Toyota Race Recap at Michigan 1
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Auto Owners Insurance Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 3rd
How do you think you faired today after the cutdown tire early in the race?
“It was a good day. I just made a little mistake there and barely rubbed the 8 (Tyler Reddick) car off (turn) two there and I guess cut both of our tires down. I really don’t know how it happened. My bad on that one. I hate it for Tyler, it messed up his day early as well. We just fought back. The Auto Owners Camry was really strong. If we could ever have gotten to the front, I think we would have had something for them. Lots of restarts and they’re crazy here. A couple of them didn’t work out. The last one did. Really good car and really good job by the guys coming back like that. Just need a little bit more.”
What is your takeaway from today in terms of the race track and the ‘choose rule’?
“It’s interesting for sure. The ‘choose rule’ is cool. It gives us an option. The hard part is that you’re still at the mercy of the other guys around you. Sometimes it’s a little bit of luck whether you pick the right one or not. All in all, it didn’t really change the whole race around that much.”
How was your race today?
“Just proud of the guys for sticking with it. I obviously made a bonehead move there early on and it was weird. I barely felt like I rubbed the 8 (Tyler Reddick) car there and flattened both of our tires. It was definitely an odd situation and I feel bad for screwing up his day because he got a lap down as well. All in all, special Auto Owner’s Camry today with 1900 names on the hood. They’re such great partners of ours and I really wanted to give them a strong run at their home track. We had a top-three or four car all day. I felt like at one point we were really, really fast. Just fought track position with coming from the back and then those restarts at the end, you always hope you pick the right lane. A few times we did the right one and a few times we didn’t. All in all, just a solid day.”
What will you need to fight for the win tomorrow?
“I feel really good about our car. I think we can do a few things to make it better, but honestly, it’s really fast. If we could get a little bit faster in the straightaways without slowing the corners down, they’ll have to watch out for us tomorrow.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Fudge Brownie Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 5th
What happened with Kevin Harvick on one of the final restarts?
“I don’t know. Definitely got loose. Don’t know whether it was contact or just air. Definitely got loose and had to chase it and catch it. Thankfully, kept it out of the fence. We were able to salvage a fifth. Felt like we had a good second-place car today. The M&M’s Fudge Brownie Toyota Camry was fast. Just nowhere near his (Kevin Harvick) level of fast. The 4 (Harvick) car was just driving away and I was running wide open and couldn’t even draft with him down the straightaways. We definitely didn’t have the speed we needed, but had a good balanced car, good driving car and hopefully we can work on it a little bit tonight and get it better for tomorrow. Just need to be better in traffic and be able to maneuver and be able to pass just a bit more.”
What did the drivers that chose the bottom today need on the restarts?
“It’s all about the run down the back. Every time you get to the backstretch, the outside just goes. The middle and the bottom just doesn’t and I have no idea what that is or why that is. It’s just a matter of what it is. For trucks, it’s the same way. You have to get in that line and get rolling.”
Did you feel contact with Kevin Harvick?
“I just didn’t get loose and turn up to the wall by myself so I don’t know whether he (Kevin Harvick) hit me or just air. It was close enough that it disturbed my car obviously and made me have to get out of it real bad. It was a race for second today overall. Proud of the M&M’s Fudge Brownie guys. They did a good job. We’ve been playing hard all year and this was certainly an improvement. We’ve been close for good finishes and we’ve been running well enough for good finishes, we just aren’t getting them. Today was another indication of that. We should have finished second I guess, maybe won. Top-five it is. Thanks to Interstate Batteries, Toyota Camry and Rowdy Energy, we’ll be back tomorrow.”
How eager are you to get back tomorrow knowing the car was good today?
“The car was pretty good right off the bat. There’s still some things we can tweak on, hopefully. I’m scared to mess with it to try to make it better. It was just really, really hard to deal with in traffic. Anytime there was anybody in front of me, I had to be away from them, whether lower or higher, but not follow. It would not track at all with the car in front of me. That’s kind of been our ‘MO’ actually. Overall, just work on that.”
What did you think of the ‘choose rule’?
“I thought it worked good. It gave everyone an opportunity to make their own destiny in their decisions rather than chance where they were going to be in the running order. I feel like it did what it was intended to do.”
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 6th
How was the race for you overall after looking very strong up front much of the race?
“I thought we were kind of a second-place car. Once the 4 (Kevin Harvick) was leading there, we were able to stay pretty close to him. He was just so much faster down the straightaway than we were. I’m not sure that we would have been able to do much with him. We were certainly fast in the corners and we were just kind of a second-place car with our FedEx Ground Camry. My crew chief (Chris Gabehart) was concerned about loose lug nuts there around lap 130 when the caution came out so he wanted to come and take tires and work on the car and make sure the lug nuts were tight. That set us back and put us probably 11th or 12th in line. We could only muster coming back to sixth.”
What did you think about the ‘choose rule’?
“It was good. You can decide what’s best for you. Everyone has a car that works different in different lanes and it definitely gave you an opportunity to move up and make up positions if you needed to.”
What will the team work on to make the car better for tomorrow’s race?
“We need to work on the handling a little bit. I felt that part was not bad, but need to work on it a little bit. From that point, we just have to get the car going faster down the straightaways somehow. We’ll do everything we can to make it go as fast as it can, but ultimately once we got the lead there, I was wide open and just could not hold off the guys coming behind me. We have to make it a little faster.”
RIS NASCAR Editor. Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.