Daniel Hemric (fifth), Christopher Bell (sixth) and Harrison Burton (ninth) scored top-10 finishes to lead Toyota in the rain-delayed Wawa 250 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday afternoon. With their finishes, Hemric and Burton clinched their spots in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs.
Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Daytona International Speedway
Race 23 of 33 – 250 miles, 100 laps
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, Justin Haley*
2nd, AJ Allmendinger*
3rd, Justin Allgaier*
4th, Jeb Burton*
5th, DANIEL HEMRIC
6th, CHRISTOPHER BELL
9th, HARRISON BURTON
14th, DAVID STARR
25th, MASON MASSEY
33rd, MATT MILLS
37th, COLIN GARRETT
40th, BRANDON JONES
DANIEL HEMRIC, No. 18 Poppy Bank Toyota Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 5th
How were you able to come back and earn a top-five finish?
“Just a huge testament to everyone on this Poppy Bank Toyota Supra team. They did an incredible job. I hit the wall pretty hard there coming to the end of stage 1 and coming into stage 2 we really thought our day was over. The steering wheel was completely – the tow was knocked out of the car and a ton of tire rub on the right side. We pitted every single opportunity to patch it up. Eventually, by the fifth or sixth time we got it to where it was driveable and draftable and thought we had really good speed considering everything. Those guys deserve this top-five. I was hoping to give them a little bit more. You’re gridlocked there when you’re coming down to the end. That’s a huge testmant to a team effort so we’ll take it.”
How surprised were you that you were mixing it up toward the front at the end?
“That was a valient team effort by this Poppy Bank Toyota Supra team. I hit the wall a ton whatever lap that was and thought that was the end of our day and got back on. Dave Rogers (crew chief) did an incredible job a top the pit box to bring us down pit road and get this thing as tuned up as much as we could every chance that we had the opportunity to do that. By the last time, I thought it was pretty decent. We’d come to the pack enough every time we worked on it I knew we had good speed. It was a really good pusher. I was with the 11 (Justin Haley) and he was my best chance to move forward there at the end. He made the right moves and pulled me along and it was cool to see those guys win. Those teammates are tough to beat when it comes to superspeedway racing. Proud of the effort of these guys. Thanks to everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing back at the motor shop, suspension and chassis. It takes everything to run good here and we did all we could to maximize it here today.”
How difficult was it to try and find a teammate out there to work with not having Brandon Jones?
“When you lose one of your bullets, it’s just a matter of picking and choosing when the right moments are and how do you manipulate the situation you’re in at that time to get to him. We finally found each other there with three or four to go and the 54 (Christopher Bell) and the 20 (Harrison Burton) had to take a run to the bottom and it was just enough where I couldn’t get down. At that point it just became every man for themselves. Never thought we’d advance as far as we did, but I’m thankful that we did and we’ll go on to Darlington.”
Are you happy that you clinched a spot in the Xfinity Series Playoffs?
“I hadn’t even thought about that, which quite frankly it’s not really been our mindset. At Joe Gibbs Racing, we come here to win races and obviously being locked in it does open up the doors – I think we have three left now before the end of the regular season so we can go for broke. Darlington is a place that I love and thought we had a really good shot to win at and had a flat left rear tire in stage 2 in the spring race so we’ll be ready to rock.”
CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 54 Reser’s Fine Foods Toyota Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 6th
Damage early and then bounced back and led late. How was the finish?
“The race was playing out really well. I had control of the race coming down to those closing laps and I don’t know. The Kaulig cars are really good and you see it every time. They are able to work together and stay together. They just do good; they blew right by me.”
HARRISON BURTON, No. 20 Offerpad Toyota Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 9th
Top-10 with a clean car at a superspeedway, could be a worse day, but how was your race?
“It could be a worse day, but frustrating because I felt like we wanted to come here and win. I don’t know, it just didn’t work out. We will keep pushing for it. This is a tough game to play, but we were trying to help our teammates as much as we could. It just didn’t pan out, but we will see what we can do better and go from there.”
BRANDON JONES, No. 19 Menards/Patriot Lighting Toyota Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 40th
What happened to take you out of the race early?
“First off I want to thank Menards and Patriot Lighting. They do a lot for our race team and do a lot for our race team. I hate to go out like this. You don’t expect to go out like this at Daytona. You’re either on the hook or you’re doing really well. At this point in the race I thought we were doing really well. I don’t know, man. I’ve only had this happen one other time where we pushed that much water out of this thing. I just think we picked up something on the front end of our Supra there. We were pushing a lot of water out for a couple laps and they don’t run good without water in them. I was surprised with how fast it went. Obviously, I think me and Jeff (Meendering, crew chief) are beating ourselves up pretty hard right. We both probably would’ve done something different there to try and get that off. When you’re out front like htat no one really wants to try to work with you and try to get it off your nose. Obviously, for the reasons of a competitor I wouldn’t want to do that. It is what it is. I’ve got a group of warriors on our 19 team. Michigan was great – that was awesome to see our speed there at Michigan so we’ll rally from that and use some momentum there. Darlington is a great track for us next week. We won there and looking to get another one.”
Toyota Racing PR