Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Atlanta Motor Speedway
Race 2 of 36 – 500.5 miles, 325 laps
February 25, 2018
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, Kevin Harvick*
2nd, Brad Keselowski*
3rd, Clint Bowyer*
4th, DENNY HAMLIN
5th, MARTIN TRUEX JR.
7th, KYLE BUSCH
11th, ERIK JONES
16th, DANIEL SUÁREZ
36th, GRAY GAULDING
TOYOTA DRIVER POINT STANDINGS**
1st, Joey Logano* 89 points
3rd, DENNY HAMLIN 77 points
7th, MARTIN TRUEX JR. 69 points
11th, KYLE BUSCH 61 points
23rd, ERIK JONES 35 points
26th, DANIEL SUÁREZ 27 points
**unofficial point standings
· Denny Hamlin was Toyota’s highest-finishing Camry in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
· Hamlin led 23 laps and gambled on race strategy to earn a top-10 finish.
· Camry driver Kyle Busch, who started on the pole, landed a top-10 finish – placing seventh after leading seven laps.
· After starting the race 35th, Martin Truex Jr. wheeled his Camry to a top-five finish.
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 4th
How did you view the strategy that Mike Wheeler was doing in the final runs?
“It panned out good for us, but obviously the caution fell there and we were still up front. I think we had about a 10-second gap to the next one and I thought that maybe one other car was going to catch us there, but our long run speed was so good that we felt like we needed to stay out there and have less stops and spend more time on the race track. Either way we ended up where we should have and it was a good day for our FedEx Ground Camry team. We’ll just move onto the next race track and see if we can’t improve.”
How strong was the car on the long runs?
“I knew that we had really good long run speed. We were short of the 4 (Kevin Harvick) car, but we were probably one of the better cars on long runs. We wanted to optimize our time on the race track similar to what we did in Darlington last year and if a caution fell, great and if it didn’t then we had a pretty good gap there back to third place before the caution fell and the guys that short-pitted, their tires were already starting to fall off and they were in the same second bracket that we were in. It was a good strategy at play and happy for our FedEx Ground team to get another top-five, especially here in the home of Coke so it’s awesome to be here and get the season started on a good note.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR, No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Furniture Row Racing
Finishing Position: 5th
What were some of the struggles your team faced today on pit road?
“We had some issues there that kind of sucked, but I guess we’ll have to work through it. We knew there would be some issues with that deal. Really just proud of them for all their hard work and getting ready for the season with these new rules. They really struggled in Daytona and I don’t think we had a pit stop faster than 19 seconds in Daytona the whole week and to come here and really have a good day except for those gun problems – really proud of them and proud of everybody. Proud of Cole (Pearn, crew chief) for fighting, we fought our butts off and did great all day. We fought track position, fought the car going away too much on long runs, but overall it was a decent day and something to work from.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Snickers Almond Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 7th
How was your race today?
“We were top five, top seven all day. It was pretty good. I never had anything for the leaders at all. And then I got snookered on strategy there for three spots. We just didn’t finish where we needed.”