Toyota Racing NCS Post-Race Recap -- Michigan 8.9.20
TOYOTA QUOTES DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 2nd
What more did you need in the closing laps?
“Just needed to maneuver a little bit better and I think that we could be a little better. Overall, our car handled well. Just needed a little more speed there and a little bit more handling to pass. Obviously, I thought we were definitely the fastest car by running him (Kevin Harvick) down there.”
Did the track change during the race or from yesterday?
“The track sped up and it fit our car and it definitely went to where we setup our car for the race today. We just got a little bit better and things got closer at the end.”
Did you think you could get around Kevin Harvick in the closing laps?
“Once we finally got to second, I knew we had something for him (Kevin Harvick), I just got stalled there and he was tight, I was tight. We were better, that’s for sure. I thought if I could maybe get to his quarter panel, I could shove him higher and make him tighter, but just couldn’t quite do it. Proud of this whole FedEx Ground Toyota team. We obviously had a very strong run. Just needed a little bit more.”
Did you know from the start of the race that you might have a shot to win?
“I knew we were going to be pretty good, especially when it cooled off there. We tried to put maybe a little bit of speed in the car, but overall I thought we just had a really good handling car and that allowed us to keep pace right there. Our whole team did a great job adjusting overnight and thought we were a good one-two combo in both races even though we didn’t finish second yesterday. Proud of the whole FedEx team, we’re just plugging along here. Just really hate giving up wins to the 4 (Kevin Harvick).”
Do you and Kevin Harvick bring out the best in each other on the track?
“No question. On one of the restarts I think I was fifth and I pulled all the way up to the inside line next to the 4 (Kevin Harvick) and I was revving my engine beside him just to give him a little exhaust fumes. I have tremendous respect for everyone on that team and Kevin. As we’ve gotten older, we’ve gotten wiser and learned to really appreciate what each other does on the race track. Obviously, they’re having a great season as well.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Auto Owners Insurance Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 3rd
How was your run today with another third-place finish?
“We don’t do anything easy, that’s for sure. We were awful at the start of the race. I don’t know, we didn’t make a lot of changes from yesterday. We tried to do different things to try to get better. We definitely were worse. Just have to grind them out, that’s what we do. It’s good to be grinding out top-three finishes, that’s what the Playoffs are all about. We need to get some more points before that starts.”
How does it feel to finish up a solid two days of racing at Michigan with another top finish?
“We battled back. The car was pretty far off to start the race. We’re all pretty disappointed in that obviously, but really proud of the effort to get the Auto Owners Camry back up front. A special paint scheme and can’t thank Auto Owners enough and all their associates for their support of our foundation and all 1900 people on the hood. We really wanted to get them to victory lane, but just really proud of our race team. We keep bringing top-three cars to the race track and the Playoffs are coming so we need to keep doing that. Just off at the start and had to rebound. Definitely a different story today than yesterday, but pretty much the same result.”
Could you just not get close enough to the 11 in the final laps?
“I just started getting tight that last run and was starting to have to lift getting into three a little bit and would get tight off four. He (Denny Hamlin) started driving away. I was doing all I could to try to get up there and once he got by me, I was trying to stay close. I just got too tight at the end. Just fought the balance too much all day. Wicked loose to start and then wicked tight to end. Just missed it a little bit, but again, proud of everyone back at the shop and we’ll keep digging.”
How important is this finish for your starting position at the Daytona road course next week?
“We actually talked about it before the race. We knew we had to finish good no matter what. We definitely had that in the back of our mind because you don’t know what’s going to happen next week. I think all of us going into turn one at the Daytona road course with no braking points and the potential of rain Florida in the summertime in the afternoon. Who the heck knows what’s going to happen. I love road courses though so I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a lot of fun and we’ll get prepared this week. We have a of plans to get ready. Should be fun, we’ll see what we can do. Then we have another doubleheader in Dover in two weeks. Pretty excited about that doubleheader as well.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Fudge Brownie Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 4th
What was the difference for you in today’s race compared to yesterday?
“Nothing really. I felt like it was really similar. Again today, our M&M’s Fudge Brownie Camry was good. Top-three car. I felt like the 4 (Kevin Harvick), the 2 (Brad Keselowski), us, the 11 (Denny Hamlin) there at the end was really good. Us and the 19 (Martin Truex Jr.) were the same. Just hard to pass when you get there towards the end and try to make moves on guys and they just block your air and do what they’re supposed to do to prevent you from getting by them. It’s just tough racing like that and I just felt tight there at the end and just couldn’t get anymore. That was about all we were going to get today anyway. That’s on par I guess here at Michigan.”
Your car seemed stronger on the long runs early in the race, how did that change or did it throughout the race?
“The long runs went away later in the race and that’s just what we had. We got about all we could get out of the day. I felt like the 4 (Kevin Harvick) was the best car. The 2 (Brad Keselowski) was second-best. The 11 (Denny Hamlin), there at the end showed up and was pretty fast, but the 19 (Martin Truex Jr.) and myself were really even. That was about all we had. Great day again for the M&M’s Fudge Brownie Camry. We come to Michigan not normally looking for top-five days, but this has been a good two days. Hopefully we can keep some momentum rolling here and get ready to go next week and turn right and turn left.”
How important was it to have two days of solid runs?
“Yesterday and today, the car drove great. The best driving car I’ve had here at Michigan. When you have so much comfort I guess build into the car, you just don’t quite have enough speed. We weren’t going to change that overnight, so we stayed consistent with many of the things that we were doing from yesterday just to have a good, solid effort of it today and not screw anything up.”
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, Kevin Harvick*
2nd, DENNY HAMLIN
3rd, MARTIN TRUEX JR.
4th, KYLE BUSCH
5th, Joey Logano*
17th, CHRISTOPHER BELL
26th, DANIEL SUÁREZ
27th, ERIK JONES
35th, TIMMY HILL
RIS NASCAR Editor. Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.