Denny Hamlin took the lead with 134 laps to go and led the rest of the way to earn his third win of the season at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday night. Hamlin, who clinched his spot in the next round earlier in the night, will be joined by four other Team Toyota teammates – Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick, Martin Truex Jr. and Bubba Wallace in the Round of 12. Toyota now has more cars in the Round of 12 than any other manufacturer. It is the first time since 2016 that five Toyota drivers will be in the Round of 12.
Toyota Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)
Bristol Motor Speedway
Race 29 of 36 – 266.5 miles, 500 laps
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, DENNY HAMLIN
2nd, Kyle Larson*
3rd, CHRISTOPHER BELL
4th, Chris Buescher*
5th, TY GIBBS
14th, BUBBA WALLACE
15th, TYLER REDDICK
19th, MARTIN TRUEX JR.
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Direct Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 1st
What do you think about all of this?
“Everybody likes a winner right. I can’t thank this whole FedEx team enough. They really kicked ass this whole first round. Just amazing how good our team has been. So happy about the way we are running. I can’t wait to keep going.”
Is there something different with the 11 team this year?
“It’s our year. I just feel like we’ve got to put it all together. We’ve got the speed at every different type of race track. Nothing to stop us at this point.”
CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 20 Reser’s Fine Foods Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 3rd
When you lead that many laps and come home third, is it discouraging or does it give you confidence going into the next round?
“It definitely is a run to be proud of, but I’ll be honest, this was probably our best race we’ve had in a while and probably the most disappointed I’ve been in a while. Just got a little bit away from us there in the last half of the race. That is how it goes sometimes, but I’m really proud of the effort on this Reser’s Camry. It was a lot of fun leading laps, and this track is just the best.”
How would you evaluate your night?
“I just kind of lost the handle on it, the same time we lost the track position. The 11 (Denny Hamlin) was fast. Whenever he got up front, he just drove away. Disappointing to be good at the wrong time, but at least we got out here with a lot of points for this Rheem Camry.”
TY GIBBS, No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 5th
Led some laps tonight and ended up with a top-five. How was your race?
“We had a good Monster Energy Toyota Camry TRD. The pit crew did a great job all night. I feel like we had a chance for the win, but it is a top five. I just need more a bit more experience and to keep learning. But a solid night."
BUBBA WALLACE, No. 23 Columbia Sportswear Company Toyota Camry TRD, 23XI Racing
Finishing Position: 14th
You made it to the next round. Can you describe how you did it?
“It was a tough run. (hearing boos) I love that shit right there. They counted us out. Like Coco Gauff said, all they are doing is adding fuel to the fire. I love it. I love where I’m at with this team. Wish my mom, dad and sister were here to celebrate. I’m in a career year, just have to keep it going. I appreciate all of the partners involved. Columbia has done great when they are on this Toyota. I hate it for them last week. I’m mentally exhausted. We gave it our all there. We battled hard and executed and that is what we have to do. We know next week is a reset. We just have to go out and have some fun and work our asses off. Thank you to the ones that believe in me. On to next week.”
I don’t think you’ve ever been happier finishing 14th. Can you talk about what your feeling right now?
“Mentally exhausted. Physically exhausted. You have to give it your all in these Playoffs. I’m proud of the efforts, appreciate the crew. Just thankful for the opportunity – we just need to keep it going.”
How did tonight happen?
“Just surround yourself with the right people – Bootie (Barker, crew chief), all of my guys that work on this thing. We make the most of it. Survive and advance.”
TYLER REDDICK, No. 45 Jordan Brand Toyota Camry TRD, 23XI Racing
Finishing Position: 15th
Can you talk about your run tonight and moving on to the round of 12?
“We had a fast Jordan Brand/J. Balvin Toyota Camry TRD. It was a tough night. I thought we had an okay car, it just struggled in traffic and that is pretty much what we were in all night long. We could bust off a fast lap every now and then, but it didn’t seem like the repeatability was quite there. It was so easy to piss off the front tires tonight unfortunately. The car seemed okay at times. I think if we could have got some track position, and kept the tires a little cooler, we would have been okay, but it was just a tough night for us.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 19th
Can you describe your night – did you ever feel comfortable?
“Well that’s the thing, you never really knew what you needed to do. The 4 (Kevin Harvick) had a really terrible night. We started the race off, I felt okay about it. We got too tight, but track position – we were pretty okay there. Once we lost it, just forget about it – it was plowing tight, blowing the right front off. There wasn’t a whole lot that I could do. We kept adjusting on it. We got a lap down. The last run we finally made a little bit of progress on the car, and we were just so far back. All-in-all, it was just a fighting night. You had to fight through it and do the best you could. It wasn’t pretty, but it was enough. Now we reset and we go hopefully not have two terrible weeks in a row and be in good shape.”
How does it feel to make it?
“It feels really good. I don’t know that this round could have gone any worse. To have to come to Bristol and get through – we knew it was going to be tough. This has not been a very good place for us. We had a decent Bass Pro Toyota tonight. Just got behind on track position. Got a lap down, and then we were kind of stuck. We stuck with it, and just tried to go as hard as we could all night, and luckily it all played out. Definitely excited about the next round and the reset, hopefully we will keep from having so much bad luck.”