What drivers said after Talladega


A rundown of what drivers said following Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway:

Brad Keselowski – Finished 1st: “You get frustrated when you’re not winning. That’s my job, right? I feel like we had a car to win last weekend. Things didn’t come together. Felt like we had a car to win the Daytona 500. Didn’t come together. I start wondering is it ever going to come together. Then there’s years where you run third or fifth, race wins just fall in your lap. You go, Yeah, it’s easy, what’s so hard about this. This has been a tough year to start because I feel like we’ve had some really strong runs, things have fallen on us that were somewhat within our control, some not. I’m glad we keep putting ourselves in position. I do believe strongly that if you do that, good things will come.”

William Byron – Finished 2nd: “I feel like first when those things happen, you’re obviously trying to avoid the wreck, then that’s over. From me trying to avoid the wreck (Lap 119), I got hit from the inside, spun through the grass. Luckily the splitter stayed on the car. That’s pretty critical. Obviously that would ruin your day pretty quick. We were able to slide up the racetrack. Luckily nobody hit us. Good job to those guys. Put left side tires on, put right side tires on, get some of the damage fixed, get it reasonable to go out there. Yeah, our guys did an awesome job. It’s really just a product of being a good race team, heads-up stuff about tire changes and where the pace car is, all those little details that kept us on the lead lap and in the game. I never really count us out if we have a manageable race car. That was shown today. Just unfortunately at the end nobody would really help us. We just had to be the pusher and try to push our way towards the front.”

Michael McDowell – Finished 3rd: “We had that plan coming into this weekend, to make sure that we ran hard the whole race, try to get stage points, race hard, be up front all the time. I feel like we did well today. We scored points in all three stages. We had a shot at winning the race. That’s an awesome tribute to the team and everybody that has worked so hard to grow this Front Row Motorsports program, to having cars capable of running as well as we run at these superspeedway races. I do feel like today was a good follow-up from the Daytona 500. It would be better if we were sitting in Victory Lane right now. But we’re proud of the result. We’re proud of what we’re accomplishing as a race team. We’ll keep building on it, keep moving forward. That’s what it’s all about. We keep getting better and better every year. If we continue to put ourselves in these positions, we’ll win more races.”

Kevin Harvick – Finished 4th: “We definitely didn’t like to see the 22 flying around in the air right in front of us but our Dog Brew Ford Mustang was good all day. We raced all day. I kind of slid the left front there and got a speeding penalty at one point but we were able to stay on the lead lap. Everybody did a great job. The car is rolling two speedway races in a row and I think that is a first for us. We just need a little momentum. The cars have run good on the speedways. Hopefully next week we have everything together at Kansas and we can go have a good day.”

Matt DiBenedetto – Finished 5th: “Obviously, a disappointing end there. I shouldn’t say disappointing, it was a solid day, take a top five and had a stage win, so that’s great. The car was really fast. All the Fords were super good. That was awesome. Our car led great. Ryan really pushed. Our Penske teammates did an excellent job helping us get that stage win, so that was huge. Big credit to them and big for our points situation, so just tough ending. I jumped up in front of Ryan and he kind of got spit out and hung out and some people were grabbing his quarter panel and such.”

Kaz Grala – Finished 6th: “We had a really good Hyperice Chevrolet. Kaulig Racing did a great job. They won the NASCAR Xfinity Race yesterday, so big weekend for them all around. But I was just happy to get to pilot this thing. It is few and far between when I do, but I try to make an impression on my few starts and I feel like today was a good step in the right direction. Didn’t have the best luck in Daytona, but we rebounded here. I think that’s a great boost in momentum for us and hopefully it’ll be just another piece of the puzzle for me to get a full-time ride sometime down the road.”

Tyler Reddick – Finished 7th: “We had a really strong No. 8 Roland Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE today and were able to walk away with a finish that showed it. After being caught up in a wreck so early at Daytona this year, our strategy was different for this race with the goal of making it to the end. My whole team did a great job today with sticking with that strategy and racing smart with the big picture in mind to be there at the checkered flag. Almost all day long I could get the car to do whatever I wanted, which was great. The run right before the green-white-checkered felt like the car completely flipped its switch and didn’t drive anything like it did for the majority of the race, so we’ll have to figure out what changed there. Luckily, we were still able to make it through the chaos of the last lap and come away with a solid seventh-place finish. Overall, a good day for our team.”

Austin Dillon – Finished 8th: “That was a crazy race today in the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops / TRACKER Off Road Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE at Talladega Superspeedway. We were really good to start the race, and then for portions of the race we couldn’t make anything work unless I was on the top. We made some moves at the end of the race to get that eighth-place finish. Everyone was all over the place and that was some work. We hit someone on the outside quarter panel, but I’m not even sure who it was. We were all wrecking on the backstretch, but somehow it didn’t happen. I don’t know how we all came out of that. It was crazy. I’m proud of everyone at RCR and ECR for working so hard to get us that awesome finish. We’ll go back to Welcome and look over our Chevy to get it even better for Daytona.”

