Apr 26, 2013
Toyota Racing 2013 NSCS Toyota Owners 400 Post-Qualifying Recaps
Press Release

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Toyota Racing Logo
MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 1st

How was the qualifying lap? “It was really good — man, we picked up nine-tenths from practice or something. Jason Ratcliff (crew chief) and the whole team made some great adjustments. The car was better than I could have ever expected. I don’t know where it will end up, but we will be proud of that one.”

Did you expect to have a chance at the pole? “We never really thought we were going to have a shot at the pole after practice. We were pretty far off — I think we were about four-tenths off of Jeff (Gordon) or something like that. I’m not sure how he does it every week, but Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) and Jake (Cantor, engineer) and Mikey (Lorusso, engineer) — everybody got together and worked together to make a bunch of changes to the car. It was pretty darned right qualifying. I didn’t quite get it all in (turns) three and four, but it was just enough. The car was really good — it’s fun to start o the front row with the 11 (Brian Vickers) and the 20 being Toyota’s race tomorrow night. Hopefully, we’ll get a good race setup in it for tomorrow and try to be there when it counts at the end.”

Were you excited to get the pole after the circumstances of the week? “I tell you what, when you only win nine poles in 14 years you’re pretty fired up for all of them. For sure, it was one of our goals this weekend was to come here and sit on the pole and kind of quiet down at least part of the noise. I was pretty glad we were able to accomplish that. It’s not been historically a good place for me, especially qualifying. This has been one of my worst qualifying tracks on the circuit. I was really chomping at the bit to get to the track this weekend. JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) has just an incredible history here when you look through it. We worked really hard and by the time I was ready to start working on stuff last night late and this morning and working with Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) and trying to get ready for the day — I feel like everybody did a great job today staying focused on getting the car faster and making the right changes and working hard like they do every week. It feels good to be on the pole. After this week, I thought it was real possible that we don’t win another pole this year the way qualifying usually is, but they give me such fast cars every week. It feels like we might get a few.”

Is the team more motivated this week? “I think they’re motivated every week. You don’t really know what everybody is feeling and thinking inside. I think everybody was pretty excited that we won the pole, especially Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) and Coach (Joe Gibbs, team owner) — could really see a lot of emotion there and myself. The other guys, I don’t know. I can’t probably quite read them as good. I think they do a great job every week. They are totally focused on their work every week and I think there’s a lot of reasons to be motivated. I think all season they’ve been really motivated because we’ve had just really motivated because we’ve had just really fast cars all year and we’ve really had cars fast enough to win a lot of races and have been able to win a couple races already this early in the season. They have a lot of motivation anyway.”

How supportive have people been this week? “I think almost every person that I’ve talked to has been very supportive. I just kind of left it behind me and I’m just going to let the appeals process work out and see what happens. Whatever it is, it is. We’ll have to deal with the consequences then and move on. For now, it’s just business as usual and there is absolutely nothing we can do about anything that happened last week at this point. It’s only a distraction if you let it become one. More than anything, we just don’t want to let that become a distraction, we just want to go do the things we’ve been doing each and every week and I think so far this weekend we have done a great job of that.”

Have you been able to focus on this week’s race? “It was just all week sitting in meetings and as soon as we found out the news about it and then what’s going to happen and what’s not going to happen — what’s going to happen if this happens. Just finally by the time you get here just to get that totally out of your head and get focused on what we needed to do today and I thought we did everything we needed to do today. When we are done with this, then we are going to go start working on race setup and kind of talking about that and strategy and that kind of stuff. Get ready for tomorrow night. Just have to keep our heads down and keep digging. There is just so much with this race team and I know I’ve said it a million times, but I feel like the sky is the limit. We just have to keep focused on that and not let any of the noise bother us and distract us.”

BRIAN VICKERS, No. 11 FedEx Delivery Manager Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 2nd

How was your qualifying run? “Our teammate Matt Kenseth — he laid down a heck of a lap, and he went out before us. These guys did a great job. The Toyota was fast. Maybe I just should have pushed it a little bit harder getting in the corner. The track picked up a lot of speed. Looks like they are going to break the old track record I set in ’05. I really wanted to keep that, but not today.”

Will the track be faster tomorrow night? “These cars are quick. The track’s good. Goodyear is bringing good tires. They’ve got a lot of grip in these new Gen-6 cars. I think we’ve got a great race car for tomorrow night. Only time will tell. Hopefully, this spot will hold up as the sun goes down. The track’s going to pick up speed as the sun drops. But, I think we’ve put down a pretty good lap for the time.”

