Brian Vickers (fifth) was the highest finishing Toyota driver in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Talladega Superspeedway.
Camry drivers Kasey Kahne (sixth), Denny Hamlin (eighth), Michael Waltrip (ninth) and Martin Truex Jr. (10th) also claimed top-10 finishes in the 188-lap race.
The Camrys of Vickers (three), Kahne (four), Waltrip (one) and Kyle Busch (five) all led laps in the 500-mile race.
Other Toyota drivers in the field included David Reutimann (13th), Casey Mears (17th), Joey Logano (24th), Busch (33rd), Bobby Labonte (35th), Michael McDowell (40th), Joe Nemechek (41st) and Kevin Conway (43rd).
Busch dropped two positions and is now sixth in the unofficial NSCS point standings — 40 points behind leader Carl Edwards – after six of 10 Chase for the Sprint Cup races. Hamlin moved up one spot to 11th in the standings — 84 points behind the leader.
BRIAN VICKERS, No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Finishing Position: 5th How was your race today? “It was a long day. This racing is nerve-wracking. It takes about two hours to go to sleep after this because your mind is going 100 miles-per-hour. The Red Bull Camrys did a great job working together today. Kasey (Kahne) and I — whether he was in the lead or I was in the lead — we had to go to the back four or five times, but we always got back to the front. We got hooked up there at the end and some of the guys got on our door and the 33 (Clint Bowyer) and the 31 (Jeff Burton) were able to get away. Them and the 42 (Juan Pablo Montoya) and the 1 (Jamie McMurray) were the only pairs that could pass on the outside so we knew they were all going to be strong today coming to the end.”
KASEY KAHNE, No. 4 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Finishing Position: 6th
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 8th How did the race play out? “It was one of those races where it was just one of those days. The guy we had worked out to work with didn’t work out at all, so obviously there’s 43 cars and I was the three — I was the odd one for the whole race. The best I can describe it is we were stuck without a date to the prom, so I was just hitting on everyone’s mom.”
MIKE FORD, crew chief, No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What happened to your plans to partner with Ryan Newman? “You would have to ask them. That’s a question for them. We had a game plan going in and it didn’t work out that way, so you have to ask them.”
MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 15 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 9th
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 10th Did you feel like you had a chance at the win on the final restart? “We were right where we needed to be. I thought we had it. For whatever reason, David (Reutimann) and I just couldn’t stay together when it mattered most. We really needed this. We’ve had good cars this season, but not a lot to show for it especially over the last couple of races. I’m really happy. We almost had the win.”
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 13th How was your race today? “We had a pretty solid day in the Aaron’s Dream Machine. I thought we were going to be a little better there at the end, but we just couldn’t stay hooked to Martin’s (Truex Jr.) bumper in the closing laps and that hurt us a bit. We had good stops and a good strategy and the entire crew did their part to put us in contention at the end.”
CASEY MEARS, No. 13 GEICO Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Finishing Position: 17th
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 24th
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Halloween Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 33rd
DAVE ROGERS, crew chief, No. 18 M&M’s Halloween Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What caused the accident? “It looked like the 9 (Marcos Ambrose) car got a little impatient coming to the tri-oval and he’s trying to push his teammate, the 43 (AJ Allmendinger), which is the name of the game around here, but he jacked the 43 up pretty good, got his rear wheels of the ground it looks like and that turned the 43 across our nose. We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I wish there was a recipe that we could tell Kyle (Busch) to let him know where to be when we race in Talladega, but it’s so hard to say. The 99 (Carl Edwards) and 48 (Jimmie Johnson), they rode out back and finished. We were up towards the front and we got wrecked out. It’s so hard to know where you need to be and this race is so circumstantial, but our M&M’s Toyota Camry was really strong. I felt we were really good when we were hooked up with the 20 (Joey Logano) and then when we hooked up with the 11 (Denny Hamlin) we had really good speed. I thought we were going to be a contender at the end, but unfortunately we got taken out a little prematurely. Just really proud of this M&M’s crew. We had a lot of work to do and they got the car out there fairly quick and we picked up five, six spots just with our crash repairs, so that’s the silver lining of the day.”
What is your perspective moving forward? “The mindset doesn’t change. We sat down in December and we said, ‘We’re going to race every lap, every race as hard as we can and try to lead as many laps and win as many races as we can.’ That’s what it takes to win this championship. I don’t know — everyone asks that question, ‘How is the mindset? How is the mindset’ I’m a racer. I want to go to Martinsville and I want to sit on the pole, I want to lead every lap and I want to win the race. That was my mindset four hours ago and it’s going to be my mindset in six, seven days. We’re going to try to lead every lap and win every race from here on out and wherever that puts us in the points at the end of the year, we’ll take it.”
Are you proud of the way your crew fixed the car? “Yeah, I am. Absolutely. There were a lot of repairs to be done — all four corners of that car, the suspension and body were damaged. We got out there in a timely fashion and picked up spots. It was a team improvement and I was pleased.”
BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Scott Products Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Finishing Position: 35th What happened in the accident? “It just a product of it sometimes when you get late in the race and pushing real hard like that, so got turned around. Couldn’t hold onto it at that point in time. That was not what we wanted to see.”
MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 66 HP Racing, LLC Toyota Camry, Gunselman Motorsports Finishing Position: 40th
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 AM/FM Energy Pellet & Wood Stoves Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 41st
KEVIN CONWAY, No. 97 Extenze Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 41st