Toyota Racing – Phoenix NCS Post-Race Report – 03.14.21

MARTIN TRUEX JR. DRIVES TO THE WIN IN PHOENIX
Truex drives to first Phoenix win

PHOENIX (March 14, 2021) – Martin Truex Jr. drove to his first victory of the season at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday afternoon. It is Truex’s first career victory at Phoenix Raceway and 28th win of Truex’s career. It is Toyota’s second win of the season and seventh at Phoenix Raceway.

Toyota Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)
Phoenix Raceway
Race 5 of 36 – 312 miles, 312 laps

TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, MARTIN TRUEX JR.
2nd, Joey Logano*
3rd, DENNY HAMLIN
4th, Brad Keselowski*
5th, Chase Elliott*
9th, CHRISTOPHER BELL
16th, BUBBA WALLACE
25th, KYLE BUSCH
38th, TIMMY HILL
*non-Toyota driver

TOYOTA QUOTES

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 1st

How much of a team effort was it to bounce back from brushing the wall early and keeping up with the track till the very end?

“Just an awesome job by everybody, James (Small, crew chief), Blake (Harris, car chief) and all the pit crew guys fixing it. I mean really solid. I thought at the beginning of the race we were gonna run 15th or so. Man, I can’t really believe it, I’m kind of speechless. This feels pretty amazing, you know? Phoenix has been a tough one for us and to come here and win this, I wish it was November, but hopefully we can come back here in November and have a shot at being in the Final Four. Man, just so thankful and so proud of everybody at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) and everybody who makes this possible.”

How about the fans? What do you have to say to them?

“It’s the most we’ve seen in a while and you know the more the merrier. We love having them, we miss seeing them in the infield and miss prerace, we miss qualifying, we miss practice just like everybody else. It’s great that we’re able to a good crowd here, Phoenix is always awesome. All of the campers out there and just a great crowd. Thanks to all of them. Obviously, I gotta thank Bass Pro Shops. Johnny Morris – this is a good day buddy; hope you caught some fish. Reser’s Fine Foods, Auto Owners, just all of our partners. Oakley, Sherwin Williams, Noble Aerospace, Textron Aviation, everybody who helps us and allows us to do what we love to do. I’ve got an awesome team, we had a tough year last year a little bit up-and-down, little bit rocky, but really proud of them. That was a hell of an effort today by everybody.”

How much did you have to work on this Toyota to get it to the front?

“A lot. About lap 67, I hit the fence off of turn two. Our car was super tight to start off the race. It wasn’t any good at all. I can’t believe I’m standing here right now. What an effort by my guys on the team. It’s just unreal. To hit the fence, to go to the back, to fix it, to make some huge adjustments and for us to be able to run as good as we did at the end there, I’m speechless. This has been a tough track for us. We struggled here in the fall. We came here with a whole new mindset, a whole new focus on trying to figure this place out and I’ll be dammed if we didn’t do it. Hopefully we can keep tuning on this thing and come back for the Final Four in November.”

How good does it feel to have the notebook you have after today?

“Just to have the speed that we had and to be good on the long run at the end, and to be able to take the lead on the restart against a couple guys who are good here each and every time. Look at the 22 (Joey Logano), the 2 (Brad Keselowski) and the 11 (Denny Hamlin), those guys are always good, and we’ve been searching. I’m really proud of James (Small, crew chief) and ‘Jazzy’ (Jeff Curtis, engineer) who came up with the setup here. Like I said, we will go home and figure out to be better, and tweak on it. This is just unbelievable. Unbelievable day for Bass Pro Shops, Toyota, TRD, this Camry was smoking fast. I just want to thank all of the men and women at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) that make it possible to let us drive these things. Man, all of our sponsors. It’s a dream come true to drive these cars and be out here in front of these awesome fans. Hopefully we can put together a good season and win some races. One win last year was disappointing for us. We were close a lot of times, but we want to win bunches and we want to go for another championship, so hopefully this will be good momentum for us right here.”

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 Offerpad Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 3rd

Is third a good day for you guys?

“Yeah, I think we are happy with that. Obviously, we want to win with our Offerpad Toyota but certainly the short tracks is something we want to put a lot of emphasis on this year. We just didn’t have the results on the short tracks that we wanted last year, but getting the first short track win here for JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) – 1, 3 is a good sign that we worked on the right things and we are headed in the right direction.”

CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 20 Rheem Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 9th

How was your top-10 run today?

“I was really happy with our Rheem Camry. It was pretty fast. Right off the bat, we were pretty good, we just had to tweak on the balance just a little bit to get it going. I felt like we were in really good shape had it stayed green. Our long run speed was pretty good. I felt like we were going to be looking at another top-five, but I made a lot of mistakes throughout the course of the race that cost us a better finish. I’m happy to keep the momentum rolling, get another top-10. Hopefully we can keep rolling, but definitely have to clean up the mistakes on my part.”

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