Toyota NSCS Daytona Post-Race Notes & Quotes

by Official Release On Sun, Feb. 24, 2013

TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS)
Post-Race Notes & Quotes
Daytona International Speedway – February 24, 2013

Mark Martin was the first Camry driver to the finish line in this afternoon’s Daytona 500.

Toyota drivers Clint Bowyer (11th), Denny Hamlin (14th) and Bobby Labonte (15th) registered top-15 finishes.

Camry driver Matt Kenseth led a race-high 86 laps, before retiring from the field on lap 149 (of 200).

Toyota drivers that led laps in today’s Daytona 500 included Hamlin (33 laps) and Travis Kvapil (one lap).

Other Camry drivers in today’s race included David Reutimann (16th), Michael Waltrip (22nd), Martin Truex Jr. (24th),

Travis Kvapil (25th), Kyle Busch (34th), Matt Kenseth (37th) and Joe Nemechek (43rd).

MARK MARTIN, No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position:  3rd
How was today’s race?
“First of all, I want to thank all the fans for all their support.  It was a great run for our Aaron’s Toyota.  The guys gave me a good race car.  We tore a bunch up early in the week and they had me a good piece for the (Daytona) 500.  I appreciate it. I was so close there.  I just couldn’t get the run.  Brad (Keselowski) was giving me some shots, but I wanted it off of (turn) four and not into (turn) one.  I was afraid to go too soon and lose my chance.  It was a good run for us — I’m real happy.”

How much of a factor was the driver today, and how much was the race car?
“If I said it was all me, I would be lying.  There’s a lot of luck involved in all that and I have to be thankful for Michael Waltrip Racing — and this 2013 Camry was fantastic — and thank Aaron’s and Rodney Childers (crew chief).  I was definitely not going to push the effort too much early — I really wanted to be in it at the end.  We managed to get there. We were in the mix — just not quite there.  But, if Brad (Keselowski) could have got me a run.  He gave me a shove into (turn) one twice, but I didn’t want to go into (turn) one — I wanted to come off of (turn) four or at least go into (turn) three. We were yo-yoing — he would get up on me and we would get a run and then he’d fall back and it was coming and going. We were close, just didn’t get the run off of (turn) four.”

What were you able to learn in the race?
“You have to watch the race and you have to watch what everybody else does.  I didn’t experiment a lot, but I learned everything I needed to know without having to pay the price for it.  We ran a really smart race.  Rodney Childers (crew chief) called a great race.  Our strategy was try to be there on the last two laps and be in the thick of it, and there we were.”

What was the racing like today?
“It was okay.  The car is actually less stable in a big pack than what we’ve had.  We had to keep ourselves separated a little bit more for good measure until it came down to the end and then nobody cared.  Wrecking was okay.  You had to give each other a little more room — that’s due to the little spoiler.  When we get in these things next week, they are going to be stuck like glue and we’re going to be breaking track records.  Kudos to the Gen-6.”

CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position:  11th
How was the race?
“It definitely could have been worse.  You only have one shot at this race every year.  Another year gone by.  Not a fast race car.  Had some troubles with some of my teammates and even some of our other manufacturer buddies.  I guess we have to be lucky that we finished.  All in all, it was a decent day for our 5-hour ENERGY Toyota.”

How was the handling of your race car?
“We were handling fine — I just never could start on the outside.  That outside just prevailed so much more.  The one time the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) was down there and we were able to go with Denny (Hamlin) and him and myself — we could kind of make that bottom work and that was about it.”

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position:  14th

BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Kroger Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing
Finishing Position:  15th

DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 83 Burger King Toyota Camry, BK Racing
Finishing Position:  16th

MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 26 Sandy Hook School Support Fund Toyota Camry, Swan Racing
Finishing Position:  22nd
How was your Daytona 500?
“It was a great day.  We got up front and we were able to use some strategy and get up in the top-five and top-10.  I know when we led that lap I heard a big cheer and I think it came all the way from Newtown, Connecticut.  That was special for me to give those folks something to smile about.  I hope running up front today made them happy.  I have to thank everyone for letting me do this.  It’s been a fun couple of weeks for me down here.  You don’t get to do stuff like this forever so I don’t take it for granted.  I’m thankful.”

