Toyota Racing NCS Post-Race Recap — Pocono 2

Two Toyota Top-Fives at Talladega

LONG POND, Pennsylvania (June 28, 2020) – Denny Hamlin led the final 15 laps and drove to his fourth win of the season at Pocono Raceway on Sunday evening. It is Hamlin’s sixth win at Pocono Raceway and the fifth win of season for Toyota in 2020. Erik Jones was scored in a season-best third.

Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)
Pocono Raceway
Race 15 of 36 – 350 miles, 140 laps
American Muscle

2nd, Kevin Harvick*
4th, Chase Elliott*
5th, Aric Almirola*
*non-Toyota driver


DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 1st

What can you say about Chris Gabehart’s strategy for today’s race and victory?

“He’s (Chris Gabehart, crew chief) just unbelievable. He’s done a great job with this race team. This is work that happens in the shop, this is way beyond what happens on race day. Can’t say enough for FedEx, Toyota, Coca-Cola, the Jordan Brand. I mean six (career wins at Pocono), I can’t even put it into words, how much it means to me.”

What is the moment like when you were getting nervous about the strategy and Kevin Harvick’s position on the track?

“I was just hoping for no cautions, I knew we had the car. I was just maintaining my gap right there and didn’t want to make any mistakes like I did at Bristol and threw that win away. I just tried to work through the traffic as best I could and obviously Chris (Gabehart) is paying attention to strategy there and made the right call.”

How did this race unfold for you today?

“A lot of adversity early. We got some nose damage and had to fix that. Then we just worked on the car and got it better and better. It finished the race there a lot better than we finished yesterday and I thought we had a race-winning car yesterday. We knew after yesterday’s race and showing the speed that we had, just don’t mess it up and we’ve got a good shot today and that’s what we did.”

How patient are you with strategy races?

“You have to work it, but ultimately the two fastest cars finished one-two both days. I think that there’s no secret there and this team has been strong every week. We’re in contention to win every single week and that’s all you can ask for as a race car driver and we’re just on a roll right now.”

How do you feel about your race team at this stage of the season?

“Working to keep getting better and keep getting faster race car and giving me a bigger box to work in. If we don’t have the exact right setup or the handling isn’t perfect, we’re still going out there and winning races because we have decent car speed. We’re just continuing to make ourselves a little bit better and it’s making that room for error just a little bit bigger.”

ERIK JONES, No. 20 Craftsman Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 3rd

How was your race today?

“Yeah, today was a lot better than yesterday for sure. It’s great to rebound like that. Unfortunately, I think we could have – definitely could have had two top-fives, and really, I think our primary car was quite a bit better than this car. I thought we could have probably contended both days a little more towards the win if we had our primary, but the Craftsman Camry was good. We made good changes overnight. We actually changed a lot of stuff and tried to kind of rebalance with what we had with this backup car. It’s nice to get a solid finish. I mean, we came off a good run at Talladega and went right back to a DNF and to come back here with a third. We just need to be consistent from here and keep it rolling.”

How much did the track conditions change as darkness set in during the closing laps?

“They changed quite a bit as far as it did rubber in a little bit after the shower we got. It kind of changed – it got tighter and then after the sun went down, I thought it freed up the last probably 25 laps. We were pretty loose at the end. It was kind of holding us back from really doing much more than running third, but it did change a lot. It was pretty dark the last 10 laps, but I was glad we could get the race in.”

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Mini’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 38th

What happened with you and Ryan Blaney?

“I don’t know. The guys did an amazing job from yesterday to today. I guess it proves that if you get a little practice time in and we are going to be a force to be reckoned with so hopefully life gets back to normal eventually but we are in 2020, so it doesn’t surprise me getting crashed out of the lead. The M&M’s Camry was pretty fast today. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and the guys did a great job. It’s just very frusterating and unfortunate. I know what happened but it doesn’t make any sense to talk about it. It will just come across in a bad way.”

CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 95 Rheem Toyota Camry, Leavine Family Racing

Finishing Position: 39th

Your day is done early. What exactly happened Christopher?

“Yeah, I don’t exactly know. I was kind of rolling out there by myself, and I had a good gap between the guy in front of me and behind me, and it just stepped out getting into turn two there. It’s disappointing, but I’m really happy with the speed that we’ve had these last couple weeks. Obviously, yesterday here we were really fast, and we had another great car today, so these guys keep bringing really fast Rheem Camrys to the racetrack and we will have good shows.”

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