Toyota Racing Richmond MENCS Post-Qualifying Report – 09.20.19

LAT Images #18: Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M’s Hazelnut

Kyle Busch was the top Toyota driver in NASCAR Cup Series qualifying at Richmond Raceway on Friday evening.

Toyota Racing Post-Qualifying Report

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

Richmond Raceway – September 20, 2019


1st, Brad Keselowski*

2nd, Kevin Harvick*

3rd, Chase Elliott*


5th, Clint Bowyer*





*non-Toyota driver 


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

Starting Position: 4th

How was your car in practice  today here at Richmond?

“It was okay, it was typical Richmond I think. We practiced really, really similar to how we did here in the spring. We were good when we were out front here in the race, but we had a little bit of trouble passing so we’ll see if we didn’t make some gains on that today.”

Is your frustration in some situations just a part of who you are as a driver?

“Everything in this world is a sword – there’s a double edge to everything. I think some of the things that make me as good as I am and the abilities that I have behind the wheel can also be a little bit of a detriment in other situations and vice versa. It’s just the nature of the beast.”

How do you avoid what happened at the start of the race in Las Vegas when you got into the wall?

“We started out, we practiced our car and we were pretty decent in practice, but I felt like I was a tick tight. So we made some changes going into the race to free it up. The first run in Vegas is always looser and I guess I just didn’t mentally prepare myself for that enough and we were 10 numbers loose, like crashing loose and I got myself in trouble, got myself in the fence. I was able to battle back from all of that throughout everything of the day and put ourselves in position for a solid finish and we just didn’t get it.”

What goes into leading a race team?

“Knowing what to work on. Knowing what direction to lead your team. You can be a driver with a crew chief here in practice and you can lead them down the wrong path and you can suck in the race. Just knowing and understanding what the dynamic is that you’re looking for and what you need in your cars to be better is going to help elevate the overall team. I would like to think that myself at Joe Gibbs Racing has allowed our organization to elevate it’s game along with Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. and Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart. All those guys, we’ve all had our part in being able to do that. Erik Jones, he’s there now and we’ll put him in there, he has helped. It’s just a part of how we all try to work on not only making ourselves, but our teams winners.”

How special is next week’s Bundle of Joy Foundation event to you and Samantha?

“With all the news this week, it’s pretty easy to get negative on people, but the positives of stories that would be nice to come out is what Samantha (Busch) and I tend to enjoy doing with ‘Color the Night,’ so thank you. We’re having our annual benefit for the Bundle of Joy Fund on Wednesday and really looking forward to that. It’s near and dear to our hearts obviously because of the experiences that we went through to have our son Brexton so we want to be able to go out there and help raise money. I think this year we’re already slated ahead of last year, which is good. It’s sponsored by M&M’s this year, which is a huge thing for us to have kind of a fun, outgoing atmosphere and party with everybody being colorful.”

MATT DiBENEDETTO, No. 95 Toyota Express Maintenance Toyota Camry, Leavine Family Racing

Starting Position: 12th

How did the car feel?
“Pretty good. Yeah, the track had a lot more speed in it. Yeah, I was fairly happy with it. It took a little bit to come in. But it seemed fine. Nothing crazy, which is always good.”

What are you expecting tomorrow night?

“It will be normal Richmond – sliding around – which is fun. Track position is more important than years past. So that will be really important, because it’s a lot tougher to pass in dirty air. Just have to play that game, and keep track position, so we don’t have to deal with much of that.”

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

Starting Position: 16th

Did you ever figure out what happened in Las Vegas?

“Yeah, it looks like it was an issue with the linkage inside the car. It was an internal issue in the linkage. Kind of a freak deal. Changing some tolerances and some other things to try to make sure it doesn’t happen again, but it looks like a piece of trash got caught up inside and couldn’t find its way back out of the linkage.”

Does it change the attiude of what you have ahead of you?
“The emphasis is more on stage points now, I think. We definitely need more points than we needed. We thought solid weeks in each one would do it, which would’ve barring the incident. Just need to have a good day. Top-five in every stage, finish in the top-five and hope some of the other guys have some worse days than us is what it’s going to take to get at least in a position going into Charlotte that we can point our way through. We are not out by any means. I think we have a car that can contend tomorrow night as well as run well enough to get the points we need.”

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