Toyota MENCS Dover Post-Qualifying Recap — 5.3.19

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

Qualifying Position: 8th

How was your qualifying lap?

“Pretty good. I thought it went well for us considering the draw that we had. I was pretty happy — qualifying there in the top-10 at least gets us a good draw for next week’s qualifying. We’ll battle from there. It’s just a starting spot and you really don’t know what you’ve got in race trim until tomorrow morning. We’ll go to work on that and see where we end up.”

Does the potential of a weather change play a factor in your mind for the race setup?

“I know it will change it, but it’s kind of up to the team to make the adjustments for the weather. That’s their cup of tea so they know what they’re doing. They always gauge for these types of things. I thought we did a really good job adjusting our car today from the cloudy, cooler conditions to the sunny, warm ones we have this afternoon.”

MARTIN TRUEX JR, No. 19 SiriusXM Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Qualifying Position: 13th

How was the qualifying run?

“Not what we hoped for. Track conditions changed a lot from practice. I thought it would be a good change for us. Car wouldn’t change as well as we need it to. It really hurts you here. This place is so fast and you are in the throttle so much. You really have to have your car balanced right. As soon as I got in the middle of the corner, it started getting tight. I couldn’t get the throttle down like I needed to, so my speed suffered from that. We will work hard on the SiriusXM Camry tomorrow, and see what we can do for Sunday.”

Do you prefer this type of qualifying or no?

“I really do not have an opinion either way. It is our job to try to figure out how of everybody. It definitely feels different. We have went six years doing three rounds and trying to figure out what you have to do to be good to just make it through the first round, be a little better in the next round and lay it down in the third. And now it is back to ‘Alright boys, get out of the motorhome — come out here and go 80s at Dover.’ It is a lot different. It is a lot more pressure. I think it makes people a lot more nervous this way. You can’t say, ‘Oh we screwed up — let’s go make another run at it.’ What you got is what you got. The first time out is what you have for Sunday as a starting spot, so it is definitely tough.”

ERIK JONES, No. 20 Sport Clips Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Qualifying Position: 15th

How was your qualifying lap?

We got hurt a little bit; we had to wait for the break. Track just changes a lot here when it sits, but it was an okay lap. We will probably qualify top 15, but this Sport Clips Camry has speed. We will kind of see how it goes tomorrow.”

Do you favor group qualifying runs or do you like the single car?

“I like it. I would rather just go out and do it like this. It is a little more stress free going out like this; it puts a little more pressure on you to not mess up. You only have two shots. It is fun; it is what we get paid to do.”

MATT DiBENEDETTO, No. 95 FDNY Foundation Toyota Camry, Leavine Family Racing

Qualifying Position: 17th

How was your qualifying lap?

“We got a rough draw going out first, but it is okay. The track was kind of slick, but I forgot how fun it was to do the old-school single car qualifying. You get a lot more nerves, because every eye in the place is watching you. That was fun. I forgot all about this; it has been so long.

Do you like single car qualifying more than the group qualifying?

“Yeah, you know I am an old school guy. I like everything, all the eyes, all the pressure. Everything is on you to lay it all down and get the most out of your car. You are not worried about crazy stuff like getting blocked; you can just focus on your lap. The hard work shows up. We got the unlucky draw of going first; I am not going to lie, that is a big disadvantage. But that is part of it. I like it; I love it. It’s fun to go back to it.

How much has the track changed since this morning?

“It was a lot slower. I ran a 21.60 in practice, and right there 22.1. Which I did get loose coming to green, so I kind of wrecked my first lap, so we could have been a little better, maybe. Like a tenth. With the sun out, concrete race tracks are super sensitive to rubber, so it slowed down a lot. I had to adjust my pace quite a bit.

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Pedigree Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Qualifying Position: 22nd

What do you think makes this track so difficult to conquer?

“When you have good race cars, it makes things a bit easier and right now we’re kind of struggling with that. We just don’t necessarily have the feel I’m looking for and what I need to be able to go out there and make fast lap times. We’re off a little bit so we’ll try to get better tomorrow.”

Do the dramatic corners make it even more critical for the handling to be good in your car?

“Absolutely and this place is pretty physically demanding. It’s very aero-sensitive so when you’re starting in the back like we are, it’s not a good place to be, but we’ll have our work cut out for us. Hopefully, our pit crew will do a good job and they can help me out on pit road. Then we can get ourselves to the front.”

Toyota Racing PR