DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 6th
How was your race?
“It was a pretty good run with our FedEx Office team. We just got off there in the middle part of the race and fell back. We just strategically worked our way to the front. Got a little bit better as the race went on and really — cautions really hurt us there at the end. We were in that kind of lead pack battle and it put us on the bottom line — which really hurt us those last couple starts. Either way, it’s still what we needed to do. It’s a very solid run. We needed to keep this car in one piece. So, we’ll move on and go to Loudon (N.H.) where we know we got a chance to win."
How does this help your efforts to continue throughout the Chase?
“This is what you need to do early on. You’re going to have to run top-five pretty consistently towards the end of the Chase, but right now we’re doing what we need to do."
Did you have any concerns about the car during the race?
“The engine changed tones quite a bit and I was very, very gun shy from yesterday. Probably a little more spooked than what I normally would be. It held together. Overall, pretty happy with our performance. Just got to get a little bit better."
Did you make up positions in the pits or on the track?
“It was a mixture of both. Pit road — we did a really great job once again. Overall, we gained most of our spots I felt like on the race track. Our car got better. Darian (Grubb, crew chief) really made some good adjustments after half way to get our car back where it belongs. This is a good momentum-builder. We obviously gained a little speed from where I felt like we were off. We got to just keep working and get a little bit better yet."
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 7th
How was your race?
“The race started out really good. Our M&M’s Camry was fast early, especially on the green race track. The more the day went, the rubber got down and farther back we got in traffic and we kept getting hurt by each situation. We have to make better adjustments. I feel like we are kind of getting ourselves off base sometimes during the race, but we always seem to rally back, but the rally back is always too late. Good job by the guys and to end up seventh for a shoulda-coulda-woulda-been 16th is good."
Was taking four tires on the final pit stop the right call to gain track position?
“Obviously, yeah, a real good move for us. It’s hard to hold off and fight off in those situations. But, when you’re a guy on four tires through there like that, you feel like Superman. We probably should have taken four (tires) the restart before, but in all honesty I don’t know if we would have stayed out on the last one and finish where we did. Getting the four when we did was probably the best thing. Man, a crazy way to end these things. To know tires are actually worth something, people always want to put a hurting on Goodyear, but I think Goodyear did a nice job."
How were you able to salvage a top-10 finish?
“We were superfast early, superfast when the track was green and we were out front and we could run second or third and didn’t have a gaggle of cars around you. But anytime I got in aero situations, man it just kills me. I don’t know what I have to do to get there. Each restart, the farther back you get there, it hurts you. You don’t have room to get around these guys until you get tires and they don’t have tires. You have to have an advantage to make improvements anytime everyone is on the same game plan. You’re not seeing any passing or racing because everyone is the same speed."
What happened on the restart when there was contact with Kurt Busch?
“I got in the corner in bad air and just got in the corner real tight and finally it bit and went down and Kurt (Busch) was on my inside already plugging the hole but I didn’t even know there was room for a car down there. We just got together and luckily we all saved it and salvaged on."
MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 10th
How was your race?
“We just weren’t very good today. We were okay in the middle of the race, early middle. We were just fighting being loose and could make some progress in the long runs. We just got too tight and were slow on short runs and long runs, kind of. Just a struggle, we showed a lot of speed most of the weekend but just could never get it today where I wanted it to be."
Is a top-10 what you needed to start the Chase?
“I haven’t even thought about it. I’m just one race at a time. I was really disappointed in the way we ran today, just more of that on my mind and trying to figure that out and how we can be better at the next race next week."
How were you able to fight back after the spin?
“To come back the last time was a no brainer. We were on our way backwards as fast as we could go — we were almost last on the lead lap, so that was a no brainer to get tires. Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) made some good adjustments because we’ve been off on four tires really bad all day. I made four or five spots up right away, I just couldn’t keep it turning to get anymore spots."
Was the end of the race the best you were all day?
“I wouldn’t go that far. I felt like we had 30 laps better than everybody in front of you and I was mixing it better. The adjustments and the call was good, at least to get a few spots back and get where we finished out of it."
BRIAN VICKERS, No. 55 Aaron’s/Samsung Partner Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position: 24th
How was your race?
“Today was so disappointing for all of us. We were looking pretty good, up to 11th but then got a penalty and that killed us. We gambled to get back the lost laps but couldn’t get lucky. We had a better car than where we finished. We’ll go to New Hampshire next weekend and hopefully get the Aaron’s Dream Machine to victory lane again like we did last summer."