Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)
Dover International Speedway
Race 24 of 36 – 311 miles, 311 laps
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, DENNY HAMLIN
2nd, MARTIN TRUEX JR.
3rd, KYLE BUSCH
4th, Kevin Harvick*
5th, Chase Elliott*
12th, ERIK JONES
22nd, CHRISTOPHER BELL
30th, DANIEL SUÁREZ
34th, TIMMY HILL
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 1st
What was it like to find the line to beat your teammates this afternoon?
“I’ve been running down the leaders these last few weeks, but I haven’t been able to get there. We just didn’t control that restart there and we just had to battle back. We had to go back and get it. I was able to work the top line there a little bit to get the momentum. It looked like our car was just a little bit better at moving around to different lines. Proud of this whole FedEx Office team. This Camry was fast today. It was just unbelievable how good it was. The pit crew did an amazing job. Have to thank all the partners – Toyota, Coca-Cola, the Jordan Brand, FedEx and all the employees, I appreciate them. Win 43, this is pretty awesome.”
What does it mean to finally win at Dover after 29 starts?
“People always ask what your least favorite track is and I say Dover just because I’m not that good. I love the track; I just haven’t been very good here. We just have unbelievable cars right now. It seems like we’re coming to the race track prepared. I’m putting the work in and we’re getting results out of it.”
What are you doing to stay on top of your game?
“Just working hard. Working as hard as I ever have. I can’t complain about anything right now. It seems like we just have things going. I have faith. I have faith when it comes down to it. On that last run, when he (Chris Gabehart, crew chief) says, ‘Go get it,’ I just go get it.”
What is it like when you’re running second and suddenly you’re able to track down the leader?
“I just wanted to go everywhere he’s (Martin Truex Jr.) not, that’s the biggest thing. Our car was able to move around. We were able to make some moves right there on the high side of three and four. That really got us some good momentum going. We just really did a good job of adjusting on the car throughout the day. Our car was not very far off at any point, but we just lost track position there and glad I was able to get it back.”
How much did the race track change as the race progressed?
“A little bit. The track definitely changed. It rubbered up quite a bit. The biggest change was from after a yellow flag to 10 or 20 laps in. The track stayed pretty consistent there. I thought I had a loose wheel going, but it seemed like everything was fine. Just grinding our way through it. We were able to move around traffic and we were able to get around them quickly and that allowed us to get to Martin (Truex Jr.).”
What does it mean to win at Dover for the first time?
“It feels good. These tracks are really hard to win at. This has been a difficult track for me throughout the course of my career, but it’s not because I dislike the track, I’ve just never had the technique that’s been very good here. It really rewards you charging the corners and that’s not really my style of driving. I adapt and this is the results we get.”
How do you feel you protected the car for tomorrow’s race?
“We have to take care of it for sure. He (Chris Gabehart, crew chief) told me I have to take care of it so we can win tomorrow. We’ll see, we’ll make some adjustments and there’s no doubt this car will be better tomorrow than it was today.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 SiriusXM Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 2nd
What more did you need to hold off Denny Hamlin in the closing laps?
“Really, I think of the 10 (Aric Almirola) car just wasn’t pinning me on the bottom and running me up, it would have been fine. Every time I tried to move up and get some air on my car, he would just slide up in front of me like an idiot. He’s the reason we lost the lead, but at the end we just weren’t good enough. I thought the 11 (Denny Hamlin) was better than us all day long. We got the lead there in the pits and was able to use clean air to our advantage. I was never happy with the car all day long. The SiriusXM Camry was fast, but the balance was all over the place. It was firing off tight and getting loose on long runs. At the end, just nothing I could do. It was out of control, sideways.”
How do you fix the car for tomorrow’s race?
“I know we can definitely make it better. I hate to say we can’t. It was pretty far off from what all I hear. We’ll keep working on it, but overall a solid day again.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 3rd
How was the race for you overall today and are you pleased with the third-place result?
“Top-three – the Interstate Batteries Camry was strong there. I was following (Martin) Truex Jr. there for a little while on that last restart and we kept fading. Kept fading loose and then we came in for our final pit stop and the damn car went four numbers tight. Just crazy. The flip-flop of balance that we had, it was so bad. I don’t think we changed a whole lot. I have to get with Adam (Stevens, crew chief) on that, but overall, we got really good there the previous time we put tires on under green and I was driving through a few people and getting to the front. I was optimistic about putting tires on it and going, but then it just went stupid tight. I don’t know. Thanks to Interstate Batteries, M&M’s – it’s good to get a solid top-three. Hopefully, we can make a few changes tonight. We were close. We had some speed so try to work on it.”
What happened on the last run?
“I don’t know what happened, we have to figure that out. We had a pretty fast Interstate Batteries Camry and we made it all the way up front. Did a good job there. The time that we put tires on under green, the car was really fast, really good. I was optimistic keeping up with (Martin) Truex that once we got tires on it, I could maybe keep up or be faster and it just was so tight at the end. It went from being four or five numbers loose to four or five numbers tight. That’s a 10 number swing in just putting tires on. Crazy how that happens. Come home with a good, solid third-place. Got two good teammates here with a notebook that they’ve got to lean on and hopefully we can work on some things tonight and get ourselves better and come out here and win tomorrow.”
How tough is this race track when your car is as difficult to balance as your car was?
“You don’t know what to adjust. The beginning of the race, we were loose. We tightened it up and we were plowing tight the next run. Then we freed it up a little bit and it was loose the next run. We put tires on it under green and it was fine. Every single run it was back-and-forth, it was crazy. There was just no keeping up with it there. Try to do what you can and the best you can with what you’ve got and that’s all we had.”
ERIK JONES, No. 20 DeWalt Atomic Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 12th
How did the damage change your day?
“I mean, it hurt it. First off, I want to apologize to Kurt (Busch) and the whole 1 team. I got into him on lap 1 or 2. That’s my mistake. I got tight and it ended their day really quick. I feel bad. I’ve raced with Kurt now awhile, and we have never had an issue and raced really well, so I want to say sorry to him first. Our day was kind of tough from then on, we had to cut the left rear quarter-panel off after that and I think that hurt our balance a little bit. I mean, it’s not like night or day, but it definitely didn’t help. The DeWalt Camry went back and forth. It was mostly loose all day. We tightened it up, but never seemed to be able to make a difference on it. Hopefully, we can use the same car and come back tomorrow.”
What are your initial thoughts on if you are going to be able to run this car tomorrow or have to go to a backup?
“Yeah, it’s kind of a 50/50 shot. The other three don’t have any damage, so hopefully, we can put all of our hands on our car and get a left rear snapped on it. I guess I’m going to go find out in the next couple minutes, but hopefully, we can get it patched up and not have to start from the back.”
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