Post-Race Notes & Quotes
Martinsville Speedway – October 27, 2013Camry driver Matt Kenseth (second) was the top-finishing Toyota in Sunday afternoon’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Virginia’s Martinsville Speedway.Kenseth started fourth and led a race-high 202 laps (of 500) en route to his runner-up finish at the half-mile speedway.
Fellow Camry Chase for the Sprint Cup competitor Clint Bowyer finished third in the race and led a total of 60 laps.
Camry driver Denny Hamlin started from the pole and led 14 laps en route to a seventh-place result.
Other Toyota drivers in the field included Kyle Busch (15th), Martin Truex Jr. (16th), Travis Kvapil (24th), Elliott Sadler (25th), Bobby Labonte (32nd), Joe Nemechek (33rd), Cole Whitt (35th) and David Reutimann (37th).
After the seventh race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship 10-race playoff, Kenseth is tied with Jimmie Johnson in the NSCS points, but ranks ahead of Johnson by virtue of seven wins this season compared to Johnson’s five. Busch ranks fifth (-36 points behind first) in the standings and Bowyer is sixth (-55).
MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 2nd
Are you disappointed you weren’t able to hold on for the win today?
“I have nothing to complain about, just you always feel bad when you’re leading at the end and your crew puts you out front and you can’t hold on to win. So, I’m disappointed about that. But, just Jeff’s (Gordon) experience here got me. I’m just not that experienced running upfront here and I had something that was working but I was kind of hurting the rear tires and I hurt the front tires too. Just went away from me there at the end. But it was a great race. When the 5 (Kasey Kahne) blocked us in there or whatever went on I really lost a lot of momentum and Jeff (Gordon) got to me. From that moment on I had a hard time holding him off. All of the lapped cars up to that point were so courteous and could roll right by them and then they were side-by-side and I thought he was a bunch of laps down. So, once I had to push him out of the way we were a little slower. But, overall, what a great day. Just thanks to Dollar General and JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing), it was a good day for us.”
What was the difference at the end between the win and finishing second?
“Mainly probably experience. Jimmie (Johnson) and Jeff (Gordon) and Denny (Hamlin) I think are the best three here when you come here. I had something that was working for us — I was just hesitant to get off of it. I should have changed my line a little bit. I just got tight at the end and got loose off. When I tried to get around the 5 (Kasey Kahne) there when they were side-by-side and I kind of got into him to get him out of the way and get going. After that we just weren’t quite as fast. Just didn’t have enough to hold him (Gordon) off.”
Did the second groove ever come in during the race?
“Not really. I’ve seen it worse. It wasn’t the preferred groove by any means.”
Are you disappointed with a second-place finish?
“First of all, there is nothing to be disappointed about. Finishing second, but when you get the lead and you have it at the end and you don’t win, you’re always a little disappointed. I wish I could have done better. I just didn’t have enough to hold off Jeff (Gordon). He’s just too good.”
Is the championship down to two after this race?
“I don’t know anything that happened. I’ve got to be totally honest with you, I haven’t looked at the points. Somebody told me Jimmie (Johnson) and I are tied. I have no idea. I think if you’re within a race anything can happen. I think if you’re more than a race behind multiple drivers, I think that makes it tough. I think if you’re whatever you can get in a race, 48 points, if you’re more than that behind more than one driver, more than two drivers, I think that’s hard to overcome with three races to go. But as we’ve seen through the years, anything can happen. You just never know what’s going to happen.”
CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position: 3rd
How was your race?
“Just not enough man. We were so good in practice. Really, really strong in practice our 5-hour ENERGY Toyota. I was super optimistic, but it just wasn’t our day. We worked very hard to get where we were. I’m proud of (Brian) Pattie (crew chief). Just frustrating. I was really looking forward to this race. I thought this was one that we’d have a legit shot at winning at and just come up a little short.”
How strong was the race car?
“We were good, but we weren’t good enough. This has been one of our best tracks. As good as we were in practice, we tried not to mess with it too much and we ended up too tight. I was just too bound up in the center of the corner. No excuses. We ran a good race, we worked hard — got my car way better at the end. Just wasn’t good enough.”
Was this a race that you should have won?
“We were certainly not the dominant car. If there was a race I was really looking forward to it was this one. Just getting hungry for a win.”
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx One Rate Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 7th
How was the race?
“We ran decent. We realistically really had about a 25th place car — we just kept crutching it with one adjustment to try to make it turn the center and of course with that I would just burn up my rear tires 30 laps into a run. Even though the car drove as bad as it did, we still were able to be at least somewhat competitive. We had a lot of damage from that early wreck. Proud of this whole team for fixing it. The pit crew did awesome on pit road — they kept picking me up spots. Seventh isn’t what we like here at Martinsville, but still it’s a step in the right direction.”
Were you surprised at how well you ran with the damage to the right front?
“I was — I took a pretty good shot to the wheel and the steering was off just a little bit, which here that’s usually a pretty big deal. We played some strategy there to get back up front then we just used our short run speed to race with those guys, but just didn’t have enough in the long run.”
How does this help the moral for you and the race team?
“It’s good. For the team, this is what we need is decent and solid runs. It’s going to be hard to beat those Chase guys. They’ve got the best bullet in their gun every time they hit the race track. We’re just trying to get our feet under us at this point. I feel like if we can run somewhere from third to seventh range each week then that’s going to set us up pretty good for next year.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Halloween Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 15th
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position: 16th
How frustrating was the race today?
“This place can be so frustrating. Chad (Johnston, crew chief) has been bringing me the best cars I have ever had at this place and we keep getting crashed. On the restart, I just got pushed into the car in front of me. They never let off to the point my hood was up. I was just along for the ride. I have to hand it to my NAPA Know How crew for making quick repairs to keep me on the lead lap. We made the best of it. It took us 100 laps but damn, we got back to 10th. Then we got into another accident so needless to say it was an emotional roller coaster for us today.”
TRAVIS KVAPIL, No. 93 Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing
Finishing Position: 24th
ELLIOTT SADLER, No. 55 RK Motors Car Collection Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position: 25th
How was the race?
“Our car would be good for the short run. I didn’t know the track was going to tighten up as much as it did. We just lost front grip. I’m proud of my guys. We made good adjustments and had great pit stops. I just wish we could have had a little more for them there at the end. We gave up a lot of spots the last 50 laps.”
BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Clorox Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing
Finishing Position: 32nd
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports
Finishing Position: 33rd
COLE WHITT, No. 30 Black Clover Toyota Camry, Swan Racing
Finishing Position: 35th
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 83 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing
Finishing Position: 37th