Kyle Busch (second) was the highest finishing Camry driver in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Tennessee’s Bristol Motor Speedway.
Toyota drivers Clint Bowyer (fifth) and Brian Vickers (eighth) also earned top-10 results at the half-mile oval.
Busch led the field twice for 56 laps (of 500) after starting the race from the pole — his first at Bristol.
Two additional Joe Gibbs Racing Camrys also led laps at Bristol — Hamlin with a race-high 117 laps and Kenseth with 85 laps.
Other Camry drivers in the field included Martin Truex Jr. (12th), David Stremme (20th), Denny Hamlin (23rd), Joe Nemechek (29th), Matt Kenseth (35th), Travis Kvapil (38th), David Reutimann (39th), Bobby Labonte (41st) and Mike Bliss (43rd).
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing | Finishing Position: 2nd
What kept you from winning today? “Just need to stop getting penalties and just stay up front all day, but I don’t know. We’re trying to take too much on pit roads and it’s not working for us, so we just need to back off. These guys do an awesome job with these cars. The M&M’s Camry was fast and the guys did a great job. Just wish there was more to have there. Just too tight all day. Just never really had the car that was worth being able to run the bottom as long as it needed to. And then on the top, it was too tight on the top as well too. It’s a good day, I guess.”
How strong was your car in the race? “I just wish our car was faster there at the end. We got to where we were single file there with Kasey (Kahne) and he just took off and I couldn’t keep up with him. Our car just wasn’t turning good enough all day — just too tight. We fought that all through practice and we knew we needed to free up today, which we did — we just didn’t do it near enough. All in all, these guys on this M&M’s Camry did a great job for me and we worked really hard all day and really battled back from another penalty. Need to stop getting those and just stay up front all day and be able to run our own race. There at the end, I was probably holding up those guys behind me. Track position here is everything now. It’s frustrating when you can’t pass as well as you need to.”
Did you have a car that could win the race? “We didn’t have the best car today — shoot, we probably had a sixth or seventh-place car today and we ended up second with it. We’ll take something out of that. It will move us up in some points and get us back heading in the right direction from the hole we dug ourselves early here.”
How is your team able to rally back from adversity to a strong finish? “I think its due in a lot of circumstances to Dave (Rogers, crew chief) — he made a good pit call and got us back up front and then I drove my ass off all day. Our guys — they do good pit stops, so that’s what it all boils down to.”
CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 NAPA Filters Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing | Finishing Position: 5th
How was the race today? “It was great having the NAPA colors on my car today. I just didn’t have enough for them on the bottom down there. Needed a little bit of track position. We had a great car and it was a good day — just wasn’t a great day.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing | Finishing Position: 12th
How was the race today? “It should have been a top-10 finish. We got jumbled on the restart and that cost us some positions. Plus it was so tight on the restart. I drove my butt off today. We learned a lot and collected more points, so we’ll take it and head back out west to Fontana.”
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing | Finishing Position: 23rd
Was your incident with Joey Logano related to your Twitter argument after Phoenix? “No, it didn’t have anything to do with that. Really, you’ve got to control your car and he slid up into me and really he would have been in the garage with no radiator in it had I not checked up twice, so I just — I meant to run into him. Didn’t mean to spin him out, but his day was fine. He still had a bad day anyway for whatever reason. We finished bad. He finished bad. It’s even.”
What did Logano say inside your car? ”He said he was coming for me. I usually don’t see him, so it’s usually not a factor.”
How did the events unfold with Logano? “He (Joey Logano) pinched us up against the wall twice and really had I not checked up he would have been in the garage anyway with no radiator in it. It’s just one of those things. Its Bristol racing and everyone is fighting for the top and I think he knew he had to get to the top as soon as he could, but I was up there. I didn’t mean to hit him — I didn’t mean to wreck him — that was a mistake. Still, we both had a bad day.”
Will you try to talk to Logano? “Yeah, we’ll talk at some point.”
What happened on the restart when you got into the back of Brad Keselowski? “The 22 (Joey Logano) had me pinned — the 22 ran into me and shoved me into the 2 (Brad Keselowski) so sorry for the 2, but I was the pinball in the sandwich and once he throttled up the 22 lifted me up and just flat out pinned me up against the 2.”
MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Husky/Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing | Finishing Position: 35th
What caused the accident with Jeff Gordon? “There was not a lot either one of us could have done about that, so it’s going to take a lot of Husky Tools to fix that thing. But, really encouraged — Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) made awesome adjustments again. I thought we had that run the fastest car, one of the only cars that could pass out there today. And man, we just got a little behind and I just finally had it made up and wanted to be in the lead for that last pit stop so we could get ourselves some track position there and blew a tire right in front of us — just nowhere to go. We had a great car again today. We just didn’t make to the end unfortunately.”