What drivers said after Cup Series race at Atlanta

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Kevin Harvick – winner: “(My crew) had a great pit stop.  We got a restart on the bottom and they got my car to take off.  I was able to get track position and then once I could get through those first 10 laps and my car was freed up enough to where I could get in a rhythm and really start hitting my marks, and then by about lap 25 I could start driving away.”

(How cool is it to win on the your chief’s (Rodney Childers) birthday?) “That’s pretty cool. We struggled most of the day with our car and he definitely earned his birthday present today.  They did a great job adjusting on our Busch Light Ford.”

(On moving into 12th on the all-time wins list): “Sometimes I just laugh because you talk about that list and you talk about the names on it and everything that’s happening, and it’s just a situation that you almost just ‑‑ you shake your head and you’re like, ‘Man, I can’t believe this is happening.  It’s pretty crazy to think about that.  I tell people all the time I’m very lucky to drive cars for a living and call it my job, and to be able to have won so many races with a couple different teams and be able to contend.  Winning races is what it’s all about, and to be able to do that is something I’m really proud of.”

Kyle Busch – finished second: “Our Fudge Brownie M&M’s Camry was pretty decent. We had good speed, you just couldn’t really push too hard. Every time I pushed too hard, it would really hurt my tires in the long run. I think that was for everybody. That last run, I was trying to keep up with those front guys and as soon as I felt like I was pushing too hard and they were inching out on me, I just gave up and decided just to run and try to make sure I didn’t slip a tire and do the best I could without pushing anything too hard. Was able to get Martin (Truex Jr.) at least there at the end. Can’t say enough about all my guys – Adam Stevens (crew chief) and everybody, they’re doing a really good job. We’re working hard and trying to get it all better.”

Martin Truex Jr. – finished third: “The last two or three runs there, we just got too tight. Not sure what happened. The car was really good. The guys did a great job. Auto Owners Camry was fast all day. Got our first two stage wins of the year, which was huge. We just can’t seem to get over the hump at the finishes. With about 25 (laps) to go, I was clicking off some good lap times, but I knew I was pushing it too hard on the right front tire and with about 10 (laps) to go, it said, ‘Oh hell no more.’ Just ran out of tires at the end and lost second to Kyle (Busch). I figured at that point, I could see the 4 (Kevin Harvick) and was just going to give it all I had and see if there was any opportunity, but he was just too good. Just got too tight at the end. I don’t know why, but we’ll go back and look at it. Hell of a job by everybody and a good, solid day.”

Ryan Blaney – finished fourth: “We started off pretty far off, to be honest with you, and just really, really loose for the first three or four runs of the day and really wasn’t going anywhere.  We were kind of going backwards and then we finally started making some good headway there the second run of the second stage there and were able to close in and finish second in the second stage, which is good.  We had a good pit stop and got us out fourth and from there on out just tried to manage our tires.  I didn’t think I had anything for (Harvick) or (Truex) or (Kyle Busch).  They were pretty good, but I felt like a fourth or fifth-place car and that’s where we ended up, so I was really proud of the effort in making our car a lot better throughout the day.  That was really big gains that we did.”

Denny Hamlin – finished fifth: “It was okay. Our FedEx Camry got up there on a restart late in stage one. Thought we had a second or third-place car, somewhere in that range. Then we had a bad pit stop leading into the final stage and that took us back to ninth. Just kind of clawed our way back to fifth. We weren’t stellar, the last run of the day was kind of the worst run that we had. Still good enough for a top five. Pretty encouraged by that and it looked like all of our cars were running a little bit better. Hopefully this is a good sign for us.”

Kurt Busch – finished sixth: “My boys, (crew chief) Matt McCall and everybody at Ganassi, were pushing hard and apparently we didn’t pass tech like we were supposed to. So, we had to start in the back and do a drive-through (penalty). We were fifth or sixth after we came back out, but we were a lap down and had to race hard to be in the position for the lucky dog. The car was dialed in right from the start and we got our lap back early on. As the race went on, man, just loose – tight – loose – tight, and then ended up P6!”

Brad Keselowski – finished ninth: “It was an up-and-down day for us.  We kind of started off the race just a little bit too free.  We adjusted the car really well in the middle part of the race and then got too tight at the end.  We just kind of missed it a little bit.  I’m not sure exactly where I lost it, but the middle of the race I felt we were gonna win because we were so fast.  Driving through the field after I got a pit road speeding penalty, which is a real bummer.  I’m not real sure what happened there because I thought I was going slower than my lights, but apparently I wasn’t, so that kind of put us back.

“All in all, I don’t know if we could have beat (Harvick), but in the middle of the race I felt like we were right there with them.  It seemed like he was pretty good there at the end, so it just didn’t come together for us today.  Sometimes you run these races and you don’t have no practice and you say, ‘Oh, perfect.  Don’t change a thing.’  And then sometimes you run them and you don’t have practices and you say, ‘Man, if I’d have just had one practice I could have dialed it in a bit better.’  It just kind of felt the later of the two, but some lessons learned and we’ll apply them and move forward.”

Joey Logano – finished 10th: “Slick.  Atlanta.  Like normal, which is awesome and a lot of fun.  We started up front there and I was able to maintain some decent track position and then had a not-so-good restart on the top side, spinning our tires coming to the end of the first stage, which put us in a bad spot going down pit road.  We hit and crashed with a car exiting their pit box aggressively and I was already three-wide on the bottom and had to move up to not get hit on the inside and ended up getting some damage in the right-rear.  We tried to fix it and still felt like we kind of had a parachute, so we fixed it better and at that point we’re starting the final stage of the race and it’s really hard to pass.

