Denny Hamlin (fifth) was the top of the Toyota contenders at Kansas Speedway with Martin Truex Jr. (seventh) and Christopher Bell (eighth) earning top-10 finishes in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race. Busch suffered damage early and finished 28th. Hamlin, Truex Jr. and Busch are all still in the hunt to make the Championship 4 at Phoenix Raceway in two weeks.
Toyota Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)
Race 34 of 36 – 267 laps, 400.5 miles
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, Kyle Larson*
2nd, Chase Elliott
3rd, Kevin Harvick*
4th, Kurt Busch*
5th, DENNY HAMLIN
7th, MARTIN TRUEX JR.
8th, CHRISTOPHER BELL
14th, BUBBA WALLACE
20th, PARKER KLIGERMAN
28th, KYLE BUSCH
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 5th
How was the race today for you overall?
“Just tried to optimize our day, that’s really all we could do. The second half we were much, much better, but by then it’s just so hard to pass. Decent day overall. The FedEx Camry was okay, we optimized. We didn’t make a whole lot of mistakes and we really swung a whole lot of things at it to try to make it better, but fourth or fifth is about where we were at.”
How will you approach Martinsville next weekend with your position in the points?
“ nice, solid day next week will be okay. You just never know what can happen. Just need to make sure I get some stage points and don’t give it away early and I think we’ll be alright.”
Where do you feel you’re struggling the most?
“We just don’t have the speed. We’re just off on the 550 tracks. We have too much drag and not enough downforce. We’ve had these bodies on these Camrys for a really long time and it doesn’t do what we want it to do on the 550s.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 7th
How was your race overall today?
“It was a long day. You never quit fighting in these things and all you can do is the best you can do. Just kept working on it and kept making adjustments and do what we could. We were able to get back on the lead lap there and take the wave around with the quick caution and battle from there. All the guys did a great job on this Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry and it was pretty fast. Just sixth or seventh, where we finished was about where we were going to be. I would have liked to have done without that damage; it was pretty fast before that. Unfortunate the way that deal worked out, but we’re still in it and we’re still fighting and we look forward to next weekend.”
How do you feel heading to Martinsville next weekend?
“I feel good about that. We’re going to have a good starting position now and good pit selection. The place has been good to us. If we can get up there and win a couple stages and battle for the win, I think we’ll be able to get ourselves in. We’ll wait and see how it goes, you never know how these things are going to play out. Excited for the opportunity and thankful for everybody for all their hard work.”
Do you expect any changes to next week’s race in Martinsville compared to when you won there in April?
“No, I expect it to be pretty similar. We’ll just wait and see how it plays out. Martinsville is funny, it can change 10 or 15 degrees or the start time of the race can be a little different and you can find yourself being a little off. It’s a funny, quirky little place, but that said we have a lot of confidence and it’s been good to us over the past few seasons. Hopefully, we can go there and get the job done next weekend.”
What led to your tire going down?
“Fender rub. The 2 (Brad Keselowski) car slid up in front of me, slid up tight, checked out of the gas, I got into the back of him and we both scraped the wall. Then just tire rub cut the right rear.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Halloween Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 28th
What were you battling with the race car today?
“Loose and a lot of wind. Just could not get the handle on it with entry or exit. Knew it on the get-go within the first 10 laps or so or whatever it was on that first yellow with the weather. Just really, really up on top of the right rear all day and couldn’t feel it on entry and exit. Bit me twice. The first time it was tolerable and the second time, it was just over.”
How do you feel about your position just above the cut line in points heading to Martinsville?
“I was expecting much worse. Still a shot, it’s just going to be tough. Just going to be a hard-fought dog fight for that final spot.”
Was the wind direction different today compared to previous races?
“The direction of it, I don’t recall. I’m sure it’s been in this direction, maybe the times that I wrecked here. It wasn’t to my liking whatsoever. Definitely need to go back and study that and look at the wind stuff for when I have run good here versus today and see if there is anything we can do to help that.”
Do you just go for the win next week at Martinsville?
“I wouldn’t say that. I don’t know, I haven’t seen what it looks like. Third to seventh looks pretty tight I guess so there’s still a race. It’s going to come down to points. If there’s a winner from below us, so we’re going to have to beat them.”
Toyota Racing PR