Thursday, Dec 08

Hamlin Battles Back for Top-10 Finish

Denny Hamlin (10th) led Toyota with a top-10 finish at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday evening. Hamlin is currently sixth on the Playoff grid – eight points above the cutoff. Christopher Bell suffered two blown tires in today’s race and finished 34th. He goes into Talladega in 11th – 29 points below the cutoff.

 

Toyota Post-Race Recap

NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)

Texas Motor Speedway

Race 29 of 36 – 500 miles, 334 laps

 

TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS


1st, Tyler Reddick*

2nd, Joey Logano*

3rd, Justin Haley*

4th, Ryan Blaney*

5th, Chase Briscoe*

10th, DENNY HAMLIN

20th, TY GIBBS

25th, BUBBA WALLACE

31st, MARTIN TRUEX JR.

34th, CHRISTOPHER BELL

36th, KYLE BUSCH

*non-Toyota driver 

TOYOTA QUOTES

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 10th

William Bryon said he wanted to show his displeasure but didn't want to spin you out. You wanted to see a penalty for that contact under caution. Were you surprised it didn't come out by NASCAR?

I think the crew chief (Chris Gabehart) was wanting something. I guess we can just wreck each other under caution. I tried to wreck him back. Yeah, I don't think we touched. I got to look. I don't think we touched. Obviously, he sent us into the infield under caution.”

You haven't had any prior incidents. What is that conversation going to be like?

I mean, you know, I keep hearing these guys. I'll just add it to the list of guys when I get a chance. They're going to get it.”

Is that later in the Playoffs or is this something that carries over to next year?

It all just works itself out. We'll be racing each other at some point. He'll lose a lot of spots because he's racing me. This is hard racing, obviously. I'm fine with hard racing. 

But wrecking me under caution is obviously not what we were bargaining for. So, thanks to my FedEx Toyota team for bouncing back. Obviously, it cost us all of our track position. I thought we were in a great position to win until we got sent back to 20-something there.”

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 31st

What happened?

“I blew a tire. Simple as that. I guess the same thing as everybody else has been having. Man, I’m ready for this year to be over. Strong Bass Pro Shops Camry. Really strong car. Went to the back and passed a lot of cars today. Spun out in the first stage and I was like okay, what was that all about. Good car couldn’t do too much with it. Just kept going to the back and as soon as we got track position the unthinkable happens. It’s a shame. It’s a crazy day for sure – a lot of blown tires.”

CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 20 Rheem-Smurfit Kappa Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 34th

Can you tell us what happened on the race track?

“Yeah, just the second right rear blown of the day – that was disappointing. I’m in a pretty bad spot now.”

How do you approach the next couple of races?

“I don’t know. Talladega – I guess we are going to go roll the dice. ROVAL, I think we will be alright. Road courses haven’t been our strength, but we have been good at a couple of them. I don’t know if we are going to be able to get out of this points hole, but we will give it our best.”

Do you feel like you can make magic happen at the ROVAL if you need too?

“I don’t feel great about it. I probably feel better about having something go our way at Talladega.”

Could you tell that you were going to have tire issues?

“No, I had no idea. To have two right rears go in the first half of the race is very strange. I don’t know. It’s a very disappointing day. We are probably going to be in a deep hole now.”

How do you feel about going to Talladega and the ROVAL?
“It makes our decision easy on how to play Talladega. We were hoping to come out of here good and be able to ride around and just survive Talladega. We are going to have to race and get some stage points and be up front all day.”

Do you feel like it is a must win situation now?

“No, but Talladega is going to be really tough.”

What kind of feedback was the car giving you to let you know it was a tire?

“I would get a slight vibration seconds right before the tire went. When it happened on the straightaway, I was able to get it slowed down before turn one, but the second one happened right in the middle of the turn. Very disappointing weekend. I was optimistic when they dropped the green flag. I had a pretty poor Saturday, but felt like we had a lot of speed in our Rheem Camry to make a day out of it, but unfortunately, tires didn’t work our way.”

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 36th

What happened?

“I was just getting closer to the 11 (Denny Hamlin) and I knew if I tracked him, followed him in the lower groove, I would lose ground, so I went to the high groove where I was making time in the spray and the sticky stuff, but it is not so sticky apparently. I crashed. I’m trying to go, trying to race. Banana peels out there for me. Too many conditions that you’ve got to be around or go around or figure out or be smarter about. I guess I wasn’t very smart.”

From your perspective, was that resin or just pushing the car too hard?

“I didn’t know as a race car driver you could push too hard, but certainly, it was a resin issue. I guess you would think being a hundred-and-something degree track temp it would be activated and ready to go, but I tried to get in it earlier than everybody else. I was behind the 11 (Denny Hamlin), catching the 11. If I tracked the 11 in the lower groove, I was going to lose time to him, so I just decided to go high and try to keep time or make time on him and it just snapped. Once these cars snap, they are gone. They are not like the old one where you have a little bit of time to react and catch it, but yeah, just trying hard trying to go and conditions are not ready. Banana peels out there it seems. When that stuff is not activated, it is just ice.”

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