Toyota MENCS Bristol Post-Race Recap

Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Bristol Motor Speedway
Race 8 of 36 – 266.5 miles, 500 laps
April 15, 2018

2nd, Kyle Larson*
3rd, Jimmie Johnson*
4th, Ricky Stenhouse*
5th, Alex Bowman*
*non-Toyota driver

1st, KYLE BUSCH 365 points
7th, MARTIN TRUEX JR. 257 points
8th, DENNY HAMLIN 252 points
12th, ERIK JONES 209 points
24th, DANIEL SUÁREZ 134 points
**unofficial point standings

· Camry driver Kyle Busch captured his second victory of 2018 with a win at Bristol Motor Speedway. It was his seventh career MENCS victory at the half-mile short track as he continues to lead the MENCS point standings by 59 points over second-place Joey Logano.

· Busch has now won a total of 21 races at the Tennessee short track – seven in MENCS, nine in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races.

· Busch led 117 of 500 laps over what turned into a two-day race when inclement weather paused the event Sunday afternoon forcing the final laps of the race to be run on Monday.

· The win marks the third for a Toyota Camry in MENCS competition in 2018. Busch also won last week’s race at Texas Motor Speedway and defending series champion Martin Truex Jr. claimed the victory at Auto Club Speedway in California last month.


KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Skittles Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 1st

How did you overcome all of the adversity with the race and weather to get to victory lane?

“It’s just the long long delays and things that happen that kind of get you in and out of your game. Tell you what, you just got to stay focused for the entirety of it and try to keep going. I of course used some NOS in order to help me do that and some Skittles of course to help me do that. We had plenty of those during the break, but I can’t say enough about this Skittles Toyota Camry. I mean Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and these boys brought a great race car. We knew it was going to be good in the long runs. We weren’t quite as good as the 42 (Kyle Larson) on that long run before that last caution came out. I actually thought I had a tire going down, but we were able to get some tires on it and go give it everything we had. We had a 20-lap shootout and that was everything that it was about was right there just chasing down that 42 and being able to get there. Thanks to M&Ms, Interstate Batteries, Cessna, DVX Eyewear, Black Clover, the fans. I appreciate the fans coming out today. I know it was a hard one, a tough one, a cold one for everybody that was here in Bristol and around Bristol, Tennessee, but we appreciate that.”

How are you feeling after such a long race?

“I was breathing hard there those last 20 laps, whatever it was. That was a heck of a run right there with the 42 (Kyle Larson) – chasing him down, being able to get to him, being able to get by him and then trying to hold him off with some lap traffic ahead of us. I can’t say enough about this Skittles Toyota Camry. Adam Stevens (Crew chief) and my guys, they continue to impress and do an amazing job for me and give me great race cars week in and week out. We knew we were going to have a great long run car. We just had to get there and had to get some long runs. Actually the 42 was better than us right there before that last caution came out, so I don’t know what happen to ours, but we just got really really bad tire vibrations and just wasn’t able to run as hard as we wanted, but we got it. Came in, got them four tires put on it and man we were fast there at the end. We chased those guys back down.”

Before that last set of tires, you were feeling that right-front tire. Was it because you were trying a higher line?

“I don’t think so. They said the left-front was wore out. They said the left-front was down to the cords and gone, so I think it’s just the air pressure build on these – these tires, they keep building the sidewalls stiffer and stiffer and we just keep taking more and more and more air pressure out of them and it’s just hurting the tire because you can’t get any grip in it when in the long runs and so it’s just unfortunate that we’re playing games with the tires because Goodyear keeps changing them on us. Overall, it was a great day for us. Cool to be in victory lane again. I want to thank Interstate Batteries, M&Ms, Toyota, NOS Energy Drink, Cessna, DVX Eyewear, Black Clover and of course the fans. I certainly appreciate the fans that were all out here in Bristol, Tennessee this weekend and whether through 80-degree weather on Friday and Saturday to snowy and sleety here today.”

Was your car the best right at the end of the race?

“It was the best right at the end. I know (Kyle) Larson was a little bit loose right there. It seemed like he was over driving and trying to hold the bottom, but he was slipping out of the bottom and I got a huge run on him and got to him and it was just on. I knew I might as well just take the opportunity that I got right now. I knew it was a little early ‘cause you tend to try to want to think about saving that bump and run deal for the last lap, but I just took my chance with it and if he got back to my rear bumper, then so be it. I think that’s fair game and being able to race that way. Fortunately, I was able to run away from him and he couldn’t get back to me.”

DANIEL SUÁREZ, No. 19 ARRIS Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 11th

Talk about getting through the race with your hand injury and the weather situation.

“I mean it was a difficult weekend overall. With the weather and my hand and everything, but actually it kind of helped me a little bit to rest more and kind of like breaks for myself. On that side, it was kind of nice, but right here over the 300 laps straight, I’m a little sore right now. I feel like we were actually better than 11th, but anyway. It’s been an okay weekend, but we have to keep working. I feel like overall, it was a positive weekend because we showed speed and we run in the front – up front. We have to build on that and go to next week to Richmond.”

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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