TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS)
Post-Qualifying Notes & Quotes
Charlotte Motor Speedway – May 23, 2013
1st, DENNY HAMLIN 28th, TRAVIS KVAPIL
3rd, MATT KENSETH 34th, BOBBY LABONTE
4th, MARK MARTIN 37th, DAVID REUTIMANN
5th, CLINT BOWYER 38th, DAVID STREMME
8th, KYLE BUSCH 40th, JOE NEMECHEK
17th, MARTIN TRUEX JR. DNQ, MIKE BLISS
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Starting Position: 1st
How was your qualifying run?
“We just ran real fast. The entire FedEx Office team just gave me an awesome car this weekend. We knew we had to improve from last week. We didn’t improve the way we wanted. All these guys here sucked up and made a helluva run.”
What do you expect in Sunday’s race?
“There’s a lot of things to expect. I think we’re going to be more competitive this week. I think the track is going to be very similar to last week. What you have is a race last week in which everyone is going to get their cars better. So, you have to take that many more steps towards being the best out there. I think we took those strides. We brought a better car this week than what we had last week. We don’t put a whole lot of effort in All-Star — as far as engines and cars. Our performance never shows up that well. Here in the 600, we’re obviously the points count and the money counts — we got the best we got.”
Were you surprised with your speed?
“Yeah. When I ran the lap, I didn’t think it was that fast honestly. Like I said, my car was so under control and so under me — it really was relatively easy to drive.”
How do you feel health wise?
“Pretty good. I feel nearly 100%. Everything’s been good. So, I’m pretty happy.”
Is this pole redemption after coming back from your injury?
“I think winning would do that. I think ultimately getting the big trophy on Sunday is the validation that you’re truly back. For me, it’s going to take some wins and some really good consistency throughout these summer months to put ourselves in position to have a chance at a championship. That’s what we’re here for. Even these small victories though give me that confidence that I’m still capable, and I’m still able to do the job at 100 percent like I should be. Any kind of confidence booster for me — it’s always a plus on Sunday.”
Did you expect to be able to get the pole after Kurt Busch’s lap?
“I knew I had to try and do everything I could, but the way our car drove I didn’t think it was that fast when I was actually making the lap. I just sat in turn one with 10 cars to go and just kind of closed my eyes and listened to each car go by and listened to what they were doing with their throttle and look at the board and see where they ended up. I took all that information and kind of put together what I thought it was going to take to run the fastest lap. We put it all together and it’s hard work and it pays off — all that’s good.”
What is next in the treatment for your back?
“As far as my treatment, we don’t have any scans scheduled in the next few weeks — probably a few months out I would say we’ll check it again. Just changing up my workouts and doing different things and continuing to work on my twisting ability and things like that. I think that I’m not limited in any way in any kind of activity from here on out.”
MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Home Depot/Husky Tools Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Starting Position: 3rd
How was the qualifying lap?
“We got a really good draw and Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) and everybody did a good job with the adjustments today. We had a pretty good day, but we were a little bit off. Really happy for Denny (Hamlin) to get a pole — coming back and being that quick right away. Seemed like all three of our cars were fast. Kyle (Busch) didn’t get a great draw, but it seemed like we had some speed in our Toyotas, so I’m looking forward to Saturday and getting ready for the 600.”
Did you leave anything on the track during qualifying?
“Nope. For what we had with me and our setup that we had going on, I felt like I got it all. There are certainly some things that I think we could have fine-tuned and had made a little bit better. I really felt like I got everything we had out of the car for tonight.”
How important is a good starting position for the 600?
“It’s nice — third still, we’re going to get a good pit stall and have a chance to pick something decent there so hopefully that will help pay dividends in the race. It’s nice to be up front. Hopefully, you can keep some track position and maybe lead some laps for bonus points and plus the track changes so much. You like to start out front so if you have your car setup for the night time then you want to have a little bit of a head start in case you get off a little bit during the day.”
Why are you such a strong qualifier this season?
