Toyota MENCS Kansas Post-Qualifying Report

Toyota Racing Post-Qualifying Report
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Kansas Speedway – May 10, 2019

1st, Kevin Harvick*
2nd, Aric Almirola*
3rd, Clint Bowyer*
4th, Daniel Suarez*
5th, Chase Elliott*
*non-Toyota driver

NOTE: Qualifying positions are tentative based on Saturday morning technical inspection.


MARTIN TRUEX JR, No. 19 Auto Owners Insurance Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Qualifying Position: 6th

How do you balance speed and knowing it’s tough to pass when you plan a qualifying strategy?

“It’s difficult. The hard part is if you go for that speed and you do qualify good, then at some point you are going to be in traffic. That’s just how it is. You have to plan on that. You are digging yourself a grave.”

Are you not as upset where you end up in qualifying because you are just holding it wide open?

“Exactly. Especially here, where it’s easy wide open. It’s a lot more like Daytona or Talladega. I did all that I could do. It is a team effort; you kind of game plan everything together and you come out with what you get.”

How was your qualifying lap?

“I am happy with that. It’s better than we anticipated. Made a lot of changes after practice, thinking we were going to better. We didn’t have any idea where we would qualify, so I think we are happy with that. We expected to be a little slower.”

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

Qualifying Position: 11th

How was your lap?

“It was a lot better than we thought. That is always a nice surprise. I think the DeWalt Camry is pretty good, especially in race trim. Hopefully we can keep this up inside the top 10 at the start of the race and that will be a good start for us to start and work our way to the front.”

How do you translate that into the race?

“It is nice to know that you have that kind of speed in your car. As far as handling, you don’t learn a lot there. That is probably the fastest we have been on a track like this, so hopefully that will translate over to tomorrow night.”

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Red Nose Day Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Qualifying Position: 13th

How was your lap? How was the track different than earlier today with this new rules package?

“It was pretty easy. You just hold it wide open. I tried to cut off as much of the race track as I could. I don’t know what kind of lap time we really expected with our M&M’s Camry, but we will see where it lines up.”

Is track position especially important here?
“Track position is more important this year certainly. Vegas was okay and Texas the package raced well there too. It was definitely interesting in practice today. There was times where guys were running around the top and if you were fast enough with your race car, you could go lower than them and make a run on them in the corner.”

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Qualifying Position: 17th

Was your car setup for the race more than for qualifying?

“Everyone set it up for the race. We got a little work to do organizationally. With this format, certainly takes the driver out of it. It really is an indication of how fast your car is by itself. We’ve got the 17th fastest car and we’ll go out there and race with it tomorrow. I felt pretty decent with it in traffic so we’ll see how it all turns out.”

How are you feeling after Dover?

“It just was the worst circumstance as far as which crush panel you knock out – the one right next to the exhaust is always the worst. With that few laps to go, 70 or 80, I wasn’t feeling well, but just had to gut it out and go out and finish.”

How do you balance getting the car better versus getting caught back in traffic?

“It’s going to be a challenge. It’s going to be about getting good restarts and having a car that handles well. We saw with the 4 (Kevin Harvick), he had extremely fast speed by himself in practice so we knew that whole team was going to be a force with the Stewart Haas cars. We’re just a little off on speed, we just have to make up for it with handling.”

Do you expect a cool intermediate track to act like a hot, slick track when it comes to racing quality?

“It’s just going to be about trying to time drafts, that’s the biggest thing. You’re going to have to time your drafts and with the Stewart Haas cars in general, they’re so fast that it will be hard for the slower cars to draft past them simply because they are so much faster.”

MATT DiBENEDETTO, No. 95 Digital Momentum/Hubspot Toyota Camry, Leavine Family Racing

Qualifying Position: 29th

How was qualifying and what do you expect for tomorrow night’s race?

“Hopefully, some changes to help it drive better in traffic. It was really on edge. You have to be almost wide open all the way around and not lifting. We were just having to mess with the throttle too much and be out of the gas a little bit too much. If you’re out of the gas just a tiny bit, it takes the car 45 minutes to recover. You just have to really keep it wound up. I was just out of the gas too much.”

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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