Martin Truex Jr. (third) and Kyle Busch (fifth) earned top-five finishes in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday evening.
Toyota Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)
Race 16 of 36 – 90 laps, 226.8 miles
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, Kyle Larson*
2nd, Chase Elliott*
3rd, MARTIN TRUEX JR.
4th, Joey Logano*
5th, KYLE BUSCH
8th, DENNY HAMLIN
14th, BUBBA WALLACE
24th, CHRISTOPHER BELL
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 3rd
Where were they just a little bit stronger than you today?
“I think just a little bit everywhere. Right-handers, I just couldn’t lean on the left rear like I needed too. I didn’t quite have the drive off. Moreso than that, I didn’t have the short-run speed. I think the really long runs was really our only chance there. All of those cautions at the end killed any chance we had. I’m proud of the guys on the Bass Pro Toyota, JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing), TRD, everybody that makes this possible. Just not quite good enough. The Hendrick cars are really strong right now. They are really fast. They are making a lot of grip. They are making our job tough. We definitely needed long runs at the end, not all of those cautions.”
Did you have anything for Kyle Larson today?
“No. Our only hope was for it really to go green the rest of the race there in that third stage once we both pitted and we were one-two. He (Kyle Larson) drove by me and he was just super fast for 10 laps. Our only chance was if the race would have gone green from there and I still don’t even know. He was really fast for 15 laps then obviously once we started getting all those cautions, we were toast. Definitely not what we needed.”
Why do you think Kyle Larson was so much faster, did he turn on the afterburners?
“I don’t know if it was afterburners, but it’s a good team and a good driver. Not making any mistakes and doing everything right and whatever it takes. He’s (Kyle Larson) always been good here. Obviously, all the poles he’s gotten, he’s never had a car that could stay under him all day long. I’m not surprised he won. He did a hell of a job.”
What do you think it’s like for Kyle Larson to be shining with an organization?
“I’m sure he’s (Kyle Larson) on top of the world and all the stuff he went through to get in a better position and be winning a lot more races, I would say it worked out pretty well for him.”
Do you feel Joe Gibbs Racing needs to fill the gap with Hendrick to make a run in the Playoffs?
“They’re (Hendrick Motorsports) definitely really strong and we definitely have some work to do to catch them. That being said, there’s always a chance. We’ve got a great team and great cars and we have some time to get with it and hopefully make some gains. When the Playoffs start, a lot of weird things can happen and you have to take what you can get. Luckily for us, we have some good tracks in the Playoffs, which is always good. They’re definitely strong and we definitey need to keep working on it.”
Was it difficult to come here with no practice and no qualifying?
“It’s not bad. When you’re starting 19th at a track where track position matters, you’re like, ‘Damn, I wish we were qualifying.’ As far as like being comfortable going on the race track and racing without practice, we’ve been doing this for awhile now. Aside from maybe the guys that haven’t been here before, I think everybody was okay with it.”
Did you have anything for Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott on the final restart?
“No, the restarts were not my thing. My only chance was really long runs and as I’ve been saying, once we started getting those cautions there in stage three, we were up against an uphill battle. We needed it to go green from there. We were out front one-two, I was saving a little bit to see if he would come back to me at the end of the race. Aside from that, they were just really fast. We couldn’t run with them.”
How good was your car in the early stages of the race?
“Our Bass Pro Toyota was pretty good and I was pretty happy with it all day long. We just lacked a little bit of speed to the 5 (Kyle Larson) there on the short runs really mostly and then at the end, even the 9 (Chase Elliott) got going really good on the short runs. All those cautions and short runs were really bad for us. It takes my car three or four laps to really come in good. That’s all we were having there at the end. I couldn’t do anything with the 9, which I thought we were a little bit better than the 9 and the 5 was just super strong. Our only chance was going to be a really, really long run if we got one and we didn’t get one.”
Toyota Racing PR