Ryan Blaney – Finished 9th: “Overall, not a bad day. Decent stage points. I really would have liked to not see a caution at the end of that thing with Matt, me and Brad all lined up there and a bunch of Fords. It would have been nice to see where we all wound up, but the top on green-white-checkers I never think is any good because the bottom always wins out on that because the bottom lane they can’t go anywhere. They can’t move up, and then guys that are in the second lane they just bail to the top because guys in the back are trying to get all the spots you can, so that just kind of makes the top fall apart. It just kind of fell apart on us and then couldn’t get any help from behind, but, overall, nice to still be rolling at the end of that thing and not a bad finish, not a bad day.”

Cole Custer – Finished 10th: “That was the solid race we needed. I think if a thing or two would’ve gone our way on that last restart, we would’ve ended up with an even better finish. But our HaasTooling.com Ford guys did a good job getting us a fast Mustang for this race. We started out a little too free, then we were on the tighter side, and then we got the car about as comfortable as I’ve ever driven on a superspeedway. We’ll take this one and hopefully build some momentum for this next stretch of races. Now, we just have to keep clicking off those top-10s.”

Chase Briscoe – Finished 11th: “Hate that we couldn’t get a top 10 out of it, but honestly, 11th is a great finish. You never know how it’s going to go at Talladega, and I was hoping this could be a race for us to turn things around and get a good finish. Momentum is always a good thing. This is the confidence builder we need heading into the next few races.”

Anthony Alfredo – Finished 12th: “We kept the nose of our SpeedyCash.com Ford Mustang clean all day and we were there at the end when it matters most. Sometimes, it’s challenging to force yourself to ride in the back like that. You really want to get up there and get up to the front, lead some laps, maybe, and be in the mix. But at the same time, in order to win the race, you have to make it to the end. So, we played it safe and conservative, and had a shot at it in the end.”

Aric Almirola – Finished 15th: “We had a fast Smithfield Ford today before a puncture in the nose at the end slowed us down some. Early in the race I had a terrible vibration that felt like it was coming from the driveshaft. I think it was damage on the splitter, so when we’d go to a high speed the vibration picked up. It was good to be there at the end, but we didn’t get the hole we needed to drive back up to the front at the end. On to Kansas to try to pick the momentum back up.”

Ross Chastain – Finished 16th: “A very hard hit at the end of the race. Proud of the effort from everyone though. We tore up two cars at Daytona, so we had to bring a new car here; a big increase in speed, handling, and drivability. I had more of a race car to go race with. That’s what this team and season is all about. I can’t thank everyone enough honestly for building a safe race car, that was a very hard hit. But we led some laps, race around guys all day, worked well with Kurt (Busch); my teammate as laps down and pushed me to the lead! Good effort by Team Chevy. It was awesome to have Caregility and Yorktel on the car, they were here in the suite. An unfortunate ending which is how this place normally is but proud of the effort today.”

Harrison Burton – Finished 20th: “It was a lot of learning. It was pretty fun, just a different level of competition when you’re against these guys. It makes you better when you go back to Xfinity, hopefully, and it makes me a better driver. Just happy I had the chance to come out here and do it. I very rarely get emotional or that excited before races because I’m so focused, but this weekend was pretty neat. I’m thankful for the opportunity to do it. It was pretty awesome, and can’t wait to do it again someday. Talladega is so tough in general, just a lot going on at once. Learning a new team, spotter and crew chief with all of that going on, too, is a big challenge, but it was the same (as racing in the Xfinity Series) but different, if that makes any sense at all. It was definitely different. The level of intensity was different, but the main fundamentals are basically the same.”

Erik Jones – Finished 27th: “It was a solid day for our No. 43 United States Air Force Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. It felt good to get up front and lead some laps at the Talladega Superspeedway. Unfortunately, we got turned-around coming to the finish line, and did not get the finish our Richard Petty Motorsports team was capable of. We will regroup, and go on to the Kansas Speedway.”

Kurt Busch – Finished 35th: “Just a really difficult day. We started out pretty good with the Monster Energy Chevy, just trying to stay clean. The guys made some nice adjustments to get the car handling. We ended up having an issue and had to replace the oil cooler. We just can’t seem to catch the breaks that we need. We just need to dig-in and keep working, the results will follow.”

Alex Bowman – Finished 38th: “Obviously, this is not the way we wanted to end our day. Things like this just happen at places like Talladega. We had a good Ally Chevrolet today and Greg (Ives) had some really good adjustment calls on pit road. Just not our day today. This team is really looking forward to going to Kansas next week. That is a really good track for us and hopefully we can rebound in a week.”

Joey Logano – Finished 39th: “I guess I don’t know exactly what to think. It is a product of this racing. On one hand, I am so proud to drive a Cup car that is safe, and that I can go through a crash like that and get out and speak about it. On one hand, I am mad about being in the crash and on the other, I am happy to be alive. On another hand, I am wondering when we are going to stop because this is dangerous doing what we are doing. I got a roll bar in my head. That is not okay. I am one hit away from the same situation Ryan Newman just went through. I just don’t feel like that is acceptable. A lot of it is the big spoiler and the big runs and all the pushing. It is nobody’s fault. Denny (Hamlin) is trying to go and the 47 is trying to go. It is a product of this racing. We have to fix it though. Someone already got hurt and we are still doing it, so that’s not real smart. At the same time, I am appreciative of driving a car that is this safe and what Team Penske has done for the safety of these cars so that I can live to talk about it and go again. I got lucky that I didn’t get hit while I was in the air. It is unfortunate for our Autotrader Mustang but we will go on but it won’t be a good starting spot next week.”