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DATE News (chronologically)
07/05/13
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Busch wins pole at Daytona  Four cars powered by Toyota Racing Development engines suffered problems the last time NASCAR’s premier series competed at Daytona International Speedway. When the circuit races here again Saturday night, cars powered by TRD engines will occupy four of the first five starting positions.

Toyota drivers take that as a positive sign that TRD is continuing to get a handle on the issues that have loomed over the manufacturer’s entries on NASCAR’s top level. Toyotas dominated Friday’s qualifying session for the track’s annual July race, with Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth leading a stable that claimed four of the first five positions.

“That means one thing,” said Michael Waltrip Racing driver Clint Bowyer, who will start third. “TRD has brought the horsepower.”

TRD’s issues began at the 2.5-mile track in February, when Kenseth was knocked out of the Daytona 500 by a bottom-end failure, sidelining a car that had led 86 of 149 laps to that point. Three other TRD drivers were also hamstrung by value-train failures, including Busch and MWR’s Martin Truex Jr., who qualified fifth Friday.

In the wake of three failures over late-spring events at Charlotte at Pocono, TRD took the step of tuning its engines to emphasize reliability over horsepower. Although restrictor-plate engines are different from those employed at unrestricted tracks, Busch believes his first career pole at a restrictor-plate facility marks a positive step.

“Certainly, it’s a help. And it’s a positive reinforcement from where we were here in February,” Busch said. “… Here being a restrictor-plate engine race track, we had a few issues in (February). But the guys at TRD have done a nice job, and we didn’t see any of those issues at Talladega earlier this year. And it seems like they brought some more horsepower back for us here this week, and in qualifying it showed.”

Next weekend at New Hampshire, though, Busch expects TRD cars to have slight differences in horsepower depending on their season goals. As a top contender for the championship, Busch said his team will choose greater reliability.

“When we go to the open places next week or the week after, there are some cars that run full power, and there are still some cars that don’t run full-power, just given where you are in points and what you’re looking for in the year,” he added. “We’re one of those guys, we’ll keep dialing back a little bit until everyone’s fully confident that the issues are resolved.”

Kasey Kahne, who drives a Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, was the lone non-Toyota driver to crack the top five Friday. Waltrip, driving his team’s No. 55 car this weekend, qualified seventh, putting another vehicle powered by a TRD engine high in the starting field.

“A lot of the media’s been beating up on them pretty bad in the last couple of months. Them things have had some problems, but that’s because they’re pushing hard and pushing forward to make sure we’ve got great horsepower,” Bowyer said of TRD. “Certainly it looks like they’ve stepped up in a big way with this plate program.”

Of course, there’s also still the matter of 160 laps Saturday night.

“You’re never comfortable,” Bowyer added. “I understand what those things go through. If you could see the valve train in one of these engines at 9,000 RPM, I promise you, you would be running. You would be like, there’s no way in hell that’s going to last another two seconds, let alone 500 miles. It’s serious, all the pieces and the moving parts and pieces inside these engines and what they go through. It’s unbelievable that they do what they do for as long as they do.”

Results

Pos Driver Car Make Sponsor Speed Time Behind
1 Kyle Busch 18 Toyota Interstate Batteries 193.723 46.458 Leader
2 Matt Kenseth 20 Toyota The Home Depot / Husky 193.299 46.560 -0.102
3 Clint Bowyer 15 Toyota BlueDEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid 193.158 46.594 -0.136
4 Kasey Kahne 5 Chevrolet Hendrickcars.com 193.154 46.595 -0.137
5 Martin Truex Jr 56 Toyota NAPA Batteries 193.129 46.601 -0.143
6 Paul Menard 27 Chevrolet Rheem-Menards 193.075 46.614 -0.156
7 Michael Waltrip 55 Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 193.058 46.618 -0.160
8 Jimmie Johnson 48 Chevrolet Lowe's Dover White 193.009 46.630 -0.172
9 Ricky Stenhouse Jr 17 Ford Fifth Third Bank 192.984 46.636 -0.178
10 Greg Biffle 16 Ford 3M 192.947 46.645 -0.187
11 Danica Patrick 10 Chevrolet GoDaddy / .US 192.930 46.649 -0.191
12 Carl Edwards 99 Ford Subway 192.901 46.656 -0.198
13 Tony Stewart 14 Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Ducks Unlimited 192.876 46.662 -0.204
14 Juan Pablo Montoya 42 Chevrolet Target 192.864 46.665 -0.207
15 Brad Keselowski 2 Ford Miller Lite 192.802 46.680 -0.222
16 Dale Earnhardt Jr 88 Chevrolet National Guard 192.798 46.681 -0.223
17 Jeff Burton 31 Chevrolet Kwikset 192.724 46.699 -0.241
18 Joey Logano 22 Ford Shell-Pennzoil 192.715 46.701 -0.243
19 Casey Mears 13 Ford GEICO 192.715 46.701 -0.243
20 Trevor Bayne 21 Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center 192.583 46.733 -0.275
21 Ryan Newman 39 Chevrolet Outback Steak House 192.522 46.748 -0.290
22 Kurt Busch 78 Chevrolet Furniture Row / Sealy 192.489 46.756 -0.298
23 Jeff Gordon 24 Chevrolet Axalta Coating Systems 192.448 46.766 -0.308
24 Denny Hamlin 11 Toyota FedEx Ground 192.439 46.768 -0.310
25 Marcos Ambrose 9 Ford Stanley 192.197 46.827 -0.369
26 Kevin Harvick 29 Chevrolet Budweiser Folds of Honor 192.152 46.838 -0.380
27 Jamie McMurray 1 Chevrolet CESSNA 191.877 46.905 -0.447
28 David Gilliland 38 Ford Long John Silver's 191.755 46.935 -0.477
29 Dave Blaney 7 Chevrolet Florida Lottery 191.546 46.986 -0.528
30 Aric Almirola 43 Ford USAF 191.306 47.045 -0.587
31 Michael McDowell 98 Ford Phil Parsons Racing 190.795 47.171 -0.713
32 J.J. Yeley 36 Chevrolet Golden Corral 190.735 47.186 -0.728
33 AJ Allmendinger 51 Chevrolet Phoenix Construction Services Inc. 190.726 47.188 -0.730
34 Bobby Labonte 47 Toyota Scott Products 190.375 47.275 -0.817
35 David Stremme 30 Toyota Lean 1 190.202 47.318 -0.860
36 Scott Speed 95 Ford Leavine Family Racing 189.853 47.405 -0.947
37 Josh Wise 35 Ford MDS Transport 189.825 47.412 -0.954
38 David Ragan 34 Ford Peanut Patch Boiled Peanuts 189.797 47.419 -0.961
39 Terry Labonte 32 Ford C & J Energy 189.633 47.460 -1.002
40 Travis Kvapil 93 Toyota Burger King / Dr. Pepper 188.996 47.620 -1.162
41 David Reutimann 83 Toyota Burger King / Dr. Pepper 188.731 47.687 -1.229
42 Joe Nemechek 87 Toyota Royal Teak Collection 188.723 47.689 -1.231
43 Landon Cassill 33 Chevrolet Little Joe's Autos 188.127 47.840 -1.382

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