Erik Jones and Denny Hamlin proved two Camrys are better than one at Daytona International Speedway, as the duo worked together to send Jones to victory lane on Sunday afternoon.
Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Cup Series
Daytona International Speedway
187.5 miles, 75 laps
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, ERIK JONES
2nd, Austin Dillon*
3rd, Clint Bowyer*
4th, Kyle Larson*
5th, Ryan Newman*
6th, DENNY HAMLIN
16th, MARTIN TRUEX JR.
18th, KYLE BUSCH
ERIK JONES, No. 20 Sport Clips Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 1st
How would you describe this day?
“Well, not what I would’ve thought we’d want. It was an awesome race. I’ve got to give a huge thanks to Denny (Hamlin) there in the 11. He stuck with us there that whole last lap. This thing wasn’t the fastest car, I don’t think, left in the race, but we brought it home. I owe him one for that one for sure. Really cool though. I mean Busch Clash first year back, to win that, that feels good and with SportClips again. These guys have been really loyal to me the last few years, so it’s cool to get them another win and hopefully next Sunday, we cap off another one right here.”
Could you have a game plan with so few cars left on that last restart?
“I was hoping I could get pushing the 6 (Ryan Newman) and get up front and then hopefully, then Denny was going to help us. That didn’t exactly work out. Everybody was slicing with that few of cars. He just locked on and we stuck together. I think honestly my car was so draggy, it wasn’t too much for him to stay connected and he was able to push us home. Feels good to start off with another win. It’s a really cool race. One that I grew up watching and then to have it back with it’s original namesake feels pretty good.”
You could write a book on this win. Take us through those last two laps.
“Well, I have to thank Denny (Hamlin) off the bat. He pushed us really good there in the end. He got us the lead and got us up front. It was wild. We got in a few wrecks and tore the car up pretty bad. I didn’t know how rough it was. I knew it was still holding water and oil, so we were in okay shape. The SportClips Camry took the win, so it feels good. What a way to start the year – in victory lane. I hope we can keep it going from there and keep adding them up.”
You said a few wrecks – I counted at least three. Can you talk about the repairs that your team did?
“Yeah, it’s pretty bad, but the Camry kept running strong. We came down and didn’t really know what we were trying to fix. I couldn’t see it, but could tell the hood was pretty torn up, and the right front was as well. I didn’t know it was that bad to be honest with you until now, but it sure feels good to come out of here with a win, especially in a race with perserverance like that. You don’t want to give up and when it pays off in the end, it makes it extra special.”
How was the handling of your Camry?
“It was dragging the front a lot. We were dragging some of the splitter bar pretty hard. There was a lot of contact. It felt a little dragging compared to how we started the race, but with Denny being able to stay locked on there for the last lap – I was trying to find him and see where he was and get a push, and finally we got locked up there getting into (turn) one, and he was able to stay on me. Definitely, it didn’t start as good as we started the day.”
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 6th
You seem pretty darn happy like you did something today.
“It’s so awesome. I mean I knew he needed to strap in because that last lap I was going to push him. I didn’t care if I was going to push him into a wreck. I was just going to push him. It was fun. I mean my car was so, so fast. Proud of the effort there. Glad we got a team win, I mean that’s all I could really do at the end was push him to victory.
How did the car feel to drive. That couldn’t have been very driveable?
“I had eight wheels. I had four in front of me, I had four on me. When we linked up, it was fast. I mean it was unbelievable. The thing is, I had his damaged race car to cover up all the damage to mine, so it just worked. Just another fast Camry. That was two fast Camrys on that last lap there. So happy with the whole FedEx team for not quitting there and trying to get the race finished and got us a team win.”
What did you learn?
“We can go to the front. I mean our cars are super fast. I think that everyone’s going to realize that these plates blocks just don’t work. Not with this package. I think the way you used to drive superspeedway races where you had time to see the runs coming, it just doesn’t work and causes for carnage like you see. It’s great for TV, but if you don’t want to finish, then you continue to do the same thing over and over.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 SiriusXM Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 16th
What happened in that wreck?
“I don’t know to be honest with you. Trying to get going, trying to get the 10 (Aric Almirola) going there on the bottom. I got a good jump there and just got hit in the right-rear (tire) and turned into the fence. Not sure what happened. It sucks. Superspeedways are not good to me.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 18th
What happened with Joey Logano out there?
“I was going to look low, but I knew he was driving low, so then I was like okay, I’m going to go high and then he drove up the race track in front of me and then I was like okay, now I’ve got to cut back down and cut low. When I did, I touched him just a little bit, which then turned his car and then we were just sandwiched and the wreck was on. I don’t know. Either you can race or you can wreck. The reason why we ride in single file is because we don’t know how to race. Just a product of a few bad decisions there and we’re all crashed.”
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