Brian Vickers (fifth) was the highest finishing Toyota driver in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Camry drivers Kyle Busch (11th), Joey Logano (14th), Kasey Kahne (15th), Martin Truex Jr. (16th) and Bobby Labonte (19th) also earned top-20 finishes in the 317-mile event.
The Camrys of Vickers (four), Kahne (43) and Truex (three) all led laps in today’s 300-lap race.
Other Toyota drivers in the field included David Reutimann (28th), Denny Hamlin (29th), Joe Nemechek (36th), Michael McDowell (37th) and Casey Mears (42nd).
Busch gained three positions and is now sixth in the unofficial NSCS point standings — 26 points behind leader Tony Stewart — after two of 10 Chase for the Sprint Cup races. Hamlin remains 12th in the standings — 66 points behind the leader.
BRIAN VICKERS, No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Finishing Position: 5th Are you happy with your fifth-place finish today? “Yeah, it was a good run for us. The Red Bull Toyota guys did a good job all day. We were good in the first stint, but not great. We over adjusted and got way too loose in the second or third stint and lost our track position. The last two runs we were awesome. The car was so good, probably one of the better cars on the track. We had to pass 20 cars just to get back to the top-five and ran out of time, but I’m really proud of the effort by everyone.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 11th How was your car today? “We just fought hard all day long with our M&M’s Camry. We got the car to where we were fast in the early part of the run, but we fell off a little too much as the run went along. Our car was good entry and center, but it was just so tight in the center all day long that it made it really hard. Track position was important today and I just have to thank the guys for hanging in there with me and fighting hard all day long. We survived and we’ll go on to Dover which is usually a much better place for me.”
DAVE ROGERS, crew chief, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing How was the race car today? “I think our Toyota Camry was fairly decent, but it’s a track position race track. We started the race on the outside groove and ran up two or three laps. Usually at a kind of place like this or Martinsville and you do that, it really beats up your tires. We fought that the first run and fought loose the first half of the run and then the car went tight. We were pretty much tight the rest of the day and couldn’t get it out. Kyle (Busch) was trying to get everything he could get on the final run coming to the pit stall and can’t fault the guy for giving you 100 percent, but he slid through the pits and kept us from getting our final adjustment to free the car up. Then Kyle drove the wheels off it early in the run. We were making up some ground and it was looking really good. We used our stuff up a little bit and fell off there at the end. Still not a bad day for New Hampshire. This is probably the track that we feared the most coming to — it just doesn’t fit our style. Haven’t quite had the right setup here. We’ll take it and move on to Dover where we’ve had more success and see what we can do there.”
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 14th How did your car handle in today’s race? “We had some handling issues there early in the run and we finally got the Home Depot car running pretty well. On one of those restarts I just got caught on the backstretch between two of the cars around me — can’t say it was anyone’s fault but just close racing. We got some fender damage and that hurt us. We were able to fix the damage and played the fuel mileage pretty good and definitely better than others so we were able to get a 14th-place finish. So given everything that happened today 14th feels pretty good.”
KASEY KAHNE, No. 4 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Finishing Position: 15th
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 16th How did race strategy come into play for you? “Our strategy at the end didn’t work out as we had hoped. We were hoping for a caution to come out shortly after our final stop with about 50 to go, but it didn’t pan out. Only a few teams ran out at the end. Track position here is so tough because we all are pretty much running the same lap times. Our NAPA Toyota needed to turn better today. We were just too tight in the center. We’ve got some work to do on these flat tracks. We’re not quite where we need to be, but we’ll get it figured out.”
BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Bush’s Baked Beans/Kingsford Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Finishing Position: 19th
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 28th
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 29th Did you think you had enough fuel to make it to the end of the race? “We thought we were good and that’s just strategy racing nowadays. We just came up short right there. The only thing I can think of is we were on a little bit of a cleaner race track that last run, but that was the worst fuel mileage we got all day and I was backing my corner up quite a bit. There’s only two things, either we weren’t getting the fuel mileage we thought or we didn’t get it full or I just used too much. We’ve got to work through it. Another tough day for us, but we’re just figuring out what we need to do to be a little bit more competitive.”
MIKE FORD, crew chief, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Were you surprised that you ran out of gas? “These track positions tracks — if you don’t qualify good then you find yourself playing catch-up all day. We went off the mileage we were seeing all day and took a gamble on mileage, which didn’t seem like a gamble. I fully expected to have about three laps extra, but one of two things — either didn’t have the fuel cell completely full the last run or obviously we didn’t get as good of mileage. I know Denny (Hamlin) was doing a good job of keeping everything backed up and you wouldn’t expect that. It was kind of a shocker. I didn’t expect to even be that close.”
How will you build the momentum back in your team after today? “You could hold a pep rally, but it’s not going to do anything for you. Everybody goes to the race track wanting to win. They know what you’re up against. We took a shot at getting a top-five and it didn’t pan out.”
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 36th
MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 66 HP RACING Toyota Camry, Gunselman Motorsports Finishing Position: 37th
CASEY MEARS, No. 13 GEICO Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Finishing Position: 42nd