What drivers said after Michigan race

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Drivers had plenty to say after Sunday’s race on how the race went for them and what they thought of the new aero package.

Joey Logano — Winner: “What a great race car. What a fun race, racing with Chase (Elliott) and Kyle Larson. It is fun to see the young guys up there racing. I am not alone up there as a young guy anymore. (On aero package) It was not good in traffic and not really good by myself either. The cars didn’t have much grip and there was a lot of sliding around. Catching the traffic at the right time and knowing which lanes work best for you and understanding the cars that you are racing. We had plenty of opportunity to see what others cars were good on restarts, and you kind of keep that mental notebook as you go.”

Chase Elliott — Finished 2nd: “I had another fantastic car.  My guys have been doing a really good job the past few weeks, and we’ve been just trying to give it all we can get to get one of these things. Had another fantastic opportunity today, and I feel like definitely messed that one up for my guys. You can’t do dumb stuff and expect to win. That’s just the way life is. (What was your mistake) Just putting it in the correct gear would be a good start.’’

KYLE LARSON — Finished 3rd: “It was a solid run for us.  We’ve been consistent as we’ve been in the last year and a half anyways, so it’s nice to be running up front and getting closer to a win I feel like.  Still got some work to do, but it is nice when we can get a package like this thrown at us just a few weeks before the race, and our guys at the shop and here at the racetrack can look at engineering data and come up with a good piece.  Thanks to them, and hopefully we can build on this and try and get a win in my home state (Sonoma, California is the next race in two weeks).’’

Brad Keselowski — Finished 4th: “I am not sure the new package was everything we wanted it to be, but it is a step in the right direction as far as putting the drivers in control of the racing but not in reducing the aero stuff we wanted. I guess we have to think about it a little. I think it is important to remember that these race cars have three dimensions to them. They have downforce, sideforce and drag, and this is only a downforce reduction. It is a big chunk, but I think we probably should think about the sideforce now a little bit because that hasn’t been tuned down at all. A lot of smart people will go back to the board and try to learn from today. I think it is an improvement but not the step we were looking for.”

Kevin Harvick — Finished 5th: “I got loose on the restart where we restarted third. We were able to overcome some missed-timed cautions again. It seems like the weekend of cautions; that’s what got us in our starting spot, anyway. But all-in-all, everybody kept their heads up and kept digging, and we got a good finish out of it.”

Carl Edwards — Finished 6th: “Man, I was hoping for a caution there at the end and we got it. Then I had a pretty ugly restart. It’s tough out there today and the restarts were really tough. Once the cars got strung out a little bit, we were a little bit free in spots, but overall the guys did a great job. (On the aero package) “This is a work in progress. I applaud NASCAR for taking downforce away and the speeds are still so high because the surface is good and the Goodyear tires are good and everybody is working hard on their cars. They just keep working in this direction and we’re going to keep having better and better races. Those restarts, as crazy as they were, they were actually kind of fun.”

Tony Stewart — Finished 7th: “I am tickled to death with these guys. That is the kind of weekend I’ve been looking for all year out of this group. Today is proof that we can do it. I would rather have this than win a race and run 15th to 20th the next week. From start to finish all weekend it’s been solid, and that is what we are looking for right now. (On aero package) “I love it. I absolutely love it. The package is good. The aero package is starting to catch up now. The whole equation to this to make it all where everybody wants it to be are tires and aero. Up to this point Goodyear has been way ahead of NASCAR. NASCAR is finally catching up. So, now we are getting the split between the two groups closed up. The good thing is Goodyear is primed and ready to do all the stuff they need to do. They have been waiting on NASCAR. It’s coming around. It may not be perfect yet, but it is more than definitely going in the right direction for sure.”

Austin Dillon — Finished 8th: “We are a little disappointed we thought we had enough speed to have a shot to win. Obviously, it wasn’t all there, but never really got track position we needed. I thought that first restart was good, and we got to running fifth there, but the caution came out when we had pitted and we did not get in front of Jimmie (Johnson) before the caution came out, so that hurt us. But, I’m proud of my guys they made some good adjustments to get us back in the game. I don’t know what people thought of the package, but it was pretty hard to pass because you were really free. I kind of had that feeling. Everybody has wanted to go that way, but there is only so far, and we are not all Superman out there, so downforce is king.”

