Camry drivers Brian Vickers (second), Matt Kenseth (third) and Kyle Busch (fifth) earned top-five finishes in Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Dover International Speedway.
Busch was at the front of the field more than any other driver on Saturday — leading 72 laps (of 200) around the one-mile oval.
Other Camry drivers in Saturday’s race included Parker Kligerman (11th), Cole Whitt (16th), Alex Bowman (17th), Mike Bliss (18th), Eric McClure (24th), Elliott Sadler (28th), Tony Raines (30th), Jason White (32nd), Joe Nemechek (33rd), Joey Gase (34th), Jeff Green (35th) and Blake Koch (40th).
Three Toyota drivers are in the top-10 in the unofficial NNS point standings — Vickers (third), Kligerman (sixth) and Sadler (seventh).
BRIAN VICKERS, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing | Starting Position: 2nd
Is this the kind of finish your team needs? “We just needed a little bit more right — one spot more right. The guys did a good job. Starting where we did, getting the track position, getting up front — it was a great points day. Obviously, we want to get a win and get this Dollar General Toyota in victory lane. We were able to give 1.163 million dollars to Autism Speaks — I say we, I mean the Dollar General customers and Dollar General. It’s phenomenal for them.”
How was your Camry at the end of the race? “We put some wedge back in — we took a little bit too much out on the next to last run. The guys did a great job with the car all weekend. It’s the best we’ve been kind of going into the race and starting the race and finishing the race. The guys did a good job on pit road as well and man, we really want to win one of these things. It was still a good day with a top-10.”
How does this finish help in the point standings? “Obviously, a good day in the points and that’s what we really need. We need to chip back away at the points where we’re really racing towards the championship. Man, we want to win — I want to get these guys a win.”
How was your car throughout the weekend? “It was a good day, but we want to win. The guys did a great job. They gave me a good car, all weekend we worked on it and made it better throughout practice and throughout the race. I had a rough start to qualifying, a little too tight in qualifying and had to make that up in the race. The guys made good stops and good calls, we got our track position and maintained and we were able to race for the win right there at the end. We were so close and obviously I really want to win, but it was a great points day for us.”
What was the thinking behind taking two tires on the last pit stop? “That was a great call on Kevin’s (Kidd, crew chief) part. It was a last minute call, and it was one thousand percent the right call keeping the track position. I think if we would have started on the outside of the 22 (Joey Logano), we would have had the advantage going into (turn) one and maybe had a chance to take the lead and keep it. I thought we were both close to even there at the end of the race. He was probably a little bit better on the short run and we were a little bit better on the long run. All in all, still a good points day.”
Are you satisfied with this finish? “I think pleased, but not satisfied. That is probably the best way to describe it. Really proud of the guys. On one hand very excited — a great points day for the Dollar General team. But, on the other hand — we want to win. These guys deserve a win. We were so close. Maybe if we could have got out in the lead there on the restart we could have held them off. We were both pretty close to even. He (Joey Logano) was a little better on the short run. But starting on the inside was a little bit of a disadvantage there on the final restart. All in all — really proud of the guys. The guys did a great job with the car unloading (and) making it better through practice. Really ending practice happy. A little tight in qualifying. We missed that a little bit and that hurt us on track position starting the race. We were able to overcome it. Good stops. Good changes on the car. Nice solid day for us.”
MATT KENSETH, No. 18 GameStop/Grid 2 Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing | Finishing Position: 3rd
How was the handling of your Camry? “Well, I got rid of the push. We started off pretty loose. We had a decent GameStop Toyota — made it better there at the end. Got two tires — was able to make some ground. I stalled it one time coming out of the pits. We had a little trouble and got ourselves behind. It was just hard to come back from that.”
How much did the track change and did you learn anything for tomorrow’s race? “I don’t know. I probably won’t take much out of this race into tomorrow’s (race). It was fun to go out and get 200 laps. We were 10 laps away from getting a win — so that was fun. We were more competitive made some ground and got a decent finish. I’m not sure if I learned anything for tomorrow or not.”
How would you describe your race today? “It was an up and down day for us. We had a car better than we ran most of the day. We started off a fair ways off — pretty loose. Then we got too tight for a little bit in back. But we just kept getting behind. We had a pit stop where we had a little bit of trouble and when we dropped the jack I wasn’t ready for it and I choked off and killed it, and we lost four or five spots there. We just kind of struggled a little bit — kept getting behind. Then didn’t have enough time to make up the spots. That last run was a good run. We just got caught behind some cars too long and just ran out of time.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing | Finishing Position: 5th
How was your race? “It was a great race car. Just real unfortunate that I messed up pit strategy there, you know. Got us too far back. I tried to make some big moves there and couple of them worked — a couple of them didn’t. It is what it is.”
Who made the call to take four tires on the last pit stop? “I made it.”
Was it surprising how dominant you were this afternoon? “Well, it’s no surprise. Hated that we didn’t win, but I got to put that on my shoulders and live with it.”
PARKER KLIGERMAN, No. 77 All Metal Fabricators Toyota Camry, Kyle Busch Motorsports | Finishing Position: 11th
How was your race? “Very disappointed. We finished 11th in our All Metal Fabricators Camry. Not really representative of what speed we had, what good of car we had. We probably had a top-five car there at the end and just had a pit malfunction there at the start of the race and went to the back and passed all the way to the top-10 and had another pit malfunction at the end and went to the back and got back to 11th. We passed most of the cars, and we’re pretty upset about it.”