Post-Qualifying Notes & Quotes
Martinsville Speedway – October 25, 20131st, DENNY HAMLIN 32nd, TRAVIS KVAPIL
3rd, KYLE BUSCH 34th, BOBBY LABONTE
4th, MATT KENSETH 40th, JOE NEMECHEK
5th, CLINT BOWYER 35th, ELLIOTT SADLER
15th, MARTIN TRUEX JR. 43rd, DAVID REUTIMANN
30th, COLE WHITT
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx One Rate Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Starting Position: 1st
What does it mean to get the pole today?
“I’m proud of this whole FedEx One Rate Toyota team. We did some testing for our teammates for this race at another race track and it definitely seemed to help us. We’re just proud to have all of those JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) cars in the top-four. That’s pretty awesome.”
How are the cool temperatures impacting track conditions?
“I think the track doesn’t really take rubber until it gets to about 70 degrees outside, which I don’t think we’re going to get to that. Really towards the last part of the race the track will go through a change.”
How much does it mean to start on the pole here at Martinsville?
“We talked about most of it earlier, but like I said I knew we were going to be pretty strong. I knew we had a shot at the pole and beyond that I think our car was pretty good in race trim as well. So, usually anytime we qualify on the pole it usually bodes well for us on Sunday and hopefully this weekend is no different from that.”
Will you be in regular race mode on Sunday or will you still be trying experimental things?
“Yeah, I believe we’re on the same engine spec as what our teammates are on and the experimental setup is now in our teammates cars as well. I think if we all run good that’s a good sign, but we all could run bad too. I think we’ve all got the same stuff this weekend. We obviously put a lot of emphasis on this race in particular for our team, but beyond the job for us a couple weeks ago was to go work on a Martinsville setup and obviously all three cars being in the top-four is a good sign.”
Do you feel more optimistic about your chance to win on Sunday?
“For sure. Our car has shown speed and there’s nothing — if it’s a mechanical failure or something like that this week then it’s just going to be one of those freak things that could happen to any of my teammates.”
What does it mean to earn the pole?
“That’s the great part about it is you’re only as good as your last accomplishment and mine was at least 20 minutes ago so that’s good. Like I said, any one thing can spark our team. I said it a month or so ago, we could win at any time, we could do great things at any time but you’ve just got to have it all put together and it all is working out nicely for this weekend for us. It’s the only track that we’ve tested at — the only race that we’ve truly tested for that race all year long. We’ve got our particularly best car that we have in our 11 stable. Everything is lined up to be successful this weekend. We’re not on an ‘R&D’ motor. And, I’m pretty decent here. So, all of those things should make for a good weekend. Obviously, being able to have the number one pit stall is huge, being able to set the pace early will be big and hopefully if anything as fast as Jimmie (Johnson) was in the spring maybe at least make him use up his stuff a little bit more than he had to here a few months ago.”
Do you have to be aware of the guys around you racing for the championship?
“Yeah, I think that both my teammates and the guys around will know that I’m racing for a race win and that’s it. I’ll take more risks and obviously when racing for a win I will be a lot more aggressive with a non-teammate than I will with a teammate, so that part of it is a little bit different. But, that would be the only way that I don’t give 100 percent racing for a win is I will not put myself risking taking out a teammate for a race win. I wouldn’t take anyone out on purpose. Definitely would race harder with someone that’s not a teammate.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Halloween Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Starting Position: 3rd
How was your qualifying lap?
“I think Jimmie (Johnson) hit the nail on the head there, obviously qualifying was a little bit different, but we liked our car in practice. We felt pretty good about it and the M&M’s Camry unloaded strong and it seemed to be fast off the truck and made some good qualifying runs and showed some speed there as well. So, I’m real proud of the effort — I think it’s my best ever start (here) so whether it’s second or third, maybe there’s an asterisk that goes next to it, but it’s fun to qualify well here. It’s also so demanding. You’ve got to hit everything just right in order to qualify up front here and this is probably the best time I’ve ever hit it right and I was just a little bit short. Not too bad, more to do tomorrow and I’m looking forward to Sunday.”
Are you surprised that everyone who still has a chance at championship qualified toward the front?
