Kasey Kahne (12th) and Brian Vickers (13th) were the highest finishing Toyota drivers in Monday’s rain-delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Chicagoland Speedway.
Camry drivers Joey Logano (16th) and Martin Truex Jr. (18th) also earned top-20 finishes in the 400-mile event.
Toyota Chase drivers Kyle Busch (22nd) and Denny Hamlin (31st) competed in the first of 10 races in the championship playoff.
Truex led three times for 14 laps and Busch led once for seven laps in the 267-lap race.
Other Toyota drivers in the field included Casey Mears (29th), David Reutimann (32nd), Bobby Labonte (37th), Joe Nemechek (40th) and Michael McDowell (43rd).
Busch and Hamlin sit ninth and 12th, respectively, among the Chase competitors in the unofficial NSCS point standings.
KASEY KAHNE, No. 4 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Finishing Position: 12th How was your car in today’s race? “Oh man, I had a really, really good car. The team did a great job and the engine was awesome — everything was as good as it’s been all season long except I screwed up and hit the wall. When I did that, I messed the back of the car up pretty bad so we had to work on it the whole race trying to get our lap back. By the end we were actually really fast again, but the car was still screwed up from where it should have been. We had a winning team today and I just made a mistake and we didn’t get to run in the top five and shoot for that. But, we definitely had the best car we’ve had in a long time.”
Does the way you ran at Chicagoland give you confidence for Kansas and the other 1.5-mile tracks remaining this year? “For sure — Kansas, Homestead, Charlotte, Texas — I think all the tracks. I think we learned something this weekend a little bit. I feel like we’re definitely — this is the best I’ve felt leaving a track as far as feeling like we have something to shoot for now because of how good the car was even though we didn’t run that well — we didn’t finish where we wanted to or where we should have. I just know we made some gains and I think we’ll prove that here in the next few weeks.”
BRIAN VICKERS, No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Finishing Position: 13th How was your race? “It was okay, I was disappointed. I felt like we had a better car than that Saturday. We just never could get the most out of it today. The balance was right, we just didn’t have a lot of speed. We’d get a little tight and then a little loose and a little tight and kind of go back and forth on that. I felt very competitive in the corners with most of the guys I was racing with, we just couldn’t go any faster.”
Were you dealing with any fuel strategy in the closing laps? “Yeah, we were saving fuel at the end just like a lot of guys.”
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 16th
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 18th How do you feel about your race team after the way you ran throughout today’s race? “Chad (Johnston, crew chief) really did a great job adjusting on our NAPA Toyota. We had a top-five car there at the end, but just didn’t have the fuel mileage to gamble like the other teams did. We had to pit and we did not feel confident enough that we could save enough fuel to make it. I wish we had some better luck, but it is what it is. We’ve been struggling on the 1.5-mile tracks and to run and lead laps like we did says a lot about how hard we are working to improve our program. We ran strong in the second half today and that’s all I can ask for. We continue to improve and that’s a good thing at this point in our season.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Doublemint Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 22nd Did you run out of fuel at the end of the race? “We had a good car today and kept fighting back all day long. But, once we hit that debris it made the car really loose and I was doing the best I can. I still hoped we could finish in the top-10. I saved as much fuel as I could but I guess it just wasn’t enough and we ran out with two to go. Just really disappointing day.
CASEY MEARS, No. 13 GEICO Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Finishing Position: 29th
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 31st
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 TUMS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 32nd
BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Kleenex Cool Touch/Clorox Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Finishing Position: 37th
MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 66 HP RACING Toyota Camry, Gunselman Motorsports Finishing Position: 43rd
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 40th