· Camry driver Denny Hamlin finished second as the top Toyota at Kansas Speedway in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race, which was won by Joey Logano.
· Hamlin started fifth and picked up his seventh top-five result in the last nine NSCS races.
· Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammate Kyle Busch (fifth) also secured a top-five finish and Carl Edwards (eighth) earned a top-10 at the 1.5-mile race track.
· Matt Kenseth (14th) dominated much of the race, leading a race-high 153 laps (of 269), but finished deep in the field after contact from race-winner Logano in the closing laps while leading the race.
· After five of 10 Chase races, Camry drivers Hamlin (second, 3082 points), Edwards (fourth, 3076), Busch (ninth, 3064) and Kenseth (12th, 3035) rank among the top-12 drivers competing for the NSCS championship. Hamlin trails leader Logano by 13 points.
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 2nd
How was your race overall?
“It was an interesting day for sure. We definitely fought our car early today, just couldn’t do anything and battled back our track position. It’s so hard to pass, we just fought the car and made it better and had some good restarts. The pit crew picked us up a few spots and next thing you know we are trying to battle for a win. It was a great day for our FedEx Express Camry. I’ve never been so disappointed to be second at Kansas, I would have taken second and ran with it before this weekend started.”
What was the final restart like from your vantage point?
“The 22 (Joey Logano) went early, right at the beginning of the zone. I had a hunch that he was going to go a little early. The gearing wasn’t quite good enough to get me a launch there and the 22 was able to clear us and that was pretty much it.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Halloween Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 5th
How were you able to recover from early race issues for a top-five finish?
“We just kept fighting, kept trying to persevere through everything that was thrown at us. The guys did a great job today. I was trying to run the top like those guys and make speed up there like they were and I slipped in the oil that was off turn two, I just didn’t get enough off the corner. I can’t say enough about everyone, this M&M’s Camry was awesome today. Adam Stevens (crew chief) and the guys did a really good job repairing the right side and gave us really good adjustments all day. About got us behind there, but late in the going I must have had an exhaust issue or something and just started laying down the power. I was hoping it would go green and we’d salvage a seventh, but with the restarts there we were able to get a fifth out of the thing. Real proud of a top-five at Kansas. In case everyone wasn’t sure, Halloween is coming up and you can grab your M&M’s product for Halloween and give out to all the little ones out there. I’m looking forward to my first Halloween with my son Brexton.”
How was your race?
“We had a lot going on there. We had the exhaust crack and I got up in the wall in turn two – I was trying to run the high side like those guys were and make time up there and I just didn’t cut my exit enough I guess and brushed the wall off of turn two and my guys had to repair it. Adam Stevens (crew chief) and my guys kept working and made really good adjustments all day. They put this M&M’s Camry in position. I thought we could come home with a seventh-place finish with all those late restarts there and we’d be happy with that, but we got a fifth out of it. I can’t say enough about everyone here.”
CARL EDWARDS, No. 19 SportClips Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 8th
How tough was it to get track position?
“I don’t think the slow pit stop was really the worse thing. We had a car that was struggling in the center-corner and really tight. The guys did a really good job and made up for whatever the problem was on pit road because they just killed it the last two stops. A decent finish. I can’t thank SportClips enough, they came on board for us. I wish we would have ran a little better than that. Just the way it goes, my guys never gave up. Hopefully we’ll go to Talladega and put a Toyota in victory lane.”
What has the consistency meant these last few races as you head to Talladega?
“I’m surrounded by really good people and they work really hard and never quit. My spotter (Jason Hedlesky), my crew chief Darian (Grubb) and my pit crew guys and TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and everybody. We’ll just go to Talladega and do what we normally do, we’ll be alright. There’s nothing normal about Talladega, so we’ll see what happens.”
MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 14th
What happened between yourself and Joey Logano in the closing laps?
“It’s hard to drive a car with the rear tires off the ground. I was moving around the best I could, Joey (Logano) was a lot tighter, a lot faster on the short run, but we were so much better on the long run. I could still kind of get up to the top and get a run and get around him. We caught those two lapped cars, ‘Crazy’ (spotter) told me I was clear and I was, I pulled up in front of him and he just lifted my tires off the ground and he wrecked us.”
What will you talk to Joey Logano about after the incident?
“I won’t talk to Joey (Logano), I don’t have anything to talk to him about really. You make decisions every day, you make decisions every minute behind the wheel. To me strategically, that doesn’t seem like such a great decision for him, but it’s the one he made and that’s how he wanted to win. I’m one of the only guys that I think hasn’t been into yet with Joey and I’ve always raced him with a ton of respect, I’ve actually been one of his biggest fans – I’m certainly not anymore, but I always was. It’s a shame, I’m glad the cars not wrecked, we’ll just go onto Talladega and race them there.”
From your standpoint, what happened with Joey Logano?
