Toyota Racing Post-Qualifying Report
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Watkins Glen International –August 3, 2019
TOYOTA STARTING POSITIONS
1st, Chase Elliott*
2nd, William Byron*
3rd, KYLE BUSCH
4th, MARTIN TRUEX JR.
5th, Kyle Larson*
6th, DENNY HAMLIN
14th, ERIK JONES
20th, MATT DIBENEDETTO
24th, PARKER KLIGERMAN
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops/ Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Qualifying Position: 4th
How was qualifying for you today?
“It was okay. Qualified fourth and we’ve been third or fourth here every year. Still quite haven’t figured out how to get the front row, but worked hard on it there and worked hard all day. We had a decent practice. We lacked a little bit of speed, but felt like our car on the long runs was really good. Starting fourth I think is a good spot. You don’t have to start first, you just have to be near the front all day and hopefully do all those things right strategy-wise and the way cautions fall and all that. Got a good spot to start and see what we can do with it.”
What does it take to win a race like this?
“It’s hard to win road races just because pit strategy, fuel mileage – if the cautions don’t fall the way you need them to, sometimes it can put you off-sequence and it can be tough to overcome. I love this kind of racing and think it’s a lot of fun. Banging gears and burning the brakes up and driving with the throttle and all that, it’s a lot of fun. We’ve had good success here and we’ll see if we can keep it going tomorrow.”
What has made you so good at road course races?
“It feels good and it’s fun to come to these places when you’ve had success and you have confidence. Confidence is such a big deal in this sport, especially this level. Everybody here is so good, the teams are so good. You have to have confidence to drive right on that edge every single lap. With that said, the road courses have been a lot of fun, I’ve enjoyed them. Had great races cars and a great team. We certainly could have had a few more wins along the way, but there’s been a few races – last time we won here, two years ago, we didn’t have the best car and I think two times we had the best car and we didn’t win. Being the fastest doesn’t necessarily guarantee a win, especially in this series. Hopefully, we’ll be around the front tomorrow and put ourselves in position to have a shot.”
Do you feel you can beat the 9 car with the speed they’ve shown in practice and qualifying?
“I don’t know that we ran long enough today and honestly I don’t think our car was as good as we needed it to be. We made some changes and I felt better about it in qualifying, but he (Chase Elliott) was really fast today. The 18 (Kyle Busch) was really fast as well, but it seemed like the 9 was really fast. It’s interesting, last year we were probably a little quicker than he was and couldn’t get the pass done at the end. They were smoking fast today so whatever they brought here from last year, they learned something and hopefully we can keep up with them tomorrow.”
ERIK JONES, No. 20 DeWalt Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Qualifying Position: 14th
What happened when you went into turn one on your qualifying lap?
“I just missed my mark. I just got in too hot and locked the right-front up enough that it blew it out. That’s not what you want to do. I kind of thought we were done and I didn’t realize that the rule was that if you don’t complete a lap you get to come back in and change tires. We put another tire on it and the DeWalt Camry had good speed. I was just a little conservative on my lap, which I think you can probably understand why after the first time. Still a good starting spot. It has more speed than that so it’s frustrating in that way, but still nice that we’re starting off better than dead last where we thought we were going to be.”
When you blew the tire and they towed the car back to pit road, where did you go?
“They took me back to the trailer and I kind of thought we were done so I was going to start changing and then they were showing on TV that my car was on pit road. I thought, well, I guess I’ll make my way back out. I started hoofing back out there and got out just in time to get in the car. Glad we could at least get a lap in. I know it’s not what we wanted, but for all the chaos that went on, it’s not too bad.”
MATT DIBENEDETTO, No. 95 ProCore Toyota Camry, Leavine Family Racing
Qualifying Position: 20th
What happened on your qualifying lap?
“My lap got impeded by people cooling down in the last corner. That probably cost us a shot there at making the next round. Now we have cars to pass. That’s just part of the deal with group qualifying, people have to cool down the engines and there’s really not much they can do. It’s just part of the deal and we were just the unlucky recipients. We should be a lot better than our starting position of 20th, we’re a lot better than that. It’s fine and it’s a long race. We’ll just pass them. It’s just irritating when you have the opportunity to qualify good and get messed up by dumb stuff that is out of your control. Nobody’s fault.”
How did you feel about the car in race trim?
“Pretty good, I had to work on me more than the car. Trying to perfect little things on the race track and maximizing lap time to get the most out of the car. Just putting it all together. I learned a lot of stuff today to be perfect for tomorrow. I think we have a car that can race up into the top-10 if we just do our job.”