How was the 2013 race car?
“They are going to be fast when we get to Phoenix next week.  There’s a lot that we have to learn about them.  It’s like getting a new toy — you don’t how to play with it just right yet.  I can’t wait to see the racing this year — it’s going to be good.”

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position:  24th
How was your Daytona 500?
“We had a shot at it.  We were in the hunt and that’s all any driver can ask for.  We were in position there. I am not sure what else we could have done.  Up until then, everything was perfect.  Toyota has been a great partner to us so I am sure they will look at our car as well as the (Joe) Gibbs (Racing) cars who had trouble too and get us all back up and running for next week. It was a lot of fun out there driving this new NAPA Toyota.  NASCAR’s Gen-6 is raising the bar for us so hopefully Phoenix will be our race.  Time to go racing.”

TRAVIS KVAPIL, No. 93 Burger King Toyota Camry, BK Racing
Finishing Position:  25th

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position:  34th
What happened to force you out from the race?
“I don’t know.  Just broke an engine for some reason.  Just unfortunate that this whole team has got to go through this stuff.  We got bottled up back in traffic a little bit there.  I hate it that I wrecked the 5 (Kasey Kahne) and the rest of those guys that were racing around us.  But, unfortunate for us we broke pieces.”

Do you know what broke?
“Just broke something inside the motor.  There’s pieces that are supposed to stay together and they didn’t stay together.  I hate it for this whole team.  These guys — they do a great job and work too hard and it sounds a lot like 2012 already.”

Are there any positives you can take from this race?
“No.  It just shows you how much more devastation there is to it when you can have cars like that and running that fast and that they stay up front and their good.  All of the guys at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) built an awesome piece.  All three of us have been fast since we’ve been down here.  The best we’ve qualified here in a while, so kudos to all of the guys building these cars, but we’ve got to have engines that last.”

MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position:  37th
What happened to sideline you from the race?
“I’m not sure if it’s an engine or a transmission — if it’s a transmission we’ll get out, but if it’s an engine then obviously we won’t.  Disappointing end to a great day.  I really want to thank Joe Gibbs, Toyota, Dollar General and Home Depot for all them guys getting together and putting this deal together for me.  We were obviously one of the cars to beat today and I think we’re going to be a force all year.  We have a lot to look forward to.”

MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing (continued)
What happened to your teammate?
“I saw the 18 (Kyle Busch) go by — I don’t know what happened to him.  Obviously, we have to work and make it to the end of these races — you can’t drop out and win championships.  I feel like we have a great package at Joe Gibbs Racing and these guys did an awesome job all winter and hopefully we’ll get it fixed.  If we don’t, we’ll look forward to getting to Phoenix”

What was the racing like today?
“It’s been about pit stops and restarts — it’s really been about track position.  You had to make your move in the first four or five laps on a restart to really be able to make anything happen.  Fortunately, I was toward the front most of the day so I’m not really sure what it was like towards the back.  Like I said, our Dollar General Camry was really fast.  Just disappointed that it’s here in the garage.”

Is it disappointing knowing you had a car that could win?
“It’s disappointing obviously, but it’s also really encouraging.  I thought we did all the right things.  We had a great pit stop right there at the end — I thought Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) had a great pit stop there at the end when we needed it. He just had a great strategy.  Our Toyota was really fast.  We had all the right things — we just didn’t make it to the end. Those are things we can fix.  Really excited with how we ran and really thankful to be part of this team and just looking forward to getting to Phoenix.”

How was your first race with Joe Gibbs Racing?
“I know we’re sitting in the garage so everyone is going to thing we’re bummed out and I am, but I can’t be any more thankful or excited honestly.  I don’t think the week could have gone any better.  Our finishing position doesn’t show it, but it’s just a great group — really, really fast race cars if you have really fast race cars and we get some reliability stuff fixed then we’re going to win races and hopefully contend for championships.”

How are you still in such a good mood?
“It could have been worse — we could have ran last all day and be sitting in the garage.  There’s a lot to look forward to. As disappointed as I am, it would be easy to be disappointed and throw my Gatorade at you or whatever.  Man, there’s a lot to look forward to.  I just can’t help sitting here thinking how thankful I am that they put this together for me and just can’t wait to get to Phoenix.”

JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 Florida DOT/D.A.B. Constructors Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports
Finishing Position:  43rd

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