What drivers said after Atlanta race

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Kevin Harvick – Winner: “I’m just really, really happy with everything that we’ve done at Stewart-Haas Racing over the last five years and this is a great start to getting ourselves in the playoffs and doing everything that we need to do. We overcame a lot of things today. We got a late-race restart that we drove off and won the race with, so there are so many demons that seem to haunt us here for a long time, but the coolest part was being able to try to replicate that first win celebration.”

Brad Keselowski – Finished 2nd: “We were good, but we just weren’t as good as Kevin was.  We had a strong race car, but just couldn’t quite find that last little bit of speed we needed. There might have been a little bit of speed there, but, honestly, Kevin was better pretty much every run than we were, but we were sure trying to keep him honest.”  

 Clint Bowyer – Finished 3rd: “There aren’t many place left that can put on a show like that and be able to race all over the place, so I just appreciate this place. I appreciate Harvick’s speed. He was so fast. All of our Stewart-Haas cars were fast. That’s a credit to everybody’s hard work over the offseason and it paid dividends here tonight. It’s a lot of fun to be able to run like that so early in the season.”

Denny Hamlin – Finished 4th: “We were short of the 4 (Kevin Harvick) car, but we were probably one of the better cars on long runs. We wanted to optimize our time on the race track similar to what we did in Darlington last year and if a caution fell, great and if it didn’t, then we had a pretty good gap there back to third place before the caution fell and the guys that short-pitted, their tires were already starting to fall off and they were in the same second bracket that we were in.”

Martin Truex Jr. – Finished 5th: “We had some issues there that kind of sucked, but I guess we’ll have to work through it. We knew there would be some issues with that deal. Really just proud of them for all their hard work and getting ready for the season with these new rules. They really struggled in Daytona and I don’t think we had a pit stop faster than 19 seconds in Daytona the whole week and to come here and really have a good day except for those gun problems – really proud of them and proud of everybody. Proud of Cole (Pearn, crew chief) for fighting, we fought our butts off and did great all day. We fought track position, fought the car going away too much on long runs, but overall it was a decent day and something to work from.’’

Joey Logano  – Finished 6th: “I don’t think they need to repave it.  It’s still fun to go around this place and the strategy is actually pretty fun too. I don’t think they need to repave it. I just think we need to figure out how to be better than Kevin (Harvick), that’s all. It’s like the whole field versus one car at this point. He’s the best driver at this race track hands-down. They’ve got it figured out at Atlanta whatever it is. If I knew what it is, I would do it, but the fastest car won the race as it should.”

Kyle Busch – Finished 7th: “We were top five, top seven all day. It was pretty good. I never had anything for the leaders at all. And then I got snookered on strategy there for three spots. We just didn’t finish where we needed.”

Kurt Busch – Finished 8th: “I’m real happy with that run. I could really gas her up hard on green flag runs and the fresh tires after restarts. Harvick is a master at it and Keselowski is pretty good at it, but it just felt like our car would come unhooked on Lap 20 of a run and we were just trying to make sure we were on the right pit sequence and stayed with our car’s strength. Our car’s strength was short-run speed today.’’

Chase Elliott – Finished 10th: “Definitely not very good. We have a lot of work to do. I felt like we made the most of what we had tonight. … Fighting to stay on the lead lap is not where you want to be. We will go to work and great job by our NAPA team today to salvage what we could. I don’t know how much more we really could have got there, maybe a spot or two there at the end, but I felt like we did a pretty good job making the most of what we had.”

Austin Dillon – Finished 14th: “We didn’t have the best car today, but we did a good job on execution. We played around with pit strategy and then took the wave-around for the final restart. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the caution we were hoping for so that we could finish the race on fresh tires.”  

William Byron – Finished 18th: “We started the race so loose and I just had to work on dropping the trackbar quicker. I just didn’t do it quick enough. I’m not used to having that, so, we gained on it a lot. I felt like by probably the seventh or eighth pit stop we were at our best potential. And then from there we just kind of leveled off.”

Jamie McMurray – Finished 19th: “Our first run was way off. That got us a lap down from the very start and then every time the caution came out we would just get lapped again and it just wasn’t a very good day for us. I don’t think that our car was horrible, but the No. 4 (Kevin Harvick) was just so fast that he was getting guys a lap down pretty quick.”

David Ragan – Finished 19th: “We just missed it a little bit on our setups. We made some adjustments on it in practice that I thought helped, but with the track changing conditions and a green race track I felt like we got behind just a little bit. We made a couple of really good adjustments early in the race, but that was it. We couldn’t get our car any better.”

Ryan Newman – Finished 22nd: “I’m not sure yet what happened to our right-front tire. It’s unfortunate for this Liberty National Team. I think we led more laps in this race than we did all year. We started on the front row and took the lead on the first lap and by the end of the first stage we were loose, but our Camaro ZL1 was fast. I wasn’t pushing it. There was no need to. Our car was that good. We lost two laps the next run because of a tire issue and the damage we received from it. At that point, it was all about strategy and doing all we could to race back onto the lead lap with about 230 laps left.”

Chris Buescher – Finished 25th: “The team worked hard all weekend and did a good job. Got a little bit behind there on the green flag stop. It’s a team sport, so it’s all for one. You are going to have those days. I think we were a little better here than last year so we will keep working.”

Ty Dillon – Finished 26th: “Atlanta is a tough racetrack. You have to be on top of your game at all times to get a handle on it because of how worn out the surface is. Unfortunately, it got the better of us and our GEICO Camaro ZL1 today. I struggled with forward drive throughout the race. I worked my trackbar to try and get the drive I needed, but what I did to improve the drive would hurt other areas of my balance.”

Trevor Bayne – Finished 35th: “From the green flag pit stop on it never came back up to RPM and we were running all the diagnostics trying to figure out what was going on. It was a really odd feeling. It wasn’t like a normal engine blow up, so I had reduced power for about five or six laps and then when it let go it wasn’t like a big moment where it let go. I actually saw the smoke and smelled it before the engine changed, so that was about the most smoke I’ve ever dealt with on an engine blowing up, so I’ll be interested to hear what happened and see it, but that was a bad day goes worse. We just weren’t handling like we needed to to have speed and then you have an engine expire, so we’ve got a lot of work to do.”