Was this week difficult not knowing if you were going to drive the No. 11? “It was kind of a difficult week. Being in Denny’s (Hamlin) position before and being out of the car and I know he’s dying to get back — I was pulling for him to get back in the car, I really was. At the same time, obviously happy to drive for FedEx and Toyota and the whole Joe Gibbs Racing team. Darian (Grubb, crew chief) and the guys did a great job with the car from the time we unloaded. Really good in race trim. Really good in qualifying trim. The guys did a great job, I’m looking forward to the race and I think we have a good car.”

Is this the same setup Denny Hamlin uses at Richmond? “I have no idea. Denny (Hamlin) and my driving style is actually very similar — the way we get out of the gas, in the gas so I doubt or suspect that they have not changed it at all. The car is great. All the (Joe) Gibbs (Racing) cars are good and the package they have here — whatever they do works really well and really cuts in the center. The guys just did a great job. Obviously, it’s a new car so I’m sure there’s some differences from last year compared to the Gen-5 car — this is the new Gen-6, but I’m not really sure what those differences are.”

CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 5th

How was the qualifying lap? “That was a great lap for our Toyota Let’s Go Places Camry. Had a pretty good day. I think our car’s good in race trim and I’m looking forward to the race. It’s fun to be back here — I love this race track. It’s just a lot of fun to be in Richmond. This is one of the coolest race tracks we go to. I think it’s a new record until the next guy sets a new record. A lot is going on down here on pit road — Michael (Waltrip, team owner) dropped his phone and it shattered into a million pieces so he’ll be leaning on Sprint for yet another phone for the year. We’re having fun here today.”

How important is qualifying in order to secure a good pit position? “It means a lot. Pit strategy and just everything that you go through. Everybody knows the benefit of that week in and week out. These short tracks — it’s tough to pass, it’s tough to gain track position and when you have a good pit stall with a good opening in and an opening out — if you can gain some spots on pit road, certainly that will factor out on the race track. That was a good lap for us.”

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Starting Position: 8th

How was your qualifying run? “I wish qualifying was a lot better. It wasn’t as good as it needed to be. We’ll see where it stacks us up. Certainly, I hope to be in the top-10 or something like that. I think our car is okay. It’s not like what it’s been here a couple times we’ve been in the past — we’ve been really, really good. It’s kind of up in the air right now about what we got.”

How much did you help Matt Kenseth with his car? “He’s a good race car driver and I won’t say that it’s all equipment. Those Roush guys they do have very good cars, but you typically see them have very good cars at mile-and-a-half, two-mile race tracks. And sometimes the short tracks are not always great. (Matt) Kenseth ran good at Martinsville. He ran good at Bristol. And here he is at Richmond sitting on the pole right now. He’s just a bad liar.”

How is Matt Kenseth as a teammate? “Matt’s (Kenseth) is a great teammate. He’s been a lot to do with making this program better. We’ve been learning a lot from one another, as well as Denny (Hamlin) – Denny being on the sidelines of course, but he’s still been at the race track and still been giving us some good feedback and some tips and what not. I think we’ve got a real strong team and not only on the Cup side, but the Nationwide side as well with Brian Vickers and Elliott Sadler on that side.”

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Brakes Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 9th

How was the qualifying lap? “It wasn’t real pretty. She was kind of a handful. We had a good car in practice — we just missed the adjustments there a little bit I guess. The car didn’t have near as much grip as I expected it to. We just struggled a bit. It’s not terrible, just not what we were looking for.”

MARK MARTIN, No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 10th

How was the qualifying lap? “That was a good, solid run for the Aaron’s Dream Machine. We are feeling really optimistic about Saturday night. We’ve made a lot of progress in recent weeks and I think we’ll be in contention. Anything can happen at Richmond. Should be a great race.”

DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 83 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing Starting Position: 22nd

DAVID STREMME, No. 30 Toyota Camry, Swan Racing Starting Position: 25th

BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Bush’s Beans Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing Starting Position: 32nd

TRAVIS KVAPIL, No. 93 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing Starting Position: 36th

MIKE BLISS, No. 19 Plinker Tactical Toyota Camry, TriStar Motorsports Starting Position: 38th

JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports Starting Position: 41st

BRIAN KESELOWSKI, No. 52 Highland Wealth Advisors Toyota Camry Starting Position: 43rd

Source: Toyota Racing

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