Clint Bowyer was the first Camry driver to the finish line in the Toyota Owners 400 tonight at Richmond International Raceway with a second-place result.
Bowyer led the field twice for a total of 113 laps (of 406) at the three-quarter mile Virginia oval.
Matt Kenseth (seventh) also registered a top-10 finish after starting from the pole and leading 140 laps.
Kyle Busch also led the field once for 40 laps.
Toyota drivers Kenseth, Busch and Bowyer combined to lead 293 of 406 laps.
Other Camry drivers in the field included Martin Truex Jr. (17th), Bobby Labonte (19th), David Reutimann (22nd), Kyle Busch (24th), David Stremme (31st), Brian Vickers (35th), Travis Kvapil (37th), Mark Martin (38th), Joe Nemechek (39th), Brian Keselowski (40th) and Mike Bliss (43rd).
Two Camry drivers are in the top-12 in the unofficial point standings — Bowyer (fifth) and Busch (seventh).
CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing | Finishing Position: 2nd
How strong was your race car? “We had a good car — we just didn’t have a great car. It seemed like we were just too tight on the throttle — it wouldn’t quite turn and come up off. It really got wild there at the end — I was just lucky enough to be on the bottom. They started making holes up there in front of me and the seas parted, and I just followed suit behind (Kevin) Harvick. It was a good run. Thanks to Toyota for coming on board to sponsor this race — wish we could have won the Toyota race, but second’s not bad.”
Did anything happen to the handling on the car during the race? “We just kind of lost it there. I knew right off the bat that it just wouldn’t rotate good enough on the throttle the way it needs to on a track like this. Unfortunately, we weren’t fast enough to win. But, we got pretty lucky there at the end and it got pretty wild. We didn’t get in it.”
MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing | Finishing Position: 7th
How was your race? “It was up and down. In the beginning of the race, we were real strong and in the middle of the race we probably had a fifth to sixth-place car or something like that. We got it pretty good again. That last restart, just being on the outside and the 78 (Kurt Busch) drove up through there and knocked my whole side off and put me in the marbles. Just two laps, everybody is going to go for it and go for every hole they’ve got. That’s the best I could do so it looks like if I could have drawn the inside line instead of the outside line then maybe I could have ran second. Just starting on the top you knew they were going to be three and four-wide and it was just tough.”
How big of a difference were old tires versus new tires? “It was a huge difference and that was why you knew that last restart was going to look like it did.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Brakes Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing | Finishing Position: 17th
How was the race? “We fought the car all night long and finally got some track position back — we fought really hard for that. It’s a shame to get to where we were there and get spun. A little bit disappointed, but that’s the way it goes on short tracks I guess. I’ll remember if we get in that position again what I’ll do to Kurt (Busch).”
What happened between you and Kurt Busch? “He (Kurt Busch) had me hooked on the straightaway and I was trying to stay up the race track, but he had me in the left rear and he was kind of driving me down the straightaway a little bit and I had no intentions of cutting down on him going into (turn) three, but he had me jacked up the whole way. When he let off, my car got on the left rear and went straight and then I got up in the marbles and then I just had to spin it out. It was either spin it out in the marbles or drive it straight in the fence. He just had us in a bad position and wouldn’t let off the gas. I was going to give him the inside going into (turn) three — I had given him the whole inside the lap before that. I ran him hard, I ran him tight, but I gave him plenty of room. He didn’t need to do that. He was driving in over his head trying to get a win I guess.”
MARK MARTIN, No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing | Finishing Position: 38th
How was the race? “We just got caught up in an accident. The effort by these guys was tremendous. We worked on this car all night, we were competitive and I think we were getting it better and better as the race went on. Would have liked to have been in the mix there at the end.”