TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS)
Post-Race Notes & Quotes
Martinsville Speedway – March 30, 2014
· Matt Kenseth (sixth) was the highest-finishing Toyota in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Martinsville Speedway that was won by Kurt Busch.
· Camry driver Kyle Busch started the race from the pole — his first of his career at the Virginia half-mile — and led a total of 22 laps (of 500) en route to his 14th place finish.
· Camry driver Clint Bowyer finished ninth after starting from the 12th position and led a total 16 laps.
· Brian Vickers (16th) and Denny Hamlin (19th) also registered top-20 finishes for Toyota.
· Three Camry drivers are currently in the top-12 in the unofficial NSCS point standings — Kenseth (second), Busch (sixth) and Hamlin (12th).
MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Starting Position: 6th
How was the race today?
“It was up and down — thankfully it ended on a fairly up note. We got it a little bit better there at the end, but the middle of the race was really a struggle. We lost some track position where I got hung on the outside — I just couldn’t make any holes and I couldn’t make anything happen. Then there at the end we had the inside and we got the car a little bit better and was able to make some spots up. Kind of disappointed because at the beginning of the race I thought we were going to have something we could race them with and just kind of lost it there in the middle of the race.”
How did the weather impact the handling of the car?
“The weather — it’s one of those things where it’s the same for everybody. The track conditions today were extremely challenging with the marbles. They just wouldn’t clean them up — I don’t know why. If you had warm tires and you got pushed up in there then you were going to lose 15 spots sometimes — it was that bad. That was a challenge. You wanted to be on the bottom, you didn’t want anybody to get underneath you, that’s for sure. The weather kind of changed for everybody. I thought we were keeping up with it. We had a couple pretty good runs there and then we kind of got off sequence and lost that lap and then from there on we were just fighting back.”
What happened on pit road when you got spun?
“I think 99 (Carl Edwards), he just must not have seen me coming in and they cleared him out. He hit me in the door and spun me out there. I’m glad nobody got hurt.”
CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Starting Position: 9th
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Starting Position: 14th
DAVE ROGERS, crew chief, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Did not having practice on Saturday impact your setup for the race?
“There’s a lot of variables. We took some liberties today knowing that we want to race and you’re not guaranteed into the Chase, but odds are you’re going to be in the Chase so we got the most aggressive with our setup and our teammates were less aggressive in areas. We’re just trying to push the limit really hard — obviously we had good speed early and could sit on the pole, could turn some fast laps early in a run, but we just burned the rear tires off. Had we got some practice yesterday we would have obviously gone a different direction and if we didn’t have the win from California then we would have gone a different direction too. We intentionally tried getting out of the box a little bit and more times than not when you do that it bites you. That’s what you have to do to learn. Really just disappointed to come to Martinsville and don’t get a better finish than that, but excited about what we learned. The 18, 20 (Matt Kenseth) and 11 (Denny Hamlin) went three different directions and the 20 actually had a pretty fast race car. I think we have a lot of good notes for when we come back here in the fall and make a better show out of it.”
BRIAN VICKERS, No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Starting Position: 16th
How was the race?
“A very disappointing finish considering how we ran — we should have been better than that. The guys did a great job in the pits all day. The Aaron’s Dream Machine Camry was really good on long runs and good on mid-runs. We would push a little bit on restarts. We just went too far there and got way too loose. It’s a shame because we had a good car.”
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Starting Position: 19th
What happened in the race when the car was shutting off?
“I had ignition issues — the car was shutting off in the corners and that was frustrating. Setup-wise, we really could have used Saturday. Thinking that as fast as we were on Friday that it probably would play into our advantage not having practice on Saturday, but there was a laundry list of things that we needed to try and didn’t get to do it. Obviously, this car and the setup that we had was really good for 10 laps, but it just goes away too much after that. We have to get to work, have to do some testing — it’s the only thing you can do to get better.”
How was the race today?
“Just slow — that’s the only thing that was wrong with us today. Just frustrating and frustrating day, especially when you know that this is a race track that I feel like I can make up a difference here and there. We were a football field and then some away from the right setup today.”
How is your intermediate program compared to the short track program?
“I think that’s been better at least. Really, our short track program for whatever reason since the beginning of ’13 has really gone away a lot. We definitely need to test and get it a little bit better than what it is and a lot better to get to victory lane. We definitely have a long way to go, but it’s a long season and we’ve got all of our tests saved up so we’ll hit it here in the summer months.”
How treacherous was the upper groove today?
“It was a mess for sure. I got hung up a couple times and went from seventh to 20th just by getting out of line one time. It was treacherous, but at this point as many marbles as there were you would think that there would be rubber on the race track. These tires just aren’t laying anything down.”
COLE WHITT, No. 26 Swan Energy Toyota Camry, Swan Racing
Starting Position: 29th
RYAN TRUEX, No. 83 Borla Exhaust Toyota Camry, BK Racing
Starting Position: 30th
ALEX BOWMAN, No. 23 Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing
Starting Position: 36th
PARKER KLIGERMAN, No. 30 Swan Energy Toyota Camry, Swan Racing
Starting Position: 41st
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 66 Land Castle Title Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports
Starting Position: 43rd