Three Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas scored top 10 finishes at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday evening.
Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Texas Motor Speedway
Race 34 of 36 – 500 miles, 334 laps
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, Kevin Harvick*
2nd, Aric Almirola*
3rd, Daniel Suarez*
4th, Joey Logano*
5th, Alex Bowman*
6th, MARTIN TRUEX JR.
7th, KYLE BUSCH
10th, ERIK JONES
14th, MATT DiBENEDETTO
22nd, PARKER KLIGERMAN
28th, DENNY HAMLIN
37th, TIMMY HILL
· Truex scored his third straight top-six finish.
· Busch led 18 laps, scoring his second straight top 10 finish at Texas Motor Speedway.
· Jones started a season-best second, and scored his fifth straight top 10 finish at Texas Motor Speedway
· While Truex has clinched his spot in the Championship 4, Busch will go into the cutoff race in Phoenix with a 22-point advantage. Hamlin is in fifth, 20 points behind the cutoff.
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 6th
Can you evaluate your run in today’s race?
“Just a battle. We felt pretty good after practice going into this thing that we’d be competitive. We were not very good and then we got some track position and we were hanging on okay. Then, we got back in the pack again and just had one run where it got really, really tight and lost all of our track position again and then it was just a battle. Made huge adjustments. We’ve not adjusted on a car that much all year long and we still never got it perfect, but definitely a lot better at the end. We just fought hard and never gave up on it all day and came home with a decent finish.”
Did this race mean anything to your team today after winning at Martinsville?
“There’s a lot of learning for next year going on here. Not sure what happened. We had a decent car at times, it just chattered the front tires way too bad all day long. So, I’m not sure what that was all about. We salvaged a decent finish there. It was a battle all day and we had to work hard for sixth. Just glad it’s over. Wish we could’ve been better, but learned a lot for next year which is important.”
How was your race today?
“It was a tough day for us. We expected to run pretty well here after practice and then at the start of the race it was just extremely tight and it stayed that way most of the day. We gained some track position and we could hang on up towards the front. Lacking way too much front grip. We made more adjustments today than I think we have in two years combined. We got it better at the end for sure, but it still wasn’t right. We missed something somewhere. Overall, fought hard and gave it our best to the bitter end there and we got a decent finish there. So, hopefully we learned some things out of what we did tonight for next year.”
What was the PJ1 like when you ran up high on the track?
“It was okay. I thought it was certainly a better race with it than it would’ve been without it. I think that’s probably the key takeaway here. I wish we could get it to be a little bit wider. Only two lanes is a little bit tough. We need three or so to really put on a good race. It was definitely a step in the right direction.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finshing Position: 7th
What is your mood at the end of this race?
“I don’t know, I was running wide open there and those guys were just driving away. We got what we got out of our M&M’s Camry tonight. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) made some good adjustments. The whole first set of tires was just ugly for us. Once we got past that and got some other tires on the car, it seemed to go a little bit better. It was hard battling some of them guys up there and up through traffic and what not. We should have run third and ran out of gas and starved the pump there at the end. Then I was stalled on pit road. That cost us four or five spots there.”
How do you feel heading to Phoenix next weekend to get back to victory lane?
“We all know one guy is going to move through on points and we have to do whatever we have to do in order to be that guy. If we can obviously go to Phoenix and have a strong run and be able to go out there and win, that will put ourselves through as well too. We’re two (points) on the 22 (Joey Logano) so it’s going to be a race between the 18 and the 22, imagine that.”
How did you feel the PJ1 came in throughout the race?
“It was slick early and certainly got better as the night went on and as the runs progressed. It was slick on restarts as well too just with new tires and it not activated I guess. Took a few laps.”
Does tonight’s race give you a good cushion going to Phoenix?
“We were going to run third and then it ran out down the back and starved the pump and it was out of gas. It wasn’t running when I got to my pit stall so it took them to engage to start filling it full of fuel for me to crank it over and get gas to it. That sucked and cost us four or five spots on the track I guess. That was about six points because the 22 (Logano), we flipped there. We were ahead of him and that would have been a great eight-point cushion on the 22 going into next week, but now it’s only a two-point cushion. That’s who we’re racing is the 22. No matter what anyone else does, if we finish ahead of him then we’re in.”
You have good memories at Phoenix, how does that play into next week?
“The last couple times we’ve been to Phoenix, we’ve run pretty good. Hopefully, that can translate to this time around again. We were good at Richmond and normally Richmond translates good there. Loudon (N.H.), that translates there. I’m optimistic about it. I think we can do okay. It’s just a matter of running another clean race and not having mistakes.”
ERIK JONES, No. 20 Sport Clips Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 10th
Talk about your finish.
“It was okay, the car was alright. Got caught out there on pit road and had to restart pretty far back with 90 to go and just drive back to where we could. Kind of a tough day. The Sport Clips Camry fired off the race well and just kind of lost it through the race. We’ll go on to Phoenix and hopefully be a little bit better.”
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 28th
What happened when the car got away from you?
“Just got up in that stuff before it was really broke in. Just lost control. That’s all there is to it. Proud of the whole FedEx team for putting their best effort forward so we could be there at the end. Did the best we could and we’ll go to Phoenix and try to win.”
How confident are you to go to Phoenix and win to transfer to Homestead?
“The car and the effort will be there, that’s for sure. There’s no doubt in my mind that we can go there and win. In these circumstances, I like the challenge. We’re going to go out there and give it our best shot and put our best foot forward and see if we can’t get a win next week.”
Toyota Racing PR