“I think you see that year in and year out almost. I mean, it’s weird the way you see Martinsville shape up, but Martinsville typically shapes up with the championship contenders and how they come out of here. You go into two more mile-and-a- halfs and then Phoenix of course as well. This 10 race stretch that we go through here obviously you’re always running on top of each other every single week. It’s pretty close to where you have the Chase contenders running top-five and top-10 and finishing there. Martinsville — you look down the line of the garage area and you see that the 2 (Brad Keselowski), the 48 (Jimmie Johnson), the 20 (Matt Kenseth), the 18 (Kyle Busch), the 29 (Kevin Harvick) — you start seeing guys that run well at Martinsville. It’s kind of weird, but you just see it and you kind of see it as it progresses backwards. That’s sort of how the race typically plays out here with a few exceptions. That’s how I see it. No doubt, we’re going to be racing in close quarters all day Sunday and I’ve got the best shot at Jimmie’s left rear getting into (turn) 1.”
Are you having more fun competing in this Chase than you ever have before?
“Yeah, I would say that I’ve had more fun this year than in years past. It’s certainly a lot nicer to be competitive each week, to run upfront and to take away those points that you need to. But, it can be somewhat frustrating as well too when you are finishing either one spot ahead or just a couple spots behind those guys that you’re racing against. That’s certainly difficult and challenging like Jimmie (Johnson) said. It’s challenging to make up points in those sort of circumstances, so to make up points you definitely have to win and get those bonus points that are out there.”
MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Starting Position: 4th
How were your qualifying laps?
“The second lap was good, I just missed turn one the first lap. I must have got in there a little deep and kind of got on the splitter and skidded the left front and missed it. I needed to come back from that and the second lap I was probably a little careful just because I knew I blew the first one. I’m glad that we had that speed in the second lap. They did a great job with the car, I just didn’t do a good job of getting two clean laps.”
How challenging is racing at Martinsville?
“It’s such an unforgiving and technical track. You don’t have a lot of banking and it’s cold outside. If you miss the corner fast, you blow it and if you miss it slow you blow the exit. You have to roll in there just right and I did a poor job of that in the first lap. Recovered and got a decent second one. Hopefully, we will get it driving good tomorrow.”
How important is getting a good qualifying lap at Martinsville?
“Martinsville is one of those tracks that’s really hard to get a good lap qualifying. It’s very easy to over-drive the corner and sometimes easy to under-drive it as well. So, it’s kind of technical which isn’t good for somebody as clumsy as me. But, yeah, you want to get a good lap, you want to get a good pit selection and you want to be upfront as much as possible.”
CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Starting Position: 5th
What happened on the second qualifying lap?
“Man we were going for it and just got the wall. Fourth isn’t bad, but we really wanted our 5 -hour ENERGY Toyota to sit on the pole today. We will focus on practice now and get ready to race. We have a great Toyota and that should show Sunday in the race.”
Is it easy to over-drive your race car during your qualifying lap after having such a strong lap in practice?
“Oh absolutely. That’s what I told the guys in practice. The hardest thing is I know that I hit a perfect lap (in practice). If I would’ve drove it this much farther into the corner it would’ve come out from underneath me and if I would’ve picked the gas up this much sooner it would’ve came out from underneath me. Super proud of my guys on this 5-hour ENERGY Toyota. They did a great job of bringing me a fast race car. This is an interesting qualifying session. It’s probably one of the most nerve-wracking all year because the difference between good and bad is like that.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Starting Position: 15th
How was the qualifying lap?
“It was okay. Definitely not what we were looking for. The car was a little bit off from practice. Track conditions are quite a bit different and have thrown a lot of guys for a loop. Definitely caught us off guard a little bit. All in all I guess it was a decent lap. Not what we were looking for today.”
How much are the cool temperatures impacting the track?
“It’s quite a bit. I think if we could get one more lap then everybody would be as fast as they were in practice. Takes a while to get going here with the temperatures and getting heat in the tires. I was trying to get more out of my car than the tires would allow me to and I left a little bit out there because of that.”
COLE WHITT, No. 30 Swan Energy Toyota Camry, Swan Racing
Starting Position: 30th
TRAVIS KVAPIL, No. 93 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing
Starting Position: 32nd
BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Clorox Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing
Starting Position: 34th
ELLIOTT SADLER, No. 55 RK Motors Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Starting Position: 35th
How was qualifying?
“The car was great. I left some time out there. Going out first I kind of drove in too hard and locked up my front brakes. We’ll pass a lot of cars on Sunday. The car’s been fast all day. Just a mistake on my part.”
How was your Camry in practice?
“This RK Motors Collector Car Auctions Toyota was good in practice and the guys did a good job. I haven’t been here in a while so I had to get back to getting my rhythm down and getting the car turning good. It’s got good forward bite. I’ve got to thank everybody a lot at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) and Aaron’s and everybody for giving me this opportunity. Rob Kauffman (co-owner) and the guys. We want to go out here and make the most of it.”
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports
Starting Position: 40th
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 83 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, BK Racing
Starting Position: 43rd