Toyota MENCS Daytona 500 Qualifying Report 2.11.18



1st, Alex Bowman *


3rd, Jimmie Johnson *


5th, William Byron *






*non-Toyota driver



NOTE – Above time trial results will determine the starting positions for the two Feb. 15 qualifying races that will set the starting positions for the Daytona 500 that will take place on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2017.  Today’s qualifying determined the front row starting positions.



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

Starting Position: 2nd

How were you able to put your Camry on the front row for next Sunday’s Daytona 500?

“Just great teamwork. It’s a testament to all of the hard work at TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and all the work they put in to give us great engines and technology. Really, everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing’s fab shop to give us a race car that’s obviously very fast. This car obviously we geared a lot towards drafting yesterday so I’m very optimistic that we can have a good Duel even though we’re locked in to the front row.”


Has the shock worn off to get your first front row start in the Daytona 500?

“No, I literally am so ecstatic. It’s just so out of the blue because obviously I thought that today was going to be a tough day qualifying. We focused so much on race trim yesterday. We stuck in a pack and I think we did one real mock run which wasn’t really even a mock run and we were so far off that we just switched and made sure our car was going to handle real good on Thursday and obviously next Sunday. This car is ready to race. It’s handling well and we’re looking forward to Thursday. Now, obviously to the 500 being on the front row. I’m so proud of FedEx and TRD (Toyota Racing Development). All of the hard work that the fab shop at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) has done. This is really about them and their preparation for the Daytona 500. I couldn’t be prouder to represent them and hopefully we’ll get us another Daytona 500 next Sunday.”


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

Qualified: 4th

How was your Camry in qualifying?

“Our qualifying run went a lot better than we were expecting. There was good speed in our 2018 Camry and being able to have a good starting position is important. It would have been nice to have the front row locked in, but this is a good starting position for the Duels race and we’re in there with our teammate (Denny Hamlin). Hopefully we can get some good points from the Duels and get ourselves a good starting spot for the (Daytona) 500.”


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

Starting Position: 6th

How was your Camry in today’s qualifying session?

“Our Camry has been pretty fast all weekend and I think we focused on single car runs in the second practice yesterday. It’s nice to be able to make it to the second round. I’ve been happy with it. It’s been fun just to kind of get settled in the 20 car and the DeWalt team has been fun to work with so far. I’m learning more about everybody and getting to know our roles.”


DANIEL SUAREZ, No. 19 ARRIS Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Qualified: 7th

How was your Camry in qualifying?

“I think it was good, much better than I was expecting. We worked very hard to have the car drive well                                             in the draft

and sometimes that doesn’t help in the qualifying runs. We weren’t expecting to be super strong, but I felt like we’re very fast.”

How does this speak to where all the Camrys are right now as majority of you are in the top-12?

“All of the hard work from all the guys at the shop during the winter is showing up for sure today.”


MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Furniture Row Racing

Qualified: 26th

How was the Camry in qualifying?

“It was actually a little slower than we ran in practice. I don’t know, speed-wise we’ve been off a bit here, especially single car runs. In single car runs we’ve been off a bit on speed – I don’t know, new rules package and all, we’re just trying to figure that out. Looking forward to racing today just to see what these things will do in the draft.”


Is there anything you feel can be improved on for the Duels and the race?

“Not really, there’s not a whole lot you can do when you get down here. You kind of got what you got. We’re going to hope that our car handles really good and we can out drive them in race trim.”

Toyota Racing PR/Photo Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

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