HAMLIN LEADS FOR JGR TOYOTAS IN TOP-TEN AT LAS VEGAS
Denny Hamlin adds to Playoff total with Opening Stage Win
LAS VEGAS (September 27, 2020) – Toyota Playoff drivers Denny Hamlin (third), Martin Truex Jr. (fourth) and Kyle Busch (sixth) drove to top-six finishes at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to lead Toyota in the South Point 400 on Sunday evening for the NASCAR Cup Series. Hamlin added to his Playoff point total with an opening stage victory and leaves Las Vegas with a 58-point advantage over the Playoff cutoff line. Truex is also above the cutline, with Busch just nine points below heading into Talladega Superspeedway.
Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Race 30 of 36 – 400.5 miles, 267 laps
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, Kurt Busch*
2nd, Matt DiBenedetto*
3rd, DENNY HAMLIN
4th, MARTIN TRUEX JR.
5th, Alex Bowman*
6th, KYLE BUSCH
8th, ERIK JONES
24th, CHRISTOPHER BELL
29th, DANIEL SUÁREZ
37th, TIMMY HILL
39th, CHAD FINCHUM
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 3rd
How was your race today overall?
“We had a dominant car today and I’m proud of the whole FedEx team for giving me such a great car. By far the best car I’ve had in Las Vegas in a long time. It was really, really good. Happy with it and this new tire here. We’ll run that a few more times this year. Really encouraged by the way we ran, but very disappointed that we didn’t get a win. It’s just been the way that the Playoffs have gone. Whoever stays out the longest puts themselves in a great spot to win.”
Do you feel better leaving Las Vegas with a third-place finish heading to Talladega?
“I feel good about it. I certainly had a great day. It’s something I’m happy about, it’s about how we ran and how fast we were. We restarted 13th there with just a few laps and then the top got shuffled and we were able to make some ground on the bottom. If either one of the cautions don’t happen, we’re still in great shape, but it took them like seven laps to get a piece of debris off and then we had debris right in the fuel window. Just really unfortunate circumstances for our FedEx team that’s keeping us out of victory lane. Really happy with the way we’re running.”
How crazy were the restarts?
“It’s tough to try to figure out where to be. When my car is on the bottom, I’m faster than everyone, but when the train gets going up top and the draft gets going and you can’t overcome it. I was really happy with the push that I got. I don’t know if I would have done a different move or not. I just drove to the bottom there and I got all the way beside the 21 (Matt DiBenedetto), it was just that nobody was on the bottom there to help us push and that was all she wrote.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 4th
How would you sum up your race tonight?
“We were right there in the hunt coming down after the last pit stop there under green. We were third and we were tracking them down just a little bit at a time. Felt like we were maybe going to have a three-way race for the win and then that caution came out and put us all the way to the back. To be able to battle through that and ended up pitting again for tires because we weren’t going anywhere and restarted like 24th there on not the last caution, but the one before that. To be able to drive back up to fourth is really something. The Bass Pro Toyota was really strong tonight. We needed just a little bit to be as good as the 11 (Denny Hamlin) and maybe the 88 (Alex Bowman), but we were a third-place car, no question. Just missed it a tiny little bit. Decent night. Just needed a little bit more, but happy with the team and the job they’re doing. See what we can do next week at Talladega.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 6th
Can you sum up your race tonight?
“I don’t know. Started a little up, went a little down and finished just kind of mediocre there. We brought an okay M&M’s Camry. Just didn’t seem to have the overall speed that it needed, especially on the long runs early in the race. Then there late, just no overall speed. Nothing to go blitz anybody and try to make moves and get to the front. We just salvaged along and got what we got. We got lucky to get what we got for sure. It was looking like it was going to be a 12th or 14th place day but came home sixth.”
How do you feel about salvaging a sixth-place result in tonight’s race?
“We weren’t great early on and didn’t quite have the long run speed. We worked on it and I thought we were making some gains on it and then we got that damage and got way back in traffic. Then there towards the end, was just able to get lucky on a couple of the last restarts in order to pick off a few spots with the M&M’s Camry and get ourselves in a better position for the finish. It was a pretty dismal day I guess. I looked like it was going to be about 12th or 14th if we didn’t have some good moves on that last restart there to get us a sixth-place finish.”
What do you think about your brother, Kurt, finally getting the win here in Las Vegas?
“It’s awesome. I got my win here a long time ago and we’ve both always struggled here. We’ve never really been very good here, I think he would admit it probably. It was pretty cool to finally see him get a victory here in Las Vegas and score a hometown win. That’s kind of like a Daytona 500 win, but he’s got one of those so he still one-upped me again. We’ll have to figure out if we can get a win this year.”
ERIK JONES, No. 20 Today’s The Day Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 8th
How was your race tonight?
“It was kind of an up-and-down day. We started off and I didn’t think that our Toyota Camry was really where it needed to be. We were struggling with rear grip in the heat and couldn’t really get the thing going in the right direction. Towards the end, got some track position and had some good restarts and got the car a lot better. We got caught a lap down with the pit cycle and had some contact there with another car trying to avoid the 38 (John Hunter Nemechek) and had to come in and pit and fix some damage. It put us behind there with six laps to go, but still good to come home eighth. Top-10, we will take that and move on.”
We are headed to Talladega next, a track that you nearly won in the spring. What is your focus going into that superspeedway race?
“We have six races left this year and we want to win. We haven’t had speed on the mile-and-a-halves to get up there and contend for a win yet, but Talladega is a great opportunity for us. Obviously, everybody’s got a chance there. Moving forward from there, there’s some other good tracks that we are coming to like Kansas. We are still pushing and working hard. We are still working for next year, but definitely the goal before the end of the year is to hopefully win a race.”
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