Denny Hamlin (second) was the highest finishing Camry driver in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Hew Hampshire Motor Speedway.
David Reutimann (seventh) and Kyle Busch (ninth) also recorded top-10 results for Toyota at the one-mile oval in Loudon, N.H.
Other Camry drivers in the field included Martin Truex Jr. (20th), Robby Gordon (26th), Reed Sorenson (27th), Marcos Ambrose (30th), Joey Logano (35th), Scott Speed (36th), Casey Mears (38th), Joe Nemechek (40th), Mike Bliss (41st) and Landon Cassill (42nd).
Hamlin maintains the unofficial points lead with a 35 point advantage over second-place and race-winner Clint Bowyer after race one of 10 in the 2010 Chase for the Sprint Cup playoff. Fellow Camry driver and JGR teammate, Busch is fourth (-62 points).
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Small Business Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 2nd How was your car after the spin? “Yeah, our car was good. We just fought restarts all day. It took us half the race or three quarters of the race, actually, to get up front to the two, three or four and then as soon as we got there, we got spun. So it was so frustrating on my part to have to battle back from 22nd there with 80 (laps) to go. And just Mike (Ford, crew chief) worked on the car and got it super fast there at the end. I was just trying to make those guys run as hard as I could, but it wasn’t enough.” Were you surprised with the amount of gambling going on in this race? “I was very surprised, really, to see how aggressive guys were on restarts. It is such a balance, because you’ve got guys like Jamie (McMurray) that are like, ‘win, win, win, win,’ and we’re like, ‘you know, I just don’t want to get hit on restarts.’ I’m just trying to not get run over and whatnot. So it’s a balance out there. And this is one of the toughest tracks to have restarts. So I was really worried about this track in particular, getting out of here unscathed, and we didn’t, but we just battled back right there. So overall it was pretty surprising to me to see really how aggressive it was. Are you disappointed you didn’t win or satisfied that you leave with the points lead? “The 33 (Clint Bowyer) had a really good car today, the 1 (Jamie McMurray), the 14 (Tony Stewart). Those three cars I felt like were the best cars all day. We never really got to show where our car was at. As soon as we got to the top three is when we got spun. We clawed and scratched our way to the front all day to get in position with 80 to go to go for a win. Luckily, it’s a double-edged sword, it made us come in, we had to get fuel and get tires and it gave us the fuel for the end. Typically, our Toyota gets really good gas mileage, so I knew we were going to be fine on fuel right there at the end. Top-six was where I wanted to leave this day, and so first mission accomplished.” Could you have won today’s race? “I needed one more lap. We gained a ton right there. It’s tough to say, once he (Tony Stewart) ran out of fuel — the way they were running, I’m not sure how much they were conserving if any, but our cars with a really fast the last run, and obviously the fastest car on the track, but yeah, it was — I guess Carl (Edwards) just got loose. He hit us and we saved it, and I moved way up the track, because, you know, just in case somebody else was up under there, and then he just hit us a ton again.” How does this finish affect your confidence for the remainder of the Chase? “It’s good. It gives me somewhat of a buffer at Dover. We all know how Dover is for me. We’ve just got to minimize a bad day again at Dover next week. That’s our goal. You’ve got to set a number, a number that you’re satisfied with, and try to reach that goal at Dover next week. So the good news is we finished I think third or fourth there in the spring which is a heck of a lot better than 22nd and two laps down last year in the Chase race. Just if we can get past Dover, we’ve got a lot of really good tracks for us.” How do you think you’ll perform at Dover after finishing second at New Hampshire? “The number in which I hope to run just moved up like five spots. So that’s just what we have to do. And it’s not that we just run bad at Dover every time, it’s just every time I went there, I either wrecked or broke something or ran terrible. So with the exception of the spring, that’s about the only good run I’ve had there, so, yeah, we do shift our expectations based off of this week.”
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 TUMS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 7th Are you satisfied with a seventh-place finish? “That was ugly, but I’ll take it. To struggle the way we did today and still come out of here with a seventh-place finish is pretty amazing. Our TUMS Toyota was loose in and off all day and really couldn’t get a handle on it. Rodney (Childers, crew chief) and Dax (Gerringer, race engineer) really did a great job working on our fuel and pit strategy. We took a pretty big gamble by staying out toward the end and not pitting, but with the way the cautions worked out it was pretty good — we saved fuel and picked up a top-10. I can’t thank our team enough for the job they did today and TUMS for their support.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 9th How was your race? “Where do I begin, I don’t know. I guess I’ll start with yesterday. I thought I was driving the car right and apparently I didn’t set the car up right. We were about two-tenths off yesterday and I thought it was just a factor of those guys getting more speed out of their cars. In essence it was off. We just didn’t get it setup right. It was mainly my fault. You know the guys fought hard and Dave (Rogers, crew chief) made some good calls. Any time that we got speed off the corner and then we missed it in the center of the corner — any time we got speed through the middle, we couldn’t get down the straightaways. We were battling back and forth with tight and loose. We just got what we could out of it today. Fortunately our bad day right now is ninth versus some other guys.” What happened when you spun and were hit from behind? “Both wrecks, there was a time when someone spun out in front of me but Jimmie Johnson never saw it and drove over the back of me and spun me out the second time. It’s just a product of not being able to see I reckon. Unfortunately we had to battle back and fight back through there. We were the best to recover of our spin but that was it.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 20th
ROBBY GORDON, No. 7 SpeedFactory.TV Toyota Camry, Robby Gordon Motorsports Finishing Position: 26th
REED SORENSON, No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Finishing Position: 27th
MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 47 Kingsford/Bush’s Baked Beans Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Finishing Position: 31st
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 35th
SCOTT SPEED, No. 82 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Finishing Position: 36th
CASEY MEARS, No. 13 GEICO Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Finishing Position: 38th
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 40th
MIKE BLISS, No. 55 Toyota Camry, PRISM Motorsports Finishing Position: 41st
LANDON CASSILL, No. 64 Little Joe’s Autos Toyota Camry, Gunselman Motorsports Finishing Position: 42nd