Jason Leffler (fourth) was the highest finishing Camry driver in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Gateway International Raceway.
Reed Sorenson (sixth) and Brad Coleman (eighth) also earned top-10 finishes at the 1.25-mile track located outside of St. Louis.
St. Louis-native Kenny Wallace finished 13th in a Toyota race car prepared for his Jay Robinson Racing team by his brother’s team, Rusty Wallace Racing.
Other Toyota drivers in the field included Steve Wallace (12th), Ryan Truex (15th), Michael Annett (21st), Matt DiBenedetto (24th), Brendan Gaughan (26th), Brad Sweet (31st), Scott Wimmer (32nd) and Kevin Lepage (39th).
JASON LEFFLER, No. 38 Great Clips Toyota Camry, Braun Racing Finished: 4th How exciting were the final laps of the Gateway race? “It was pretty wild. We had two (tires), guys behind us had four and the 32 (Reed Sorenson) had none. We all met there in the middle, especially off of (turn) two. The guys on the 38 car did a great job. We still have brake problems. My car is really good, but without that issue the brake problem we could have contended for the win here. I just had to slow down and run my pace and I couldn’t really run any faster than what I could run otherwise I would the rear brakes would lock up and I’d be in trouble. The guys did a great job on pit road. They did an awesome job. It was a clean race really for us. We get some of this stuff fixed and we’ll be up front all the time.”
REED SORENSON, No. 32 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Braun Racing Finished: 6th How was your race? “I really thought we had a chance there. This back up car didn’t see the track until our qualifying lap this morning. After qualifying 10th, I thought we’d be good but we fought a bad front-end bounce and a tight condition all race. The Dollar General guys never gave up and made a ton of adjustments every chance we had. I couldn’t talk to the team at least the last 50 laps or so because something was wrong with my radio. Those last laps I raced as hard as I could to keep the lead but couldn’t quite do it on our older tires. It was a long and challenging day but we fought hard for this top-10.”
BRAD COLEMAN, No. 18 Shore Lodge Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finished: 8th
STEVE WALLACE, No. 66 5-Hour Energy Toyota Camry, Rusty Wallace Racing Finished: 12th
KENNY WALLACE, No. 28 Illinois Corn Farmers Toyota Camry, Jay Robinson Racing with Rusty Wallace Racing Finished: 13th How was your race? “We had an eighth to tenth-place car and on the last pit stop under green we had a horrible pit stop. It was a bad time for a bad pit stop. We came into the pits 12th and went out 16th under green. That hurt us.” Did you enjoy today’s race with the car that Rusty Wallace Racing provided? “It was fun for me to be able to race for a top-10 cold turkey. I guess we could have tested, we never tested. It was fun to pass people and race. Obviously I’m a competitor and I don’t feel like — my problem is I don’t feel like I’ve lost anything. A finish of 13th is a little disappointing.” What are your thoughts on this final race at Gateway? “It was a great race. It couldn’t have been any better. I was within three spots of accomplishing my goal which was a top-10. I just hope the St. Louis people and everybody in the area, I hope they miss this race. I’m sure 20 years from now we’ll all look back and think one time we had a NASCAR race here, it’s a bummer we don’t have one anymore.”
RYAN TRUEX, No. 99 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Diamond-Waltrip Racing Finished: 15th How was your race? “We started off good. We got up and were running up there near the top-10. We were working on the car, trying to make it better. I ended up cutting down a left rear (tire) and then we were just playing catch up from there. I could never get back up there. At the end there we just kind of got trapped a lap down and couldn’t really do anything with it. A finish of 15th isn’t bad but I think we could have done better.”
MICHAEL ANNETT, No. 15 Pilot Flying J Coffee Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Finished: 21st
MATT DIBENEDETTO, No. 20 Bosch Spark Plugs Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finished: 24th
BRENDAN GAUGHAN, No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino Toyota Camry, Rusty Wallace Racing Finished: 26th What happened to take you out of the race? “I have no clue what happened on the last wreck. I was so far behind it. I had our Camry wowed down and then somebody got us from behind. St. Louis is a fun race track, it’s just tough on that front straightaway. Whoever started it, it’s just narrow. I thought I had it wowed down and got hit. That’s just kind of one of the bummers of racing here but it’s a great track, we’re going to miss it.”
BRAD SWEET, No. 11 Great Clips Toyota Camry, Braun Racing Finished: 31st What happened to take you out of the race? “Just the hole closed up there on the front stretch. I don’t even know what happened up there in the front. I came up before it and cars were going everywhere and I just locked up the brakes. I tried not to make any contact but too many cars came together at one time. It was too bad, the Great Clips car was just starting to get going there. It was half way and we got our car handling a little better and I thought we were going to be competitive there at the end.”
SCOTT WIMMER, No. 10 AccuDoc Solutions Toyota Camry, Braun Racing Finished: 32nd What happened to take you out of the race and are you okay? “Yeah, I’m fine. I have to thank Turner Motorsports and everybody that put this deal together. It was a pretty last minute deal. We didn’t qualify well and we got ourselves in pretty good track position there and were fighting real hard. I got loose and got tagged from behind. That’s what happens here, it’s tight coming off of (turn) four there. It’s going to be sad leaving this place. I ran first ASA race down here in 2000. I have to thank all these fans for coming out.”
KEVIN LEPAGE, No. 56 RaceDaySponsor.com Toyota Camry, Mac Hill Motorsports Finished: 39th