’t come down here thinking we were going to finish second, but I’ll be darn, here we are.”
What has been your favorite part of having drivers competing for a championship? “To be so close and to see how much excitement and enthusiasm it puts in everyone’s spirit. It’s so fun. I love it. I’ve never even glimpsed it before and now I’ve got to see if first hand. We exceeded expectations in 2012 at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing). So, you know what you do then? You reset your expectations. So, we’ll have to say we’ve got to win something next year — maybe be the champions next year. Certainly wouldn’t be realistic I don’t think, whereas if we said that coming into this year you would’ve thought I was really crazy.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 4th How was your run with such a dominating car? “I think I’ve said it the last five weeks right — that’s our year — that’s our year again tonight. Amazing race car. These guys work so hard all year long and it’s just a shame that we’re not able to come out here and be able to put it to victory lane like we should and like we know how to do. And, we executed and showed all day long we could. This M&M’s Toyota was awesome. Can’t say enough about them. Just all of our guys that work so hard like I said. My car chief (Wes Sherrill) — it’s his last day today — so we’re going to miss him. We’ll have to see what we look forward to next year.”
How does it feel to end the season with some strong performances? “We feel great with it. It’s just this car is obsolete so it doesn’t mean anything anymore. We did show great pride and great courage the way that we ran in the last few weeks and that we didn’t give up. We just came through and worked really hard. The guys gave me an awesome car today. I can’t say enough about it. It just didn’t have enough there at the end to play the fuel mileage game. Guess we should have thought about that a little bit more.”
At what point did you realize it was going to turn into a fuel mileage race? “You never really know until it comes down to the end, but at about 30 or 40 to go I started thinking, ‘Okay, how many of those guys can make it that pitted late?’ Then, you never know if there’s going to be a caution or if something is going to happen and there never was. You were always hoping that they find some piece of debris.”
Are you looking forward to the 2013 car? “Yes and no. It’s a shame we don’t get to race this one anymore because we’re so good with it right now. But, we’ll just have to work hard at getting the 2013 car ready to go right off the bat.”
What do you think of how the championship played out tonight? “I don’t know what happened, but I guess he (Jimmie Johnson) had engine problems so that’s tough. That’s not been the story of the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) car, that’s for sure. He’s always had the luck on his side. It’s a shame to see those guys go down without giving a fight to the 2 (Brad Keselowski) car and the 2 car taking it home. The 2 ran good, ran strong, was smart, ran fast through the Chase when he needed to and won when he needed to. They deserve it.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 6th How disappointing was this evening’s finish? “Run top-two all day and finished sixth. Story of our season. I don’t even know what to do about it. We didn’t even finish top-10 in points — which sucks. We outrun the 24 (Jeff Gordon) all day and then he wins the race and beats us — and now we’re not in the top-10 in points and it sucks. Should have won four races this year and we just keep giving them away.”
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot/redbeacon.com Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 14th
MARK MARTIN, No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 16th How was your race? “Man, what a great season. I’m very proud of all that we accomplished this season. These guys are an absolute joy to work with. We were loose on the bottom and plowed at the top of the track today. We just never got a handle on it all. We tried, but just couldn’t get it. ”
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 24th
BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Clorox Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Finishing Position: 25th
TRAVIS KVAPIL, No. 93 Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing Finishing Position: 26th
LANDON CASSILL, No. 83 Burger King Toyota Camry, BK Racing Finishing Position: 27th
DAVID STREMME, No. 30 Swan Racing Toyota Camry, Inception Motorsports Finishing Position: 38th
MIKE BLISS, No. 19 Plinker Tactical Toyota Camry, TriStar Motorsports Finishing Position: 43rd