MENCS Toyota Kentucky Race Recap

Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Kentucky Speedway
Race 19 of 36 – 400.5 miles, 267 laps
July 13, 2019

1st, Kurt Busch*
4th, Kyle Larson*
*non-Toyota driver

Toyota took three of the top-five positions in Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway.

American Muscle

Kyle Busch (second) was the highest-finishing Camry driver while Erik Jones (third) and Denny Hamlin (fifth) also finished in the top five.

Camry drivers led 78 laps (of 269) with Busch pacing the field for a race-high 72 laps.


KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 2nd
What was the finish of that race like for you?

“Glad it was a thriller. It’s just unfortunate we were on the wrong end of the deal for everybody at M&Ms and Toyota, Interstate Batteries, all the folks that get us to where we’re at. Congratulations to Kurt (Busch) and Chip (Ganassi) and Monster, all the guys over there. It’s obviously cool to put on great races and great finishes and I’ve been a part of a lot of them and not very many, in fact none with my brother like that. That was a first. No hard feelings.”

How big of a difference was it that Kurt Busch had four fresh tires on that last restart?

“I didn’t know that they had four tires. I guess that probably had some of the difference. I knew I cleared him into (Turn) 3 and if I just stayed in the gas I was never going to make the exit, I was going to plow the fence, but maybe I should have just gotten in front of him and messed up his air. It’s so easy to do with these cars. It’s pretty much just air games. I missed my chance over there I guess. That’s about all I could really have done different.”

Take us through that final lap. What happened?

“I don’t know. Kurt (Busch) got on my door off of (Turn) 2 there and got a run down the backstretch and I didn’t have enough of a run back on him into 3 to clear him soon enough. I know I cleared him, but I knew I wasn’t going to make the exit if I tried to jump up in front of him and mess up his air, so I just tried to get as close as I could to him and side draft him. He just had too much momentum going by me on the outside. I was just way too tight. We didn’t make good adjustments there on the last run, so that’s why we lost the lead to the 22 (Joey Logano) and ultimately weren’t in the right position to be able to win the race.”

ERIK JONES, No. 20 Craftsman Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 3rd
How much did you have to overcome tonight?

“A lot early. We just didn’t have the track position. We qualified not where we wanted to and had to work back from that. Right from the start I knew that the Craftsman Camry was pretty good. I felt comfortable in practice in race trim. Just had to work back from it and it took until the second stage to get up there and we were finally in position and got some good restarts and some good pit stops and got up in contention on the last restart. You can’t ask for much more. You want to be there and want to have a shot. We did that. We just didn’t have quite enough car and didn’t have quite the right circumstances, but good day overall.”

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 5th
You overcame a lot of things tonight to finish in the top 5.

“Yeah we definitely had a fast car – a car that was fast enough to run up there with those guys, but obviously going to the back of the pack there with 80 (laps) to go was detrimental to try to win the race. We had to make a call with no tires there and we didn’t gain track position. We had worse tires than everyone around us and still was able to come up to fifth, so pretty happy with that effort. We have fast cars every week. As long as we have a clean race, we have chances to win and we just can’t have the penalties that we have and wrecks that we’ve had. It’s just a combination of things where we’re really, really close.”

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