Martin Truex Jr. — Finished 12th: “It just wasn’t our day, a tough one for sure. Leading and having a spin out like that with a lapped car definitely hurt our chances. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. Clint and I talked after the race and there were no hard feelings. Just one of those racing deals.”

Kasey Kahne — Finished 13th: “It was a tough day. It was tough to restart. I mean I restarted between 15th and 24th all day long. Everybody is aggressive and moving around. It’s pretty wild, pretty tough, but our car was decent at times. It was really good at times and then other times I couldn’t figure it out.  It was a tough race. (On aero package) “You just have a lot of driving to do. I don’t think my car was as good as some. When my car was good there were runs where it felt really good and I really enjoyed it. I thought you had to drive it and I thought you could still find speed and move around.  When my car wasn’t as good on entry I was struggling. That would have been the same as any other three or four packages we have had at Michigan in the last couple of years.”

Trevor Bayne – Finished 15th “That was a long day. The thing was sliding around like crazy. It was a tough race, and track position was huge. I had my hands full, that is for sure. We got a decent 15th-place finish out of it, but we didn’t run there all day, so we have some work to do for next time.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 17th: “I didn’t even get loose with someone to my outside. (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) just came across my nose super fast and it completely took all the traction off my car and I slid all the way to the fence. It was the damnedest thing. That’s never happened to me before.”

Danica Patrick — Finished 21st: “We had an OK day. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t awful either. We’ll take the off-weekend to recharge and dig deep to try and do better moving forward.”

Ty Dillon — Finished 24th: “The car had speed throughout most of the race and I was able to race inside the top 20. We gained a lot of positions on the restarts, which are important to capitalize on at tracks like Michigan. We probably could have been a little better on pit road with a few stops in the middle of the race and in the end, it probably would have helped to take fresh tires during the last caution, but hindsight is always 20-20. This biggest plus from today was we stayed out of trouble, kept the car clean and finished on the lead lap.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR. — Finished 29th: “We blew a tire there at the end. Our day wasn’t great. It went OK. We got good track position and stayed up there all day, it was just bad luck there at the end getting a flat because we didn’t get the finish that we deserved. I thought this was a better race package though. Everyone was running closer, which makes for better racing, so I think it was good.”

Denny Hamlin — Finished 33rd: “There was no smoke inside the car and usually if you’re going to have a cut tire there’s going to be smoke at some point. Everything looked all clear and for it to go that long before it cut – I don’t know if it’s that or we ran over something that cut. Had a top-three car all day, just restarts were awful and couldn’t get through (turn) one without losing eight spots on every restart. Just a tough day, but still proud of the effort and the speed that we had. (On the aero package) “I think it’s a good package. I think it definitely could be tweaked a little bit. I think that this thing is biased a little more off the rear than the front is so either take some more front off – that would be my guess is to take a little more front downforce away, but I think overall we’ve got something good here that is fun. Track position is a bear out there, every driver is going to talk about that, but it’s not because of the wake I think. There’s something with this left side tire that is very, very hard that makes it difficult and the tires aren’t slowing up as much as we’ve seen in the past so I think those two combinations is making it tough to pass.”

A.J. Allmendinger — Finished 38th: “I think (Dale Earnhardt) Junior got hit, and I was on the outside of him, and that was it. It was kind of weird back there. I’m not really sure what kind of car we had. I thought in clean air we weren’t too bad, but I guess a lot of people could say that. Just not a lot of fun racing there.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. — Finished 39th: “We were in the middle there and the No. 34 (Chris Buescher) ran into the left-rear quarter panel and knocked us in the fence. He must have just lost the nose of his car. I hate it, but you try to take care of each other out there. We all try to race hard and I wish he would have taken better care of us. We had good speed, we just needed to continue to work on getting our track position and we were doing that.

Kyle Busch — Finished 40th: “At least I had a 30-lap warning that it was coming. It had been shaking pretty bad and going south for a while and it had been building its own heat. It’s unfortunate, not just today, but man the last four races have been really, really bad. It’s a good thing we started off the season as good as we did with a lot of top-fives and we had three wins so it got us a good start and a good foundation, but we have to get this luck turned around and get going in the right direction and get ourselves back to where we feel we need to be.”