Toyota NNS Talladega Post-Race Notes & Quotes

[media-credit name=”” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]TOYOTA NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) Post-Race Notes & Quotes Talladega Superspeedway – May 5, 2012

Camry driver Joey Logano won Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway. This was Logano’s first victory at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.

The win also marked the 200th NASCAR victory for Toyota — 42 NSCS, 67 NNS and 91 NCWTS. Logano has contributed to 12 of the 200 Toyota wins — one in NSCS and 11 in NNS.

Logano started fourth and led six times for 17 laps (of 122). Kyle Busch finished second (just .034 seconds behind) after leading three times for 36 laps. Camry drivers Kenny Wallace (ninth), Ryan Truex (11th) and John Wes Townley (15th) also posted top-15 finishes at Talladega Superspeedway.

Townley was making his first career NNS start. Other Toyota drivers in the field included Mike Bliss (18th), Joe Nemechek (19th), Tayler Malsam (24th), Eric McClure (27th), Jason Bowles (34th), Brian Scott (36th) and Jeff Green (39th).

JOEY LOGANO, No. 18 GameStop Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 1st How did you manage to take the win after such a long red flag break? “We were in the right position.  You have to position yourself for the end of these things.  I thought we were in the right position there for a while, the restart before the last one, we were like sixth or seventh and I thought that’s where we needed to be.  Then everything happened and I thought, ‘Kyle (Busch) is good, if I can just get ahead of him.’  Fortunate the guys behind us didn’t make a run on us and last lap pass, just had to do it at the right time.  Kyle knew it was coming, I know he knew it was coming.  It was a lot of fun.  The 200th Toyota win — that’s huge with GameStop Max Payne 3 on the hood there.  The guys give me great cars.  It’s cool to win superspeedway races.  You never know what’s going to happen and you get it right at the last second and those are the most exciting ones.”

What was the last lap of this race like for you? “I was pushing him (Kyle Busch) and I kept looking in the mirrors.  I wanted to make sure the guys behind us (Cole Whitt and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) weren’t that close.  They were trying to mount a run, but they couldn’t really get to the outside of me.  Kyle and our cars were really fast. He was up there all day, I was up there all day.  We just happened to end up with each other.  Coming off turn four, I looked in the mirror and was like, ‘Okay, I have a pretty good gap here.’  Then I started thinking, ‘Okay, when’s the moment, when’s the moment?’  He knew it was coming, he knew it was going to happen. You’re just a sitting duck when you’re the leader — Kyle was just a sitting duck.  It’s cool to get the GameStop Toyota in victory lane here, it was a lot of fun.  I hope Eric McClure is okay, I saw him get lifted out of here.  Hopefully he’s alright. It’s just cool to be in victory lane.”

How was the end of this race different than previous races at Talladega? “Usually I’m the pusher and I usually don’t have the opportunity to make the pass there.  Typically in all the other races a caution comes out when I’m in turn three and I never get the move.  We got all the way down to the end there that time, so that was exciting.  I was pumped inside the car.  You never know. It’s always so close all the way down to the line — it’s so much fun.”

How was your race overall today? “I haven’t seen one predictable at Talladega yet.  You like to think it’s predictable and you like to think you have a game plan — the game plan did come through that time, so that’s exciting. Crazy race.  Elliott Sadler and I — we planned to work together.  We worked good in practice and we worked well early in the race because we led some laps.  We were able to run hard when we needed to and our cars worked good together.  We were fast together.  Then we all checked up in (turn) three one time — he ran into the back of me and knocked his nose in I think.  That killed his day so then I had to find a new teammate and try to find somebody.  When it comes to these late-race restarts, it’s just whoever is in front of you.  I restarted third there on the last restart and was pushing Kyle (Busch) — we have worked together a lot in the past, being teammates on the Cup side.  We have that chemistry there where we know what we have to do.  We were able to get out in front of them and I was very surprised that they didn’t form a run to the outside of us and pull us apart.  I was able to do that in Daytona — I just figured the same thing would happen here, but it didn’t.  We were out there and I knew he was thinking the same thing as me — he knows I’m going to make the move to make something happen here and I got him right at the line.  Super exciting to win them that way — you don’t know you have it until you’re at the line.  It’s not like there was anything building up.  I was super-pumped.  It was a fun day — that’s for sure.”

JOEY LOGANO, No. 18 GameStop Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing (continued) How do you actually execute the pass at the line? “There’s a lot of different things — there’s no momentum change because you’re pushing the guy so you’re not getting a run on them — you’re already there.  The big thing is that you practice this in practice and you practice pulling out on someone and seeing how quick you can slow them down and beat them to the line.  You have the experience of knowing how long it’s going to take.  We’ve all seen it here in the past and you watch it on TV too and you see how to do it there.  For me, I know I was staring in the mirror because I didn’t want to have that other group beat us to the line because that was going to be the real kicker.  I had to make sure I had enough room behind me to do this.  I was like, ‘Okay, he’s about three car lengths back, maybe four.’  You know how much you’re going to slow down when you make the move so you have to do it late enough and to be honest with you, I did it and I was like, ‘Oh my God, too early.’  I looked up in the mirror and thought, ‘Maybe I’ll be alright.’  Then we won the race.  You would laugh if I had an in car camera because I was going crazy.  A lot of fun.”

