TOYOTA NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS)
Post-Race Notes & Quotes
Darlington Raceway – May 10, 2013
Camry driver Kyle Busch (first) captured the checkered flag in Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Darlington Raceway.
The win marked the fifth victory for Busch in only eight starts in the first nine races and the 56th NNS win of his career. He also won races at Phoenix, Bristol, California and Texas earlier this year.
The Las Vegas-native started from the pole and led the field four times for 107 laps (of 147) at the 1.366-mile South Carolina race track.
Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Toyota drivers Elliott Sadler (second), Brian Vickers (third) and Matt Kenseth (fifth) also finished in the top-five at Darlington.
This is the second time in NNS history that JGR has swept the top-three finishing positions — the first came at Dover International Speedway in June 2012 with Joey Logano (first), Ryan Truex (second) and Brian Scott (third).
Other Camry drivers in Friday night’s race included Parker Kligerman (15th), Alex Bowman (17th), Mike Bliss (19th), Blake Koch (22nd), Joe Nemechek (24th), Eric McClure (26th), Hal Martin (29th), Tony Raines (33rd), Kevin Lepage (35th), Bryan Silas (36th), Jeff Green (37th) and Tanner Berryhill (40th).
Four Toyota drivers are in the top-10 of the unofficial NNS point standings — Sadler (third), Vickers (fifth), Kligerman (seventh) and Bowman (ninth).
KYLE BUSCH, No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 1st
How were you able to get back on track after the pit stop incident?
“You just keep doing what you’re doing and keep doing what you come here to do and that’s just to work hard and do what you can every lap that you are out on the race track. The guys gave me a great race car and there towards the middle part of the race it was really starting to get loose and had to make a lot of adjustments to it. This Monster Energy Camry tonight was awesome and the guys did a great job. I really appreciate Monster, Toyota and Nationwide — they’re awesome. JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) Engines — Mark Cronquist (engine builder) did a great job for us and appreciate the fans as well. Gave them a little treat tonight.”
How close were you to getting collected by Joey Logano?
“He (Joey Logano) about lost it — well, he had plenty of control the first time he got sideways. The second time he got sideways it was a little bigger. These tires are really going away here and sort of fall off — sort of like the old Darlington. We had four fresh tires and he was on old tires so I knew he was going to come back to me eventually. I just kept trying to run him a little bit hard to keep trying to get him to push his stuff and get loose. In the end I was able to squeak by him there. Great race I thought and there were some moments there when (Matt) Kenseth and I were racing each other — thought he was just playing with me for a little bit and then I got by him and I drove away from him and then he came back to me and caught me back. There was some fun racing — some coming and some going a little bit. It was sort of the accordion effect, but great night.”
Where do you need to be strong for tomorrow’s race?
“You want to be good at both ends here, but there is a lot of speed in (turns) one and two so you have to take advantage of that as best you can. Three and four — it’s an end where I’m not going to say that slower is faster, but maintaining a minimum speed is faster down there, but it seems like it’s a little easier to do than not having a good handling car in one and two. There’s fewer and littler margin for error in turns one and two. I would say that hopefully I did a good enough job setting up my car for tomorrow through one and two.”
How close are we to the old Darlington surface coming back?
“I was thinking of that while I was racing tonight and actually I was like, ‘Where are we right now?’ I was thinking back to my debut here when I ran a Nationwide race and I finished second to (Brian) Vickers and I was thinking of the line I was running and how I was running it and what I was doing. For some reason the race track doesn’t seem as though it’s that abrasive like the surface seems pretty smooth, it’s just very, very white. I don’t k now if it’s because of the whiteness that it doesn’t have a lot of grip — I don’t know what it is. As you run, like the first lap you feel amazing on tires. The second lap, it deteriorates a little bit and third lap you are starting to feel it and fourth lap, ‘Oh dude, you guys did not make near enough adjustments for me.’ It’s getting back to the old ways. You’re not as sideways as you used to be yet. You’re not wearing through the tire I think. Not from a tire wear perspective, but the fall off is certainly there and whether that’s heat related or just sliding on the surface — I think it’s just sliding on the surface. It’s kind of fun, but it’s kind of nerve-wracking to because you’re trying to push it to the limit as much as you can and any moment you can bust loose and you’re inches from the fence so anything can happen.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing (continued)
What is it like to be back winning in the Nationwide Series with Joe Gibbs Racing?
“It’s kind of deceiving when you’re driving the stuff just exactly how good it is and how smart these guys are. When I’m racing the car around there I’m like, ‘Oh, this ain’t bad, it can’t be that hard to upstart an organization and come out here and beat JGR.’ Obviously, that’s not the case. Certainly these guys are pretty smart and do an awful lot of great things to make cars go fast. It was an unfortunate year last year and I led a lot of laps, I was competitive, especially toward the end of the year — my worst finish was 10th and that was at Montreal through the wreck fest. Just unfortunately never made it to victory lane. That was sort of demoralizing if you will. It’s great to be back this year, it’s great to be working with Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and being in a JGR car with JGR engines and everything like that.”
