Toyota MENCS Chicago Post-Race Recap

Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Chicagoland Speedway
Race 17 of 36 – 400.5 miles, 267 laps
July 1, 2018

2nd, Kyle Larson*
3rd, Kevin Harvick*
5th, Clint Bowyer*
*non-Toyota driver

1st, KYLE BUSCH 736 points
4th, MARTIN TRUEX JR 594 points
8th, DENNY HAMLIN 537 points
14th, ERIK JONES 408 points
19th, DANIEL SUÁREZ 316 points
**unofficial point standings

· Camry driver Kyle Busch captured his fifth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) victory of the 2018 season at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday.

· On the season, Busch now has five wins, 12 top-10 finishes and 947 laps led. He remains first in the MENCS standings.

· The win marked Toyota’s fourth-consecutive MENCS victory at Chicagoland Speedway since 2015 and Busch’s second career MENCS win at the 1.5-mile track.

· Through 17 MENCS races this season, Toyota has eight wins with Busch (five) and Martin Truex Jr. (three) both collecting multiple victories in 2018.

· Truex Jr. (fourth), Erik Jones (sixth) and Denny Hamlin (seventh) all finished inside the top-10 at Chicagoland Sunday.


KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Skittles Red White & Blue Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 1st

How did that shake down there?

“I don’t know. I got really boxed in and got really slow. I tried to get all of it on those last couple of laps. (Kyle) Larson tried to pull a slider but didn’t quite complete it. He slide up into me and used me, and then I kind of used him a little bit in Turn 3 to come back for the victory. Great win for the Skittles Camry and all of these guys. We were horrible today. Absolutely horrendous. We just never gave up. It’s always to good to make the most of the days and get to where we needed at the end. I was able to lead all of those laps. And get through the rest of the traffic. If you don’t like that kind of racing, don’t even watch.”

Did you see Harvick there at the end?

“I have no clue who third place was. It was a race between Larson and I. We raced each other and it was fair game after that. That’s how it goes sometimes. Proud to get us another win here in Chicago. It’s been a long time. Pretty cool, going to Victory Lane.”

Is the way that played out what the sport is all about?

“Yeah it is. Tried to pull a slide job and didn’t quite get it all the way. He wasn’t close enough to get it all the way. But when he got into us there, he got me into the wall and killed my right side and it was gone after that. Couldn’t get back to the checkered flag first. Fortunately we had just enough in this Skittles Camry to get to Victory Lane. We made the most of this Camry today. Adam Stevens (crew chief) and all of my guys did a great job with race adjustments throughout the race to get us to where we needed to be near the end. We got some clean air towards the end. My crew chief did a great job helping me there and it was a way different race car up front. Can’t thank NOS Energy, Interstate Batteries, Cessna, Rheem, Stanley, Black Clover, of course the fans, my fans – they’re pretty passionate. They’re pretty powerful with what we got going with Rowdy Nation. The rest of the of them, I don’t know what they’re booing about. It was a hell of a race. You got problems if you don’t like that.”

Tell us about the last lap with you and Larson.

“It was a lot more hectic than I wanted it to be. Those lapped cars just got in our way and slowed us down so much that we just had no momentum. Finally I got through a couple of them. Larson just threw a dart there in Turn 1 and 2 and tried to pull a slide job. I don’t think he was close enough. He didn’t get enough clear on me to be able to slide. And when he got to me, he throttled up and drove us in the wall. And going down the backstretch, I lost all of my momentum. I tried to side-draft him as much as I could to keep him alongside of me. He cleared me and I gave him what he gave me back into Turn 3 and 4. And I was able to come back and get ahead. Adam Stevens did a great job today and turned this into something we could go race with at the end. Can’t thank Interstate Batteries enough. NOS Energy Drink, Toyota, Cessna, Rheem, Stanley, Black Cover and everyone. They work so hard. My pit crew did a great job as well.”

How did all of the external factors play into your car today?

“It all did. Track position was huge. That was the biggest benefactor. Us working on it as well was huge, too. We came a long ways with the balance of this thing. A couple of pit stops we said, let’s just sit here and work on it. Guys didn’t actually lose a lot of time or positions. We were able to get it where we needed it. Out front and got the lead, we took control of the race. We were able to hold off Harvick and Larson had a charge. He was coming but you have to pass a guy to win the race. You can’t drive through a guy to win the race. We did what we needed to do to get our Skittles Camry in Victory Lane.”

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Furniture Row Racing

Finishing Position: 4th

Take us through your day today.

“Up and down for sure. Starting in the back and we overcame that pretty quickly, really. Our pit stall was awful. I feel bad for the 42 (Larson). To pit behind us and there is nothing we could have done about it. That rule where NASCAR picks your pit stall for you, it hurts the 42. It hurts us just as much. All in all we battled here today with track position and we were a fourth-place car and that’s where we finished so it was a good day.”

Talk about the heat today.

“It’s just hot. It’s nice to get out now and I felt okay in there car. I got everything I could out of it. There’s no question about that. It was hot in these things.”

ERIK JONES, No. 20 DeWALT Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 6th

Is it nice to build of this momentum going into the Playoffs after a finish like today?

“Yeah, I think overall the last two weeks have been really good to us. Sonoma was a big challenge and I thought today was going to be a big challenge. Which, overall, the grip level being as low as it was. The track being as hot and slick as it was. We did a good job making good adjustments. Overall, we did what needed to do to get a good run and it turned out into a solid top-10.”

What was it like with the heat?

“It wasn’t too bad from the seat. Overall, it was really low on grip from the track. I felt good. But definitely slick and definitely not my kind of race but we got a good race out of it.”

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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