ADAM STEVENS, crew chief, No. 18 GameStop Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What does this win at Talladega mean to you? “We’re blessed to have Joey Logano drive our cars.  He is the master on these plate tracks and here at Talladega.  His worse finish has been third in this Nationwide Series — it’s incredible. The GameStop Toyota was good all day.  We’ve been strong all year, we led a lot of laps and to get back in victory lane here at Talladega is great.”

KYLE BUSCH, No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry, Kyle Busch Motorsports Finishing Position: 2nd What happened as you were approaching the checkered flag? “You just know you’re kind of a sitting duck.  I just can’t say enough about Joey (Logano) and the guys at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing).  They pushed me to a win the last time here and gave me the chance to be in victory lane.  There’s nothing I can do, it wasn’t worth blocking and taking a chance of ending up in the fence or anything.  He ran a good race, a smart race there at the end.  He knew it was his position.  Those guys couldn’t get along side of us, if they got along side of us, it was going to be a drag race and he would have had to have stayed in line to at least get us to the win.  Great job by this Monster Energy team.  This is a brand new car from the car we destroyed in Daytona. They worked awfully hard.  We didn’t get a chance to qualify to see what kind of speed it had, but had plenty of speed today when it mattered out front and led a lot of laps.  We kept it up front there.  I was trying to work with my brother (Kurt Busch), unfortunately he had overheating issues today.  All in all, this Camry was awesome.”

How was your race today? “It was a fun race.  Certainly, there was a lot of challenging aspects to it — what you had to do to keep your car cool and whether you ran on the bottom or pushed or how all that kind of played out, was definitely always on top of your mind.  It was an exciting race anyways.  I felt like our Monster Energy Camry — we kept ourselves smart and in position much of the afternoon and in position to capitalize there the last couple restarts anyways.  It seemed like every restart you had to find a new partner.  We’d always kind of have first and second get mixed up and have to switch lanes.  There at the end, having my Cup teammate behind me — (Joey) Logano — him and I work the best together I think at pushing one another here at these restrictor plate races.  Came to that again today.  Wasn’t sure — was hoping these guys (Cole Whitt and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) would get up alongside of us and then we’d have to drag race it and Joey would have to push me to the checkers.  They couldn’t quite get up alongside and it gave Joey the opportunity to make a move at the end.  He deserved to win — that’s what you do and that’s what you do in these races.  He pushed me to the win here last time so it was cool to see those guys in victory lane again.  We’re not disappointed with second considering how Daytona went.  We’ll take it.”

Do you try to position yourself for the final laps when there’s a late caution? “You waste too much time doing all that stuff — it’s whoever is in front or behind — you just have to go and latch on and go. That’s your best opportunity to stay up front and to stay in the lead and have a shot to win.  If these guys (Cole Whitt and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) would have got alongside of us, then Joey (Logano) would have been forced to keep pushing and to try to keep our tandem ahead of theirs and then we could have won the race.  They never could make it to our outside — it seemed like we were either a little bit faster than them or what have you.  I was still shocked, I thought they were so close to us that Joey may not pull out, but he ended up doing it, which was fine.  I probably would have done the same thing.”

KENNY WALLACE, No. 99 American Ethanol Toyota Camry, RAB Racing with Brack Maggard Finishing Position: 9th

RYAN TRUEX, No. 20 Grime Boss Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 11th

JOHN WES TOWNLEY, No. 24 Toyota Save in May Sales Event Toyota Camry, RAB Racing with Brack Maggard Finishing Position: 15th

MIKE BLISS, No. 44 Toyota Camry, TriStar Motorsports Finishing Position: 18th

JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Finishing Position: 19th How was your car today? “We ran strong all day.  We could run with them.  Thing were going just right and then on that restart, we were just getting a run, but the inside line was the place to restart and once they restarted there, a couple guys went to the middle.  Our line was too slow to protect the middle and somebody made it three-wide or four-wide or something and pretty much destroyed my car with a lap to go.  Proud of the whole AM/FM Energy Toyota guys. We work hard on our speedway stuff for never, ever being to the wind tunnel or anything like that and I think we do a pretty good job.”

TAYLER MALSAM, No. 19 G-Oil Toyota Camry, TriStar Motorsports Finishing Position: 24th Are you okay after that wreck? “I’m fine, it just sucks for our G-Oil guys, we had a real good car today.  I just saw Kevin (Harvick) go in front of me and he got turned around.  I have no idea what happened, I just know we had a fast race car.  I was looking forward to finishing good, but kept my streak alive of not finishing here going.”

ERIC MCCLURE, No. 14 Hefty/Reynolds Wrap Toyota Camry, TriStar Motorsports Finishing Position: 27th

JASON BOWLES, No. 81 American Majority Toyota Camry, MacDonald Motorsports Finishing Position: 34th

BRIAN SCOTT, No. 11 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 36th What happened that took you out of the race? “I just got hit in the left rear I think by the 1 (Kurt Busch) car. There’s nothing you can do when that happens.  These cars are so sensitive to that left rear push.  It was just stupid.  So early in the race — all we were doing was just working on drafting and trying to figure out what it was going to take for the end of the race.  I didn’t even really feel that I was in a bad situation.  You get such runs in these Nationwide cars that it’s tough when you have somebody pushing you and you come up on somebody.  I haven’t seen the replay, but I know it’s not the finish we wanted for our Dollar General Toyota.  We’ve had nothing but bad luck this year between blowing engines and getting caught up in accidents.”

JEFF GREEN, No. 10 Toyota Camry, TriStar Motorsports Finishing Position: 39th

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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