“It was just a really good long-run car is where we were at, so those last 20 laps of the race we were hauling the mail, just a little too little too late to get back up there.  I know it feels like a long race, but I wouldn’t have minded another 100 miles to that one.  I felt like I had a really good car and something I could probably go up there and compete, especially on the long haul, maybe not the short run, but on the long haul that thing was special.  Just a little bit short.  We still got a top 10, but wish it was better.”

Austin Dillon – finished 11th: “Man, we were just one position shy of earning our third consecutive top-10 finish! I’m feeling good after the race. We’ve been putting a lot of work into our program. This No. 3 Symbicort (budesonide/formoterol fumarate dihydrate) Chevrolet team showed how much fight we have. We adjusted all day and tried our best to keep up with changing track conditions. It was frustrating because for a while it seemed like no matter what we did, we couldn’t go forward. We never gave up, though, because no matter what happens we focus forward. We pitted early during the final green-flag pit stop cycle, and that helped us gain some track position. It also meant that we had to manage tires for the last run of the race. We were able to fight our way to an 11th-place finish. I’m proud of everyone on this Richard Childress Racing team for their hard work and for hanging in there until the end.”

Alex Bowman – finished 12th: “We didn’t have the greatest day. Had some ups and downs. Started really loose and got the car better. I think the track tightened up a little bit after that. Got too tight there and got it freed back up there at the end. We tried some pit strategy which is always good to try, but at least we finished where we ran. Wish we could have been a little better, just not the greatest day for us. We just really struggled through the bumps today.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – finished 13th: “I thought we had a shot at a top 10 there – got some stage points. The NOS Energy Drink Camaro looked awesome on the race track and drove really good, especially at the start of the race. I felt like we lost the handle there towards the middle and just got behind. And then I ran the tires off of it at the end and gave up a couple spots. But, all-in-all, a solid effort. This JTG Daugherty Team is putting in a lot of work and it’s a lot of fun to drive this 47 car. I’m looking forward to just building on this and building on the speed that we have.”

“It was hot out there. I burned 3,150 calories to be exact. But we put in a lot of hard work at my gym. Trainer Ryan has been pushing me hard, especially during this quarantine, giving me workouts to do and been busting my butt. Rogue’s supplied me with great equipment to workout with every day. This heat – it’s hot. We’ve got a long summer ahead, but feeling good, strong and ready to go.”

Matt Kenseth – finished 15th: “A lot of challenges again today. We got some damage early, on pit road. We got some damage and lost our track position. We were trying to battle back from that. I felt like we were pretty close to being a top-10 car and got run into again near the very end, which knocked the front end out of alignment. Kind of a disappointing day, but the finish could be worse. I feel like there are some things that we improved on; we learned about our Credit One Bank Camaro, its fast, we’ve just got to put a whole race together.”

Tyler Reddick – finished 16th: “We had to grind it out today for every position we could get with our No. 8 Roland Chevrolet. We had speed during the first stage and were able to race up into the top 10, but as the stage came to an end, it felt like a tire was going down, so I slowed down to take care of the car and ended up getting shuffled back through the field. From there, it was just a challenging day. I couldn’t really run anywhere except for the bottom, and even that was tough. The car would swing from being too loose to being too tight and struggle over the bumps in Turns 3 and 4. It seemed like no matter what adjustment we made throughout the day, it just didn’t make a huge difference in the handling of our car. I know everyone on my team will study this race to try to learn what went wrong and improve for next time. We never gave up though and hung on to grab as many spots as we could, which is important as we try to fight our way into the Playoffs. I know my crew chief, Randall Burnett, has a good feel for Martinsville Speedway, so I’m looking forward to racing there on Wednesday for the first time in a long time.”

Aric Almirola – finished 17th: “We’ve got a lot of things to work on. Our Smithfield Ford Mustang was good for 25 laps before we lost position on pit road and a loose wheel put us a lap down. We couldn’t recover from that in dirty air. Atlanta is such a tough track to rebound at. If there’s one positive takeaway it’s that we remained top-12 in the point standings, so we’ll have a shot at a good starting position in Martinsville.”

Cole Custer – finished 19th:

Bubba Wallace – finished 21st: “Not the day we wanted for our Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 McDonald’s Chevrolet, that’s for sure. We thought we were OK – we had that loose wheel, but all-in-all, we couldn’t get a hold of our balance. We’ll go on and go to Martinsville Speedway.”

Clint Bowyer – finished 20th: “That stunk. We were fast today, but kept burning up tires. Just disappointed. We’ll go back at it Wednesday in Martinsville.”

John Hunter Nemechek – finished 23rd: “We had a challenging day in our No. 38 YANMAR America Ford Mustang. Wish we could have had a better result for our partners at YANMAR at their home track. It was a difficult day from the start. We fired off really loose and the car just kind of stepped out on me early on. Managed to avoid contact and damage, and we kept trying to tighten up the handling, but we just couldn’t find that sweet spot.”

Michael McDowell – finished 24th: “It wasn’t the day that we wanted for our No. 34 Fr8Auctions Ford Mustang. We battled hard all day to try and tighten up our loose race car, then unfortunately got spun late in Stage 2 and lost some track position. We had to take the wave-around a few times throughout the day to get back on the lead lap and just didn’t quite have the speed that we had hoped for.”

Matt DiBenedetto – finished 25th:

Corey LaJoie – finished 27th:

Ty Dillon – finished 29th: “Long day for our GEICO Camaro team.  We started the race fast, but over time, our car just didn’t have the grip that those fast guys did. Even though we didn’t get the finish we were looking for, (crew chief) Matt (Borland) and the guys never gave up all day.  During the last green flag stop, I made a mistake, sped on pit road and then had to do a pass-through penalty.  Just a tough day overall.  We will keep digging as a team and go to Martinsville on Wednesday and look to rebound in the GEICO Hump Day Chevy.”

William Byron – finished 33rd: