All four Joe Gibbs Racing Camrys set their sights on the Playoffs

LAT Images #18: Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M’s, #20: Erik Jones, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry STANLEY, #19: Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry AOI and #11: Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Express

After a practice accident, Denny Hamlin drove through the field at the Brickyard 400, securing a sixth-place result.

Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Race 26 of 36 – 400 miles, 160 laps

TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS

1st,  Kevin Harvick*

2nd, Joey Logano*

3rd, Bubba Wallace*

4th, William Bryon*

5th, Clint Bowyer*

6th, DENNY HAMLIN

18th, MATT DiBENEDETTO

27th, MARTIN TRUEX JR.

36th, PARKER KLIGERMAN

37th, KYLE BUSCH

39th, ERIK JONES

*non-Toyota driver

•                Camry driver Denny Hamlin was the highest-finishing Toyota driver in sixth.

•                Despite running portions of the day inside the top-10, Erik Jones, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Matt DiBenedetto all suffered damage from various incidents on pit road and on track this afternoon.

TOYOTA QUOTES

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

Finishing Position: 6th

Talk about the restarts. It looked like they were crucial.
“Yeah, it was all about the restarts. That’s why you saw the wrecks that you did in turns one and two. Passing was just not that easy. It’s part of it. It’s part of this race track, the challenge that comes into it. So much of it is about qualifying.”

Been a heck of a year for you. Now you turn the page and go to Vegas. Talk about your mindset.

“We are ready to go. Our cars are fast. Everything’s fast. As long as we execute, we know we are going to be in contention to win every week.”

Talk about your run today.

“Just frustrated. We finished sixth, but you just can’t pass. We would run like a second slower running behind someone. Got a bad restart on that last restart and went back to 10th or so, so I was happy to rebound to sixth. Wish we would have had a shot to get up front at somepoint. Just couldn’t overcome the traffic.”

Will you change your approach any this season?

“I think you want to create as good of a buffer as you can for the first two races that way you can go to the Roval and not have to worry about so much. That’s going to be the plan for us. To have a smooth Vegas, have a smooth Richmond and see how things play out.”

MARTIN TRUEX Jr., No. 19 Auto Owners Insurance Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 27th

How ready are you for Vegas?

“Well I can tell you that I’m glad to be rolling out of Indy. It’s been a pretty crappy weekend for us in general. Felt like we had something for them today at the start of the race. We were passing cars. We had to start way in the back, and then on the first pit stop, of course, we get in a crash. Unforunate deal. The guys have been doing a good job, and I feel like the Playoff tracks line up well for us. We have a decent amount of Playoff points in the bank to start out with. First round, if we can just go do what we know how to do, be consistent, not beat ourselves, we should be able to move on pretty quickly. Hopefully, we can start to take advatange of the fast race cars. The last five to six races, we have been really strong. We don’t have a whole lot to show for it, so it has been disappointing. It has been frustrating from that point. Knowing that we have the team and the speed to go really far in the Playoffs and be a Championship contender feels good. We will be ready to start that next weekend.”

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

Finishing Position: 37th

Did you have any indication that the engine was about to go?

“No, we just left pit road and we were just coming up throught the gears. Everything was fine. We got to fourth. We made it all the way to turn two on the apron there and then tried to blend up in traffic and it just let go. I don’t know. We weren’t as good as we wanted to be, where we thought we could run with those guys. We were definitely struggling in the long run similar to yesterday. We thought we qualified a little better than we should, and I guess that’s probably why we weren’t quite there for the long haul and keeping downforce in the car I guess. Just too tight overall. I thought we were going to have a solid third-to-fifth, something like that anyways, and try to come out of here with some points or some momentum going into the Playoffs, but we are stuck here. Once it blew up, it knocked the brakes out of it so I couldn’t stop coming to pit road so I couldn’t get out of everyone’s way and not cause a caution. So sorry about that.”

What happened to the race car?

“I didn’t think we had a chance to win. We were just way too tight, we were off a little bit today. Thought we were going to have a solid third-to-fifth place car anyways and come out of here with a solid effort and have some momentum rolling into the next week. Unfortunately, we blew up. Everything was fine, there was no warning of it. It just happened all of the sudden. I was leaving pit road and blending back into traffic on the backstretch. When it blew up, for some reason it knocked the brakes out of it so I couldn’t stop. All in all, just a bummer day for us – for this M&M’s Hazelnut Camry.”

How do you feel as you prepare for another run at the title?
“It would certainly be nice to be headed into the playoffs with a little momentum on our side. That’s not the case. We head to my hometown, Vegas, to kick it off. Hopefully, we can have a good, clean Playoff run. Our guys have done a great job. We’ve had fast cars this year; hopefully, we can continue that.”

You have a ton of experience on your team. How do you think that experience will help you?

“You look at it, and we won the title in our first year together. We have been able to back it up championship race Playoff positions each year since. Hopefully, we can keep that trend going. We have certainly worked hard throughout the regular season to get this Playoff point advantage that we have right now. It would be nice to not have to rely on those points, but to be able to win some races here and close out the season strong and get to Homestead and race for a Championship.”

ERIK JONES, No. 20 STANLEY Wish For Our Heroes Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 39th

What happened in the accident with Brad Keselowski?

“I just got loose and made a mistake. I didn’t think Brad (Keselowski) would be so tight on me and I just lost it. It’s my fault. I feel bad for the 2 (Keselowski) and I feel bad for our team as well. It’s a shame, we had a good Stanley Camry and I just hate seeing it come down like that. I just wasn’t anticipating enough and I drove in too hard for it. It’s all good. We’ll move on. Wish we would have had a good day. Our car was really strong and we had a shot to probably win today. Just didn’t work out.”

What has the racing been like so far in this race?

“Really challenging. That’s part of why I was making that move and being aggressive with it. I was just trying to get track position. I made a mistake on pit road and stalled it. I was just trying to get back up there. We had a good restart and I was just hoping I could get some good track position back. Tried to get in there and get another spot and it just didn’t quite work out.”

Are you peaking at the right time?

“I think so. We had good speed today, just an unfortunate incident took us out. I think we would have run top-five. I think next week in Vegas we will have the same thing. We have been right up there with our other teammates up in the front contending. Hopefully, we can just carry it into the Playoffs and have that same speed and momentum that’s going to take us deep into it.”

As a driver, do you feel like you have the package figured out?

“Yeah, definitely a lot more now. I wasn’t sure for a few races at the start of the year, and now, I’ve got it as close as you can. It’s tough, and it’s still hard to pass. Track position is still really important. I feel like we have a good baseline down at least for how much we trim out and how much downforce we put in, kind of how we setup in practice that transfers to the race well. We figured out a lot of stuff, and defintely things that are going to help us going forward.”

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