What drivers said after Richmond playoff race

what drivers said
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Brad Keselowski – winner: “It was a great race for us and the 2 team. This is, I think my car from Loudon, and I wanted to do a really cool burnout with it, but I want this car for Phoenix. It’s 2-for-2 and I’m real pumped. I don’t want to look too far ahead. We’ve got to get there. The next round is gonna be really difficult, but, still, I’m really pumped about this performance and the way we run at short tracks. I felt like coming in here with the Western Star/Alliance Ford Mustang that we would run well, but this thing was awesome.”

(WHAT KIND OF STATEMENT IS THIS FOR PHOENIX?)  “We’ve got to get there. The last two years I haven’t made it all the way, so we’ve got to get all the way there, but if we can get to Phoenix, we’re gonna be really good.”

Martin Truex Jr. – finished second: “Really was pretty surprised that we ran as good as we did with the way that the car felt. It really wasn’t doing anything that I wanted it to do or that we’ve done here in the past when we’ve been good. Just a battle all night, fought hard and the guys did a great job with adjustments, pit stops and all that to just execute and keep us up front. Good, solid night.”

Joey Logano – finished third: “It was a pretty calm race and we just kind of hung around in the top three the whole time. I felt like our car was pretty good in the beginning of the race. The track kind of tightened up a little bit and we lost a little bit of speed to (Martin Truex Jr.) and (Austin Dillon) a little bit and also, obviously, (Keselowski)  Congrats to those guys.  They were fast today. It just seemed like if we fixed the turn I got loose off, so it seemed like pick your poison a little bit.  It just seemed like we had third to fourth-place speed in our car and we finished third with the Shell/Pennzoil Mustang. We’re doing what we have to do.

We scored stage points and a top five and puts us in a pretty good spot for next weekend. I’m proud of the effort and proud of what we’ve picked up here lately since the playoffs started. We just have to keep it rolling. If we keep getting top fives we’ll get all the way to Phoenix. We just have to keep doing that.”

Austin Dillon – finished fourth: “I feel like I gave one away tonight. Our Dow NORKOOL Chevrolet was so fast. We had a massive day for stage points, which is going to help us out big picture-wise. We had a speeding penalty in Stage 1, and to come from the back to the front in that stage just shows how fast our Chevy was tonight. This No. 3 team is on fire right now and showing up when it matters. I have a line at Richmond, and it has been working for me. I run a little lower on the straightaway, and it gives me good forward drive. I saw some other drivers start picking it up and laying the rubber down on that line. It might have hurt us a little bit at the end of the race, but the biggest thing is when we came to pit road for our second green-flag stop in Stage 3, we were trying to bring everybody down.

“The No. 1 car was in my mirror on tires. I overdrove that entry just a little bit thinking that I needed to avoid getting rear-ended, and then it was like ‘Oh no, I’m going to hit the red box’ so I had to make another lap around the track. That cost us three seconds. It probably killed our deal, but it was still early, so who knows. It was a lot of fun out here tonight, and I think we had the best car tonight.”

Chase Elliott – finished fifth: “First off, we were way better than we’ve been here, probably ever, so I thought that was a big improvement for us. We really needed it here. This has been a really, really tough track for us. I thought we got our NAPA Auto Parts Camaro good, especially through the middle portion. Just got a little behind, I think, as the race went on to roll the center as good as we needed to late in a run. But, we were way, way better than we’ve ever been here I feel like before. And consistently all night, too. I thought that was a pretty big step for us at a track that we’ve really struggled at.”

Kyle Busch – finished sixth: “Kind of same as last night (in the Xfinity race). Just not quite enough turn in the middle of the corner to keep wrapping on the long runs. The short runs it seemed like I was actually a little bit loose and then it was starting to go a little bit tight and then it was tight loose. Just not enough overall grip I guess. Kind of been fighting that a little bit this year. The guys gave a great fight. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) not being here and I thought Jacob (Canter, fill-in crew chief) did a great job. We all know Adam was back at home. … Overall, that’s all we had. We fought hard with our M&M’s Camry and we came up short of a top-five.”

Aric Almirola – finished eighth: “The Smithfield Ford was a handful all night. Everyone kept in it and kept working on it. We got a top-10 finish and it was a good point day. That’s the big thing. Now we need to go to Bristol next weekend, run well and get ourselves into the next round.”

Alex Bowman – finished ninth: “How about that? We ended up top 10 at Richmond. That is like a miracle. We had a really good car and definitely better than a ninth-place car. I made my fair share of mistakes and we had some issues getting on and off pit road. We lost some time there. I am pumped for Truck Hero and CHEVYGOODS.com. It is really weird to be this pumped about running ninth, especially when we had a much better car than ninth. Last time we were here we ran, I think, 24th. This is good momentum for us going into the cutoff race next week in Bristol.”

