TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Post-Race Notes & Quotes Martinsville Speedway – April 1, 2012
Camry driver Mark Martin (third) was the highest-finishing Toyota driver in Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. (sixth) also earned a top-10 finish in the 334 lap event. Truex started from the pole and led the field four times for 69 laps.
Camry drivers in the field recording top-20 finishes included Kyle Busch (11th), Denny Hamlin (12th), Clint Bowyer (17th) and Joey Logano (19th).
Other Toyota drivers in the field included Bobby Labonte (27th), Landon Cassill (30th), JJ Yeley (33rd), Travis Kvapil (38th) and Mike Bliss (40th).
MARK MARTIN, No. 55 Aaron’s Best of the Best Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 3rd How do you like driving for Michael Waltrip Racing? “I am just so proud of MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) and all the people there and the teamwork that they have shown there starting with Martin Truex, Jr., who has put so much work into getting the program where it was when we started the season and everybody combined. They really have a lot of great people there with great attitude, great teamwork and, man, have I got one awesome crew chief in Rodney Childers. This is so much fun and such an incredible privilege to drive a race car at this point in my career — to be able to drive a race car for a team like that and in a hot rod like that. I could see the leader the whole race, and at times we could gain — when we were at our very best we were making some gains on the leaders, and when we were at our worst we were falling back some, and most of the time we could kind of maintain pace. We don’t have much more work to do, and we can get up there and be battling for the win, so I’m really proud of the guys. We’ve made improvements every race that we’ve got to run together, so Rodney (Childers) and I are starting to figure some things out in the car that I like for the long haul, so it’s working well.”
Are you excited to carry momentum into next week’s race? “After today I’m really excited, but I was excited anyway. I love going to the race track (Kansas Speedway). There’s nothing else that I find quite as much fun as going to work with a great race team with a great attitude. So it’s fun for me to go to every race that I get to go to. But, with the great run we had here we’ll be able to roll this logic, setup logic into next week’s car and hopefully — we’re still working. We’re still trying to improve on our long haul — getting a little easier on the tires so the thing will stay faster. If we can make any more improvement maybe we can get right up there and make some sparks for those guys. It’s a great place (Kansas Speedway). It’s almost like a home track because I raced so much up in Springfield (Mo.) and I-70 and around there, so we should have a lot of charged-up fans.”
How are you and Martin Truex Jr. working together? “Martin Truex Jr. has been phenomenal, phenomenal. The teamwork I’m feeling right now at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) is second to none I’ve ever been at, if that answers your question. Martin Truex, Jr., is really, really engaged and he’s working hard to help the whole program. We’re racing three cars to put two in the Chase for sure and win races and try to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Hendrick (Motorsports) and Roush (Fenway Racing) and those guys. That’s a tall order for right now. I’m very proud of the results we’re getting. It’s coming from a lot of good attitudes and hard-working people.
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 6th Did the pit stop miscue cost you a chance at a win? “I don’t know. We were off a little bit the second half of the race. Our car got really loose and every time we tried to tighten it up we would just lose front grip and not help the rear, so we’d end up being tight and loose. We really just had to leave it loose and hang on to it. It was a battle tonight. It was a lot of fun out there running up front with the NAPA Toyota. That one little miscue on the pit stop where I wasn’t expecting the 14 (Tony Stewart) to be there and I just slid a foot too far — that cost us a few spots. We were definitely a solid top-three or four (car). I don’t know if we had anything for the 16 (Greg Biffle) — he was pretty stout. At times we were the best car, at times we were second or third-best, but on average we should have been a top-five. And, then at the end there we had to save a little fuel, so I feel like I was running down Matt (Kenseth) a little bit and we were going to have a heck of race for fifth, and I had to start letting off early for gas. Can’t say enough about everybody on this NAPA team — everybody at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing). Just been a lot of fun and hopefully we can keep this thing going and looking forward to going to Kansas next week.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing (continued) How did the wind impact you on the track? “It was bad. There was times when it hit me weird on the front straightaway and I was thinking I was losing a cylinder. It was just crazy going off into (turn) three.”
Have you experienced wind that bad during a race before? “We’ve had it here (Texas) before — practicing and testing — I think. Never blowing into turn three in quite that direction and never quite that hard. But, again, it was the same for everybody. As long as that’s the case, you do all you can do and you battle. I fought my butt off tonight. It was a handful. I almost lost it about 20 different times. Had a lot of fun out there tonight.”
How was your car handling during the race? “At the start it was really good. Then, we kept getting looser all night. Every time we’d tighten it up, we would lose a ton of grip and not gain rear. It was a big challenge. Just could never get it perfect. Still, even with that, it was a second or third-place car, at worst. We just had a little miscommunication there with the pit stop. I slid into the (pit) box a little too far. I wasn’t expecting the 14 (Tony Stewart) to be in our box. We probably should have waited another lap. Things are going to happen. I’m proud of Chad (Johnston, crew chief) and the whole NAPA team. He called an awesome race. The pit crew was phenomenal tonight. It’s just nice to keep this thing going — running upfront. Hopefully, we can do the same thing again next week.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 11th
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Office/March of Dimes Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 12th
CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 17th
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 19th
BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Bush’s Beans/Tom Thumb Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Finishing Position: 27th
LANDON CASSILL, No. 83 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing Finishing Position: 30th
JJ YELEY, No. 49 JPO Absorbents Toyota Camry Finishing Position: 33rd
TRAVIS KVAPIL, No. 93 Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing Finishing Position: 38th
MIKE BLISS, No. 19 Humphrey Smith Racing Toyota Camry, TriStar Motorsports Finishing Position: 40th