“I’ve always tried hard. Used to be the harder I tried, the slower I would go. It’s just about the cars going fast. I hate to say it’s all about that, but that’s the big part of it. I think we’ve always worked hard on qualifying. There’s been years we’ve been horrendously bad at it and years I’ve been respectable at and this year feels like one of our best years for qualifying and probably is so far. Man, the cars have been fast and we’ve been working hard at it. We’ve been trying to make sure to get a good lap, but when your cars drive like that and have that much speed then it sure makes it a lot easier to drive them.”
MARK MARTIN, No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Starting Position: 4th
How close was your lap to the pole?
“That wasn’t even close — I asked, ‘Was it close?’ They said, ‘It was a .75.’ I said, ‘That’s not even close.’ Great job by everybody at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing). They got this Camry hooked up today and I knew we were going to be good. Knew we would have a shot at it. It was a really good lap. Got a little bit too much on the race track in turns three
and four and had to squeeze up off the throttle coming up off a little bit to stay down out of the wall. Still wouldn’t have been enough, but it would have been close if we would have been able to turn up off turn four. So much fun. I do get tired of the feeling that I have before I leave pit road. I never get tired of the feeling I have right now.”
CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Starting Position: 5th
Are you pleased with qualifying?
“It was good. It was a little tight there. Had a pretty good opportunity there to capitalize. But hey, top-five at a big race like this – this is a long race – that goes a long way towards having a good pit stall. Happy with where we qualified. Certainly, it wasn’t the best lap.”
What will you work on Saturday?
“Track position is so important. We learned that, backed that up — everybody knows that — but in the All-Star race once I lost track position I went from being a factor and having a shot at possibly winning a million. And, once I got back there in the pack I was just one of the boys — really hard to crawl out of that. In the 600, on these long runs, I think I can capitalize on the same things that won me the race (here) last fall. That outside line, momentum and things like that. That’s one of my
strong points when I run here. If I can get that outside figured out, it seems like my results are always pretty good. If it’s running around the bottom, historically I struggle a little bit.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Red-White-Blue M-Prove America Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Starting Position: 8th
How was your qualifying run?
“It was a really good lap. I know we’ve had a really fast race car here. I think there’s definitely at least two-and-a-half tenths from the beginning of qualifying to the end of qualifying out there just in track speed. If we had an opportunity to go do it again being 41st to go out — we’d probably run somewhere in the .60s. It’s a really good lap right now for this M&M’s Camry.”
How good is your race car?
“Our M&M’s Camry was awesome — same speed that we had here last week — I feel like we have this week too. The guys have done a real nice job in getting some good stuff here. I’m excited about the M&M’s Camry, the red-white-and-blue scheme. Hopefully, that means good things for us here Sunday and we can see that scheme in victory lane.”
Does it matter where you start the race?
“For a six hundred mile race, it don’t matter where you start. But, you certainly like to start further up front — but you also like to get a really good qualifying run for your pit selection and having first choice of that. That always helps you too. Like I’ve said, we’ve had some good speed. So, I think come race time we’ll be good.”
What keeps you from winning this race?
“I don’t know what it is that’s keeping us from winning here in Charlotte. It’s my favorite race track. Maybe that’s what it is — just trying too hard. I don’t know. We’ve always had really good speed here. We’ve been fast the last few times, especially having good runs and being up front — finishing second, finishing third — just not being able to quite have enough when it counts and be able to close the deal. This is another weekend. Hopefully, we can do it here.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Starting Position: 17th
How was the qualifying lap?
“That was terrible. We were way better than that in practice. I’m not sure what happened. We ran faster than that last week for the Showdown in race trim. Frustrated to say the least. We just hit the race track too hard.”
TRAVIS KVAPIL, No. 93 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing
Starting Position: 28th
BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Bush’s Grillin’ Beans Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing
Starting Position: 34th
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 83 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing
Starting Position: 37th
DAVID STREMME, No. 30 Toyota Camry, Swan Racing
Starting Position: 38th
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 MaddiesPlaceRocks.com Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports
Starting Position: 40th
MIKE BLISS, No. 19 Plinker Tactical Toyota Camry, TriStar Motorsports
Starting Position: DNQ