Toyota Racing Quotes
NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)
Daytona International Speedway
Monday, February 17
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How do you describe this style of racing and the bravery the drivers have to show?
“I think we take for granted sometimes how safe these cars are. We’re praying for Ryan (Newman). Worked really well with Ryan through this whole race. Obviously, he got turned right there. Proud of our whole FedEx team. I don’t even know what to say, so unexpected. I knew they were going to come with a big run there. My job was to just make sure I didn’t put a block up where they would wreck me so I could make it to another corner. We got to the 12 (Ryan Blaney’s) bumper and got the push from there. I knew I was going to give him a big run. The race wasn’t over and obviously it worked out well for us there at the end. Proud of this whole FedEx team, Toyota, Coke, the Jordan brand. It’s great to have my girls here and the team celebrating back-to-back. I can’t even tell you what it means to me.”
What is it about you and this style of racing and Daytona?
“I just feel like I’m a student to the game. I never stop learning and trying to figure out where I need to put myself at the right time. It doesn’t always work. The odds – we’ve definitely defied odds the last eight years or so to win the Daytona 500. I just trust my instincts and so far they’ve been good for me. I can’t do it without the car and making it capable for me to make those winning moves.”
Take us through those final two laps.
“I knew that I got out there a little too far on the backstretch. I didn’t want to check up and it was just going to increase the run that those guys had. I knew that I wanted to give them the bottom and leave myself the top so I had some options. Great call by my spotter there, (Chris) Lambert to tuck in behind the 12 (Ryan Blaney). He told me to get behind the 12 and entering turn three I was able to link up on his bumper, similar to what I did with the 6 (Ryan Newman) and I knew I was going to give him a shot or a run was going to be massive and he was going to do something with it. I knew it wasn’t over from my perspective. When they got together, I just wanted to get as far away as I could and then once I saw the 12 coming up, I wanted to get to his right-rear like I did with the 78 a few years ago and side draft to the line. Things really worked out perfectly there for me at the end. I’m very fortunate to be in this place, but we all have to bow our heads and pray for Ryan Newman. That’s the number one thing we should all be thinking about right now.”
How concerned were you that you were the sole Toyota in the closing laps?
“We’re defying odds. We’re obviously low on numbers there. There were just so many Fords, I knew that at the end of these races, people want to win for themselves. Alliances and all sound really, really good at the beginning, but in the end, it’s the Daytona 500 and we want to do everything we can to win. Everyone was battling for it there. We just ended up on the right side of it.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Kyle, do you know what happened there to take you out of the race?
“No, right there coming out of (turn) four – when we were leading and guys were kind of switching from the bottom to the top. That’s when I got warning that it was starting to go away and then through the tri-oval it let go more and that is when (Joey) Logano was all over me. I couldn’t get out of the way fast enough. Overall, it’s just a shame. I really hate it for all my guys. I really hate it for Joe Gibbs Racing. You come off pit road after the final pit stop and you are leading the thing – it’s kind of your shot to win. All you have to do is make sure that you can keep everyone else behind you. We’ve been in that spot I don’t know how many times, and I guess we will just keep going down in history of finding new ways to lose it. I know there is another guy who has done that before and he was pretty popular. I don’t know. It sucks to be in that conversation, but we will go on another year.”