“It was really cut and dry, he (Joey Logano) picked my rear tires off the ground and wrecked me so there’s no debate about that one. We had a great Dollar General Camry today – he was a little bit tighter on that short run than I was and I couldn’t get away from him. All day we had him pretty good. I still thought I was going to be able to stay in front of him and saw those lapped cars coming and tried getting a couple runs off the top there and I was plenty clear, got up in front of him and he just decided to take us out.”
How will you approach Talladega?
“It’s the same, there’s some things you can control and some things you can’t. I thought we did an excellent job this weekend of controlling the things we could control. We didn’t qualify as well as we wanted, but we were good in practice, made great race adjustments, had a really fast car today, really fast pit stops – they stepped it up when we needed it. We did everything as a team to win the race, just couldn’t get away enough to keep him (Joey Logano) from pulling that move on me there at the end.”
Was there something that happened earlier in the race that might have caused the incident?
“No, he (Joey Logano) just plain wrecked me. He cries on his radio a lot I guess about blocking or moving around, but man, you’re leading the race and you can pick whatever lane you want. It’s not like he was alongside of me. To wreck somebody for being in a lane that you wanted to be in seems kind of risky and not very smart. That was a decision he made.”
Were you surprised that Joey Logano would get into you and spin you out for the victory?
“I don’t know surprised, I’m really disappointed. I’ve probably been one of his (Joey Logano) biggest supporters. It was an awkward thing obviously taking his ride and I was excited for him when he started winning at Penske and when he got that ride and even found him today and congratulated him about racing against each other for a championship. I thought that I was very disappointed that he would do that, especially he was already in – didn’t run into him. Yeah, I was running the lane he wanted to run in, but my goodness isn’t this racing? Strategically I think it wasn’t the smartest move on his part. He’ll probably sleep good tonight, I hope he enjoys that one. It’s not what I would have done, but he had a decision to make and that’s the one he made.”
How will you race Joey Logano moving forward?
“That’s hard to say, you always race people like you’d like to be raced, that’s what I try to do until that changes and then you race them how they race you. I don’t know, that’s all hypothetical so I’m not going to worry about that. I’m just going to go onto Talladega and try to do what we can there and then after that we’ll go to the next one and do what we can there.”
Were you worried about Joey Logano on the final restart?
“He (Joey Logano) was the one I was the most worried about on that restart, he’s very good at getting through the gears and getting good restarts and he would fire off pretty good, he would fire off tighter than me. I was back behind him and passed him that one time, I was better actually when I was behind him, as soon as I got in front of him I was too loose for the short run. We could wear them out bad after 15 or 20 laps, but that first 20 was tough. My fault, I should have called for the adjustment to get the thing tightened up some to make sure we could get away.”
Do you feel Joey Logano intentionally wrecked you?
“Absolutely, 100 percent.”
How do you describe what happened with Joey Logano?
“I can’t think of any appropriate words to be honest with you, just disappointing really. We raced hard for the lead another time and then I finally got by him and being that early in the race and everything he was doing to try to keep me behind him. It’s the end of the race and I was trying to stay in front of him the best I could and I was in front of him, I didn’t do anything wrong to him. The race track is 80 or 100 feet wide down there and I was in front of him, he just chose to spin me out because he wanted to be in the top groove instead of going left and trying to race me for the win the way a man should do it really.”
How did you expect Joey Logano to race you in those closing laps?
“I expect him to race me hard, honestly Joey and I have really never had any problems, I’ve probably been one of his biggest supporters and fans and he just lost a fan and supporter, but I’ve always kind of been in his corner. It was a difficult situation getting let go out of this ride and getting his new ride and being so successful. I was happy for him, but I definitely lost any respect I had for him before today, that’s for sure.”
DAVID RAGAN, No. 55 Aaron’s Online Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position: 25th
MATT DIBENEDETTO, No. 83 Toyota Camry, BK Racing
Finishing Position: 30th
JEB BURTON, No. 23 Dr. Pepper/Estes Toyota Camry, BK Racing
Finishing Position: 37th
CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position: 40th
How are you feeling after hitting the wall?
“Good, I was following (Jeff) Gordon there and I started to catch him back. I went in and he kind of took my line away and I tried to pull down and as soon as my headlight got out and got some air in it, man it turned me. I probably should have just spun to the inside, but I thought I could save it. Guess I didn’t save it. Man it hit hard.”
Was that a hard hit?
“Very, I hit a wall. Pretty damn hard. I couldn’t believe how fast it snapped. You usually can ride it along, but that thing came out from underneath of me so fast. (Jeff) Gordon pulled up and did a good job of taking my line away and I tried to pull it down in a bad spot of the corner. As soon as that headlight got some air in it, boy that baby bit and turned me around pretty quick.”
JJ YELEY, No. 26 Maxim Fantasy Toyota Camry, BK Racing
Finishing Position: 42nd