Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Race 20 of 36 – 318.46 miles, 301 laps
July 21, 2019
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, Kevin Harvick*
2nd, DENNY HAMLIN
3rd, ERIK JONES
4th, Ryan Blaney*
5th, MATT DiBENEDETTO
6th, MARTIN TRUEX JR.
8th, KYLE BUSCH
Five Toyota drivers placed inside the top 10 for a second time this season. All four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers and Matt DiBenedetto scored top-10 finishes after accomplishing the same milestone at Sonoma Raceway in June.
Denny Hamlin (second) was the highest-finishing Toyota driver with Erik Jones (third), DiBenedetto (fifth), Martin Truex Jr. (sixth) and Kyle Busch (eighth) also in the top 10.
Toyota drivers led 235 laps (of 301) as Busch paced the field for a race-high 118 laps while Hamlin (113 laps) and Jones (four laps) also led.
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 2nd
How do you evaluate that last-lap battle with Kevin Harvick?
“We had a strong FedEx Camry there. We came in to take tires there and the 4 (Kevin Harvick) stayed out. We were so good up front. It just seemed like we couldn’t get past that barrier or wake four to five car lengths or three to four car lengths the entire run. He made one decision to go low coming to the white (flag) and I was able to get a really good run off the corner and get right to him. I didn’t want to completely screw him, kind of like where he knocked the 18 (Kyle Busch) out here last year. I didn’t want to do that. I just wanted to kind of get him up a groove and get myself in position and then wanted to give us a fair shot into Turn 3. He protected the bottom and my objective then was to run the outside and pass him on the outside and just didn’t get that chance off the corner. Fun race, nonetheless. We’ll move on to the next one.”
What should you have done to get to Kevin Harvick on that last lap?
“Well, I kind of shoved him up a little higher and tried to get him out of the groove. Yeah, I wanted to just tap him there, but I didn’t want to completely screw him. I at least wanted to give him a fair shot there and then down the backstretch, I kind of let off and I’m like ‘alright, well I’m just going to pass him on the outside and kind of do this thing the right way.’ Once I had that big run, he just turned right. I would do the same thing. It was a fun race. Congratulations to him and his team. They made a great call there at the end. It was fun. We had a fast FedEx Express Camry today. Really happy about our performance and how we’ve been for the last two months. Chris (Gabehart, crew chief) has done a great job with this backup car. This is nowhere near the car that I wrecked on Friday.”
ERIK JONES, No. 20 STANLEY Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 3rd
What did you need in your car at the end of the race?
“I mean we were just fighting loose-in and a little tight-center, which is typical New Hampshire. We weren’t really going to get it fixed. Kind of fought it all weekend. The STANLEY Camry had good speed, but there was a couple guys a little bit better than us. Even getting in clean air wasn’t going to be enough. It was close, but we just didn’t quite get all of what we needed today.”
Are you amazed that after everything that happened during the race you finished in third?
“It was kind of a sloppy day in my opinion, but it was a good day. We got good stage points in the first stage and finished well at the end. The STANLEY Camry was good. All day I felt like we were close, we just needed to get up front and never quite did it. Never quite got the lead, but we were there. Again, up in the top five, you can’t complain and especially with the points we gained today. It’s good. We can definitely get more aggressive with that gap. We’re getting close there to having almost a race on them. If we can have a couple more good weeks, we’ll be there. Pocono is a good one. We’ll keep doing it, but today was definitely a testament to our speed and this team. We keep fighting through it. We never gave up. We did what we needed to do and fixed the damage when we needed to and got a good finish out of it.”
Sitting 28 points above the Playoff cutline, how much comfort does that give you in the final six races of the regular season?
“It feels better than two points that’s for sure. It’s getting there. I wish we had a little bit more and hopefully we’ll just get a win here and not have to worry about it. We’re close and if we keep finishing up here in the top three, it’s going to happen. We’re going to get there. Just got to keep going and it definitely feels – I’m going to sleep a lot easier this week with this gap than what we had last week.”
MATT DIBENEDETTO, No. 95 Procore Toyota Camry, Leavine Family Racing
Finishing Position: 5th
Talk about that hard-fought fifth-place finish.
“Yeah, that was awesome. Great comeback for us. We raced up there all day and had to adjust on the car a good bit because we missed basically all of the final practice. Just shows how good my team is and my guys. They’re the ones that deserve it – Procore, our sponsor, for sticking by my side and believing in me to do this deal and all the folks at Toyota. Gosh, I know I reiterate it, but it took a lot of people for me to get this deal. I’ll never go a day without appreciating it. It’s awesome. Great day for the team.”
How good did it feel to see the leaders in front of you?
“Really good. You always want more. It’s a great run for the team. You always want to get more, but we’re growing as a team. This just shows our strength. These types of tracks are kind of in our wheelhouse and this just shows how good of people we have. It’s not just me driving the car. It’s all these guys. I’m nothing without them. Younger team that’s showing our strength and what we’re here to do.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR, No. 19 SiriusXM Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 6th
Would it have been a better finish for you if you and Clint Bowyer hadn’t gotten into each other?
“I think so. I mean we were set up strategy-wise to be right there with the 4 (Kevin Harvick) and the 11 (Denny Hamlin) and we were right behind those guys, so I think so, but you never know how these things are going to play out. The SiriusXM Camry was really fast when we could get near the front. It wasn’t quite good enough on restarts and I kept getting inside restarts and just lost track position. Each time the caution came out we’d lose a spot or two and it’s just hard to overcome that, but proud of the battle that we came through to come from the back to get back to sixth with a tore up race car.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 8th
Talk about your race today.
“We had a good car all day. Just got into it on a restart I guess with the 42 (Kyle Larson) and that got us damage and that got us behind the eight ball. We would have been on strategy with where the 11 (Denny Hamlin) was the whole rest of the day, but we had to fix damage.”