Martin Truex Jr. (second) drove to his fourth straight top-three finish at Richmond Raceway to lead Toyota in the Federated Auto Parts 400 on Saturday evening. Kyle Busch (sixth) earned his second consecutive top-10 finish to start the Playoffs, while Denny Hamlin (12th) clinched his spot in the round of 12 with his finish. Hamlin added to his Playoff Point total with his stage one victory.
Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)
Race 27 of 36 – 300 miles, 400 laps
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, Brad Keselowski*
2nd, MARTIN TRUEX JR.
3rd, Joey Logano*
4th, Austin Dillon*
5th, Chase Elliott*
6th, KYLE BUSCH
12th, DENNY HAMLIN
15th, CHRISTOPHER BELL
22nd, ERIK JONES
29th, DANIEL SUÁREZ
38th, TIMMY HILL
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 2nd
What were you looking for from the car tonight that you didn’t have for one more position?
“A little bit of turn in the center, a little bit of drive off, especially on the long runs. Just could never really find it. Really was pretty surprised that we ran as good as we did with the way that the car felt. It really wasn’t doing anything that I wanted it to do or that we’ve done here in the past when we’ve been good. Just a battle all night, fought hard and the guys did a great job with adjustments, pit stops and all that to just execute and keep us up front. Good, solid night.”
What did you learn with this tire tonight that you might be able to use in Phoenix?
“We ran Phoenix earlier in the year and it didn’t do, I didn’t feel like, what it did here. It was quite a bit different here. This place has so much more tire wear than Phoenix, it’s really hard to compare that. Hopefully, we learned some stuff that we can make this thing better when we come back here next year.”
Where did you struggle with handling tonight?
“I don’t know, just never really could get the balance right all night. It was slow on the short run early and slow on the long run late. Somewhere in between we would be pretty competitive, but we just never could really put it all together. I was really surprised that we ran second with how it felt early in the rave. I was like, ‘Oh boy, this is going to be a long night.’ Obviously, quite a different deal with this tire. It felt a lot different to me and the things that were really good the past few years, I couldn’t do them. Needed a little practice time, maybe needed another stab at it. Overall, obviously solid day for our Bass Pro Toyota Camry. Thanks to everybody who helps us and makes this possible and all the guys at the shop. It was a good rebound week. Obviously, want to win every one of them, but if we can run top-two or three every week like we’ve been for a while now, we’ll be where we want to be.”
How consistent is this team right now?
“We’re strong. I feel like we’re executing well and we’re not making mistakes like we did early in the season, aside from last weekend obviously on the race track, but that was me, not the team. Just solid every week. Fast race cars and everybody is making good decisions. Hopefully, we can keep putting ourselves in the front and we’ll win some races eventually.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 6th
Where were you struggling tonight to run down the leaders?
“Kind of same as last night. Just not quite enough turn in the middle of the corner to keep wrapping on the long runs. The short runs it seemed like I was actually a little bit loose and then it was starting to go a little bit tight and then it was tight loose. Just not enough overall grip I guess. Kind of been fighting that a little bit this year. The guys gave a great fight. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) not being here and I thought Jacob (Canter, fill-in crew chief) did a great job. We all know Adam was back at home. Want to say hi to Samantha (wife) and Brexton (son) back at home. I know they went go-kart racing this afternoon so they had a good time I’m sure. We’ll check in with them. Overall, that’s all we had. We fought hard with our M&M’s Camry and we came up short of a top-five.”
How much did you try to apply from what you learned in yesterday’s Xfinity Series race and do you think it helped you improve your finish?
“Probably yeah. There’s no way in telling, but I’m just going to guess four spots at least. Probably a 10th place car to a sixth-place car there with everything that we were doing. What I learned in the Xfinity race and what I talked to Adam (Stevens, crew chief) about and those guys about to make some subtle changes to what the car and what we were looking for out of tonight’s car. Good stuff I guess. Good learning tool for us and it looked good for the 20 too on the Xfinity side with Harrison (Burton). He was a whole heck of a lot better so there was some stuff from that. That didn’t translate to us quick enough because we were through tech by the time that race was over.”
Did it sound any different on the radio tonight without Adam Stevens on the pit box?
“It was not difficult. It seemed like everything was pretty kosher so not too bad there. I think that there was just a delay in communication when I would say something and expect an answer back, it was two laps before I would get an answer back. Other than that, it was just a good night for us. Just a long night with all the green flag action and being able to mire our way up through there. Going to need some Rowdy Energy to get home tonight and also rehydrate here for tomorrow.”
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Cares Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 12th
You win stage one and then what happened to the race car?
“Well, we lost some track position. It just seemed like once the track rubbered up, we just weren’t any good. We couldn’t get off the corner good, couldn’t get in the corner. Just nothing was really very good with it. I want to thank everyone from FedEx Cares for putting this car on the race track. This definitely means a lot to people I spoke to last week with the National Urban League, so thank you everyone. We will move on to the next round and go have some fun next week and see how we do.”
You mentioned earlier this week that you take a lot with how you run with a certain tire. Does how you ran tonight worry you at all for Phoenix?
“Well, the surface is so different. We run the same tire, but there really should be two different tires. This track’s surface is a lot different than Phoenix’s surface, so I think they were just trying to get a little more common for every race track. I wouldn’t put a huge merit into this one. The surface at Loudon more represents what we will have in Phoenix.”
Toyota Racing PR