ADAM STEVENS, crew chief, No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How dominant was the race car?
“First off, we started off with a little bit of adversity this weekend and felt like as a team we were able to maintain our focus on still preparing a good race car and battling back through that. Then we knew in practice we had a good car. Obviously, Kyle (Busch) is the man to beat here. We had a good car with Joey (Logano) here last year so we had high hopes coming into the weekend. These short races are tough. It’s tough to call that race. Probably even harder than some of the other races we run. I know he has good stats and that looked good, but man it was tough. We made a lot of adjustments on this race car today and thankfully they all took. A lot of times they don’t so we had that going for us. I felt like we had a direction before we even showed up on which way we thought the race was going to play out and how the track was going to change. We were ready for it and we had to take some big swings at it to keep it under him. We were able to do it and thankfully the cautions kind of worked out for us and our teammates were so strong. That was just an impressive weekend here for JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing).”
ELLIOTT SADLER, No. 11 SportClips Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 2nd
What happened when you spun early in the race?
“I just got a little loose. That Kyle Busch is pretty good and I was trying to chase him down there and just got a little loose on the apron and spun. Lady luck was with me tonight and my mom is with me so she helped me not hit the wall I guess there. We came in, took two tires at the end there. The JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) cars were one-two-three and overall a great night — just needed a little more for the 54 (Busch).”
Could you catch Kyle Busch in the race?
“Kyle (Busch) did a better job in traffic than I did. I just couldn’t catch the traffic where I wanted to, but my car handled so I really had to pick and choose and was also trying hard those five or six laps. I could not be more proud of these guys these last few weeks. A great night for us — we’ll rebound from this. We have a test coming up at Charlotte and we’ll go up there and race them. A great night for SportClips, OneMain Financial — just a great group effort tonight.”
BRIAN VICKERS, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Starting Position: 3rd
How was the race?
“This Dollar General Toyota was so strong. Really proud of the guys — we came in when I had a loose wheel. We lost a lot of track position at that point and we had a late car, but I can’t get over these guys. They have given me just incredible pit stops all year long — incredible pit stops. It’s not like I haven’t stuck one in the fence before. It’s frustrating because it’s a team effort, but all in all proud of the effort. Just a little disappointed. We had a winning car and I wanted to win.”
Is this team close to a race win?
“I think we really are. The last two weeks we were probably one of the better cars on the race track. We just need to figure out how to start there and make no mistakes during the race and I think we’ll have the win. It would have been a pretty special place to have one here — this is one of my favorite race tracks. But this is still good.”
MATT KENSETH, No. 18 GameStop Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 5th
How did the car handle in the race?
“In the middle of the race we were loose, but it was pretty fast. I know Kyle (Busch) was complaining that he was loose too. After the green flag stop, I felt like we were pretty evenly matched and it was going to be a fun race to the end. Then after that caution, I think I just got in the wrong lane on the restart. I knew I was going to be in the wrong lane — in the bottom with the leader up top and Kyle in the second row. I got slammed pretty hard by the 32 (Kyle Larson) and lost three spots or so and just didn’t have enough time to make that up.”
What did you learn today that could be used in the Cup race?
“You know I’m going to say almost nothing. We learned a little bit, but just from not being in the series much and watching on TV all the time it seems like from listening to everybody that I was fighting something that I wouldn’t necessarily fight the following night. I think it was just what we did with the 20 car today in practice, we will go through all our notes and look through some of the tire stuff here and be ready to go.”
PARKER KLIGERMAN, No. 77 TOYOTA Toyota Camry, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Finishing Position: 15th
ALEX BOWMAN, No. 99 SchoolTipline.com Toyota Camry, RAB Racing
Finishing Position: 17th
MIKE BLISS, No. 19 Fix-A-Flat Toyota Camry, TriStar Motorsports
Finishing Position: 19th
BLAKE KOCH, No. 00 Compassion/DayStar Toyota Camry, SR2 Motorsports
Finishing Position: 22nd
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 AM/FM Energy Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports
Starting Position: 24th
ERIC MCCLURE, No. 14 Hefty/Reynolds Wrap Toyota Camry, TriStar Motorsports
Finishing Position: 26th
HAL MARTIN, No. 44 American Yachts Toyota Camry, TriStar Motorsports
Finishing Position: 29th
TONY RAINES, No. 70 Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports
Finishing Position: 33rd
KEVIN LEPAGE, No. 52 Toyota Camry, Means Motorsports
Finishing Position: 35th
BRYAN SILAS, No. 24 Eruasia Entertainment Hotel & Casino Toyota Camry
Finishing Position: 36th
JEFF GREEN, No. 10 Toyota Camry, TriStar Motorsports
Finishing Position: 37th
TANNER BERRYHILL, No. 17 Keller Williams Reality Toyota Camry, Vision Racing
Finishing Position: 40th