Kyle Busch finished third as the highest finishing Toyota driver in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series event at Phoenix Raceway.
Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)
Race 4 of 36 – 312 miles, 312 laps
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, Joey Logano*
2nd, Kevin Harvick*
3rd, KYLE BUSCH
4th, Kyle Larson*
5th, Clint Bowyer*
20th, DENNY HAMLIN
21st, DANIEL SUÁREZ
28th, ERIK JONES
32nd, MARTIN TRUEX JR.
38th, TIMMY HILL
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Sport Clips Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 3rd
What is your takeaway from this package here this weekend?
“I don’t know. Just really want to thank my guys. We unloaded and we weren’t very good. I didn’t think, I wasn’t too optimistic for the race and rightfully so. I think we probably had a sixth or seventh place car, but we had a lot of strategy there at the end with tires and all that sort of stuff – good restarts and being able to make time up on the bottom. Once you get that close to the front, you can’t make up that time anymore so that’s kind of where we lost our ground there. It’s good to come home third with this Sport Clips Camry. Really appreciate Sport Clips and having them on board with us here this year. One-off deal for them. Hopefully we got everything we can get for them. I’m going to go get a haircut this Monday – get a haircut and also focus on what we have to do next week. We need to come back here with a better piece.”
How was the race today?
“It was okay, just different. There at the end obviously, making up some good spots on the bottom when everybody would get bottled up there mid-pack, but once you get closer to the front, it’s hard to make up those spots anymore on the bottom anymore like we were. Just want to thank everybody on this Sport Clips Camry. The guys did a great job. We weren’t very good when we unloaded, we made a lot of ground, but still not enough ground as I would have wanted to race with some of the top guys. I felt like we were a fifth or sixth place car probably and we were able to come out with a third. Good for us with that effort. We need some points right now. We have to climb the ladder back and get back where we need to be.”
Did you feel you were working better lower in the dogleg of the track?
“I was just trying to go where they weren’t. If I follow them into the corner or don’t give myself enough slide room, I’m going to get into them so I was just trying to get enough out of the way and see if I couldn’t make anything happen down there. It seemed to work a couple times.”
Did you have a shot for the win at the end and restarts not go your way?
“I wouldn’t say we had a shot, we never had fire-off speed today. We were really slow to fire-off and later in the going we were getting better with longevity, but still we were a ways off. Felt like that when we unloaded and we made some ground on it and got it a heck of a lot better, but just couldn’t get it where we needed it there throughout the race. The 2 (Brad Keselowski) was probably the fastest car. The 22 (Joey Logano) was pretty quick and the 4 (Kevin Harvick) was pretty quick.”
Do you feel you could race with this package compared to last year?
“You could definitely follow a lot closer. You could get up into a guy’s left-rear and be close enough to their left-rear and follow them close enough that you could try to make a move on them or make a run on them up off the corner. Get them a little loose to be able to make a move on them. I felt like there was certainly some positives. I felt like some of it was also kind of the same as what you get. When you get strung out, you get strung out. I don’t think you’re going to be able to captivate these cars close enough together for three-and-a-half hours at a time at one-mile race tracks when your very grip limited.”
How intense was the racing and was it more intense than usual?
“It always is, and it is on restarts just with the trajectory of the race track and what all you’ve got going on there. We made some big moves and a lot of ground, but once you get close enough to the front to try to overtake the front row, you really can’t do it down there on that bottom side like that. (Kevin) Harvick was close off of two there on that restart, but we got such a bad restart that we were too far behind with too much ground to make up on the 22 (Joey Logano). He got a good launch.”
Did you learn anything for the fall championship race?
“I don’t know. Learned that we have to be a hell of a lot better than we were.”
DANIEL SUÁREZ, No. 96 CommScope Toyota Camry, Gaunt Brothers Racing
Finishing Position: 21st
How does it feel to finish the race on the lead lap?
“The result looked really good, on paper. We just need to keep working to get more speed. The balance of the car wasn’t even close to what we wanted, so we have a lot of work to do. It was a crazy race, but that’s short-track racing. We did the best with what we had. We just need to keep working and find some more speed.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 32nd
What happened on the track?
“I just got ran over. He ran into the back of me earlier getting into (turn) one. I hung on to it. These restarts are crazy, it’s fanned out. The 48 (Jimmie Johnson) was in front of me. I wasn’t sure if he was going to come up in front of me on the short shoot or not. Then the 10 (Aric Almirola) ran into us. Can’t finish a race, it sucks.”
Toyota Racing PR