Denny Hamlin earns a top-15 starting spot to lead Toyota at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

LAT Images #11: Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Ground

Denny Hamlin was the top Toyota driver in NASCAR Cup Series qualifying at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Toyota Racing Post-Qualifying Report

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

Las Vegas Motor Speedway – September 14, 2019

TOYOTA STARTING POSITIONS

1st, Clint Bowyer*

2nd, Daniel Suarez*

3rd, Kevin Harvick*

4th, Aric Almirola*

5th, Kurt Busch*

13th, DENNY HAMLIN

20th, KYLE BUSCH

24th, MARTIN TRUEX JR.

25th, MATT DiBENEDETTO

26th, ERIK JONES

39th, JOEY GASE

*non-Toyota driver

TOYOTA QUOTES

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

Qualifying Position: 13th

How different will the race be versus how it was last time we were here?

“I don’t know. I don’t know how much is going to play out differently. It kind of remains to be seen. We came here and we thought we were going to be pretty confident off of the truck, and it just did not drive well at all. So, we kind of went through a transition there through practice, so it seems like they made some improvements on it for qualifying.”

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

Qualifying Position: 20th

Were you guys flat out, wide open?

“Yep.”

Were you surprised because it’s so hot and slick out there?

“No, with as much as you had to put into race trim to keep gas on from lap 10 and on, I knew qualifying was going to be ugly for us.”

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Qualifying Position: 24th

How much is the driving different here than the first time?

“It’s way different. The track temperature being 50 degrees hotter has changed it a lot. Even yesterday from first practice to second practice, it changed a lot. It’s going to be a tricky race tomorrow night with it starting at the hottest part of the day and ending with darkness under the lights. It’s going to be pretty challenging to keep up with it.”

Can you talk about how it feels when it’s slick here?

“It’s just free. You are trying to run around here wide open, or close to it, and the tires are giving up as you run laps and they give up fast. You just start losing feel for the car and you start sliding. You start letting off and the guy who lets off the least starts making up so much time. It’s crazy. You just barely start cracking the throttle, you lose like two or three tenths a lap. It’s very challenging. It’s very important to keep your car balanced, but like I said, that’s going to be very difficult with the changing conditions.”

MATT DiBENEDETTO, No. 95 Barstool Sports Toyota Camry, Leavine Family Racing

Qualifying Position: 25th

How is the Barstool Sports sponsorship this weekend?

“It’s awesome. Their reach is crazy. I’ve been a fan for a long time, so it’s an easy fit for me. Their reach is really cool, and it’s to a demographic that is my age group so it’s natural, and way beyond me it’s good for the sport to attract that crowd anyway.”

What’s it been like on-track this weekend?

“It’s been a crazy week; being so appreciative and humbled. But still the focus for the rest of the year is LFR (Leavine Family Racing), and that’s the main thing for me. I desperately want to get the first win for our team. It would mean a lot, not for just me, but the guys, Wheels (Mike Wheeler, crew chief), Doug (Campbell, spotter), Bob and Sharon (Leavine, team owners) for investing in me. That’s part of why I was so emotional after Bristol – not just for myself, but for them too. I want it bad for LFR, so that’s my main focus.”

ERIK JONES, No. 20 CRAFTSMAN Gas Monkey Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Qualifying Position: 26th

Talk about your qualifying lap.

“It’s just frustrating. You hold it wide open and you hope to go fast, but it’s not where we want to be. We have qualified pretty close to 15th all year, and we will just have to race good. It’s frustrating, because it takes time to get up there. You have such a better car than that, but you have to sacrifice your race to qualify well and it’s not a good fit for us. We want to race good. We will just have to race our way to the front. The CRAFTSMAN Camry has speed. It’s just going to take all day to get up front. It’s frustrating in that aspect, but we know we have a fast car.”

Toyota Racing PR

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