Clint Bowyer – finished 10th: “We were just off a click. Honestly, I thought we’d come to Richmond and run better than that. We needed to run better than that. Tenth place isn’t gonna cut it when you get in the playoffs. We’re looking for more than that on these short tracks in particular. We’ve still got one more. It’s a lot of fun going to Bristol. Being nervous about something there’s a sense of fun in that. I’m looking forward to next weekend and seeing how it all shakes out. We were good last time there and there’s no reason why we can’t be it again.

Tyler Reddick – finished 11th: “I think Richmond Raceway is one the most challenging tracks on the circuit, but my No. 8 Cat Rental Store team did a great job tonight helping me find my rhythm and build a strong run out there with our Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. Not having any practice here for my first Cup start, it took me a little bit of time in the first stage to figure out the best way to get around here with the balance I had in our car. My whole team did a good job of analyzing the SMT data available to us in real-time and relaying to my spotter, Derek Kneeland, on what I needed to be doing differently on track to gain spots out there. That data really did help and made a ton of difference in our night. Between that feedback and the changes we made during our pit stops tonight, I was able to become more confident in the car and run harder with each run of the night.”

Denny Hamlin  – finished 12th: “It just seemed like once the track rubbered up, we just weren’t any good. We couldn’t get off the corner good, couldn’t get in the corner. Just nothing was really very good with it. I want to thank everyone from FedEx Cares for putting this car on the race track. This definitely means a lot to people I spoke to last week with the National Urban League, so thank you everyone. We will move on to the next round and go have some fun next week and see how we do.”

Kurt Busch – finished 13th: “Our pit strategy just didn’t turn out the way that we had hoped. We really had to work hard early in the race to manage the tires and an ill-handling car. The guys did a nice job working on the balance, to make the Monster Energy Chevy better on the long runs. With no cautions to help us out we just weren’t able to catch a break that we needed. Who ever thought we would a short track with no unplanned cautions?”

Cole Custer – finished 14th: “It’s just classic Richmond, I guess. You just try and fight and fight all night for that perfect kind of balance and it’s just really hard to find. This track, it’s like you’re on ice out there pretty much, so putting a perfect car together is really hard. We had times where we were pretty good with our HaasTooling.com Mustang and there were times where we were a little off, and it just kind of led to an okay day. I think we’re still eight points out, so it’s not too bad and we can go to Bristol and if we have a good day, we can lock ourselves in, but it’s just gonna be a fight all the way to the end.”

Matt DiBenedetto – finished 17th: “If there is one track to be in a must-win situation that I would choose it would definitely be Bristol. I think we have a good shot at it. It is one that I am excited about and have circled off in this round. I think obviously tonight was a tough one on us. It is tough with no practice. We had to really make a lot of changes on the car on the pit stops. We got it where it needed to be but it took a little while because of no practice. We got it driving decent and then there were just no cautions to get us back on the lead lap and get us in contention to have a decent day which we would have if we got the car right. So, we will go to Bristol and do the best we can.”

Ryan Blaney – finished 19th: “We have to win next weekend. It is pretty plain and simple. With the bad couple of races we have had here to start the playoffs off, we probably need to go out there and win Bristol. That is our mindset. That is our goal. It is our goal every week to win the race but now it is our season on the line. We will see if we can get it done. We have been pretty close at Bristol before, it is just a matter of trying to put a whole race together there.”

William Byron – finished 21st: “It is what it is – we ran horrible tonight and no excuse for that. It was really kind of a slow death the entire race, so we’ll go to Bristol and regroup for that one.”

Michael McDowell – finished 25th: “Well that was a long night at Richmond. We fired off pretty good on the first run and I felt like we were going to have something, but I’m not exactly sure what happened on the second run; we just got really loose and lost a lot of track position for a while before finally getting it back. Without a lot of cautions, there weren’t many opportunities to get bunched back up. It wasn’t the run that we wanted for our No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops / Speedco Ford Mustang, but we stayed close to the guys that we’re racing with in the points and we’ll keep fighting; head to Bristol and try to get a better run in there. Everybody did a good job and worked really hard, we just didn’t quite have it tonight.”

Daniel Suarez – finished 29th: “We need to keep working hard to find speed. Our T-TEN Toyota was loose on entry and exit and tight in the center the first part of the race. We worked to make it better, where it was pretty good on new tires in the first part of the run and really good on old tires the last part of the run. We just struggled during the middle part of those long runs. Like I said, we just need to keep working hard to find more speed. Let’s go to Bristol, where we had one of our best finishes of the season, and try to do even better.”

John Hunter Nemechek – finished 30th: “It was a tough night for our No. 38 team. We had an issue with the steering wheel from the start, and just couldn’t really catch that much of a break throughout the race. We were free for the most part, and just struggled on power. But the great thing about this Front Row Motorsports team is that we never give up. My guys still do everything they can to set us up for a good finish. We have some notes to add to our short track notebook, so we’ll hit the reset button at the shop this week and move on to Bristol.”

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