TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Post-Race Notes & Quotes Martinsville Speedway – April 1, 2012
Camry driver Martin Truex Jr. (fifth) was the highest-finishing Toyota driver in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Virginia’s Martinsville Speedway. Toyota drivers Denny Hamlin (sixth) and Clint Bowyer (10th) also earned top-10 finishes in the 515 lap event at the half-mile oval.
Other Toyota drivers in the field included Bobby Labonte (17th), Brian Vickers (18th), Joey Logano (23rd), Travis Kvapil (27th), Landon Cassill (29th), David Stremme (30th), Kyle Busch (36th), JJ Yeley (37th) and Joe Nemechek (39th).
Following Martinsville, four Camry drivers are in the top-15 in the unofficial NSCS driver point standings — Truex (sixth), Hamlin (seventh), Bowyer (ninth) and Logano (13th).
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 5th How do you feel about your finish? “This feels great. We backed into that one a little bit with those guys getting tangled up. Our NAPA Toyota was sixth to 10th place most of the day. We were fast on the short runs and struggled on the long runs to keep the right rear tire under the car. Worked on it all day long and Chad (Johnston, crew chief) did a good job working on it. The pit crew was good and we fought hard all day and that’s what it takes. This is probably my worst race track and to come out of here with a fifth place finish — I’m pretty proud of that.”
What makes Martinsville so difficult? “This place is just tough and it seems to change on every single run and it changes five or six times throughout a run — as the rubber gets laid down and as the rubber starts moving up. You’re just constantly searching for grip. That’s the one thing I’ve always fought here is grip when the rubber gets down and being able to keep that drive off the corner. I struggled with the drive off the corner today, but I was able to move around enough that I could be pretty competitive.”
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 6th How do you feel about your finish? “We wished we could have run a little better than what we ran today. We just tried a new setup — trying to see if we could make some big gains for the fall and just didn’t have it all figured out today. We brought a new car here and it looks like it needs some different things than what we typically run. Today, we just were an average car.”
What did you think of the restart with the accident? “I was surprised they (Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon) stayed out — tires are so big here. I knew something like that was going to happen. When you have like 100 laps on your tires, you can’t restart. The guys in third and fourth are going to run all over you. Those guys were just in a tough spot. Three cars on a two-lane track just didn’t work.”
What did you think of David Reutimann not coming to pit road? “I don’t know — I saw something with the mechanical on the 10 (David Reutimann) in the left front. He couldn’t — I saw he couldn’t turn the wheel so I would think he was afraid to get in the corner and try to steer around and end up wrecking somebody. I didn’t mind it personally because we could have been one of the cars he ran into — looked like something with the front end was amiss.”
Are you disappointed with your finish? “It’s not bad, but it’s not where we’re accustomed to. We’re accustomed to leading laps and being in a fight with those guys — those Hendrick cars at the front of the field. They were just far more superior than us today. We’re going to go back to work and see what we got.”
CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 10th What happened in turn one? “It was just a bad situation for everybody. I had a good day. Three of those Hendrick (Motorsports) cars were the class of the field all day long. It’s the nature of the beast. I don’t know what the hell the 10 car (David Reutimann) was doing. He drove around there for 10 laps with no brakes and finally just stopped. That was ridiculous. I hate it for those guys. I hate it for our guys. We ended up 10th and should have been easily a fourth-place finish there. You got tires, they don’t and they spin the tires — the 39 (Ryan Newman) hits you in the rear. I mean, if I didn’t go down there, the 39 was and we’d just all run out of real estate and that’s the nature of the beast at this place.”
CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing (continued) What did you say to Jeff Gordon after the race? “We’re fine. Like I said, I hate it for him too. We both come out losers in that deal.”
How did the accident play out? “Well, it pretty much sucked. It is what it is. I don’t what the hell the 10 car (David Reutimann) was doing — drove around there with no brakes until it finally just come to a halt. It’s unfortunate. We had a good car. They (Hendrick Motorsports) had the cars to beat. They should have won the race and we should have finished fourth there, but that’s just the nature of the beast. When the car’s got tires, other cars don’t — he (Jeff Gordon) spun the tires pretty hard. If I didn’t go down there, the 39 (Ryan Newman) had already hit me in the rear and he was going to. I did and the 39 won.”
BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Bush’s Beans Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Finishing Position: 17th BRIAN VICKERS, No. 55 RK Motors Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 18th ‘JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 23rd TRAVIS KVAPIL, No. 93 Burger King Toyota Camry, BK Racing Finishing Position: 27th LANDON CASSILL, No. 83 Burger King Toyota Camry, BK Racing Finishing Position: 29th DAVID STREMME, No. 30 Inception Motorsports Toyota Camry, Inception Motorsports Finishing Position: 30th KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 36th
DAVE ROGERS, crew chief, No 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What happened to the car? “We were setup for late in the run. We’ve always had good cars here the first half of the race and had gotten tight late in the race so I tried something different and I tried going with a freer setup. I knew the first 100 laps was going to be too free. Kyle (Busch) was on board with it and he did a really good job, but neither of us expected the first stint to go 95 laps straight without a caution. We got a little behind because the car was just too loose. Kyle was doing a great job at hanging onto it and it wheel-hopped a little bit and we got in the fence. Kyle’s probably upset with himself, but nobody on this M&M’s Camry team is upset with him. We win as a team and we lose as a team. We’re excited to go to Texas in a couple weeks.”
How hard is it to finish out the race so many laps down? “It’s difficult, but you have to make the best of any situation. My hats off to my guys. It’s hard to change a rear end when you come to a short track because there’s brake ducts and lines and a lot of stuff going on. We got Kyle (Busch) back out in 30 minutes after changing a (rear end) housing and some other repairs. Good learning experience for my guys. You hate to go through it, but I would rather go through them now than in the Chase. Then we were playing around — we took left side tires and made some pit road adjustments and just trying to build our notebook. The last 10 races are what counts. We’re trying to learn as much as we can despite the circumstances.”
JJ YELEY, No. 49 American Israel Toyota Camry Finishing Position: 37th JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 39th