What drivers said after Coca-Cola 600

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Here is what drivers said after Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway:

Kyle Larson — Winner: “It feels good. It was not easy. I felt like I had to fight off William (Byron) and Chase (Elliott) a lot. It kind of worked out there in that last run. The No. 43 (Erik Jones) had to pit and pulled out in front of me, and I just towed with him for a while and stretched my lead out. We had a good car there in that last run. Awesome! It feels great to be the guy to help Mr. Hendrick break that record, finally. This is awesome. We haven’t seen this many fans in forever. … And thanks to my No. 5 team tonight, too. They were great tonight. My pit crew did awesome. We had awesome pit stops, especially on the green flag stops, too. That really allowed us to get the win tonight.”

Chase Elliott — Finished 2nd: “We absolutely got beat tonight, no question. They did a better job, as I said before. The only thing you can do is just look for more opportunities, be excited for another chance, and fortunately we have that next week, next Sunday, and the Sunday after that. We’ll just try to get a little better and me do a better job, us communicate better as a team, execute better, and try to have a better result. …  I think we’re all just trying to maximize the opportunities. This is a sport that comes in waves. It’s a roller coaster. There’s going to be good times, there’s going to be bad times. I hope we’re always this good and always this competitive, but I think the law of averages would tell you that that’s not going to last forever, so I think we all want to try to take advantage of the opportunities that we have right now as a company and continue to challenge ourselves to be better because our competitors are getting better, they’re pushing harder. We need to make sure we’re not just happy with where we are, we’ve got to get better, too. We’ve got to push, because May isn’t — that’s not when we hand out the big trophy. We need to make sure we’re on our game when it counts.”

Kyle Busch — Finished 3rd: “We’ve had some strong runs and we’ve had some runs that were better than the finishes that we got out of them as well. Overall, we had a really good piece – strong from start to finish there. We just kept trying to make some little tweaks to it, and make it a little bit better. I don’t know what happened on that final pit stop. We got out in front of those guys, but they had the momentum to get by me, I guess, and I was just too loose and too sloppy on the front side with some speed, but once we got rolling there, we got a lot better and we able to run them back down, but we just couldn’t get back by them. Great night.”

William Byron — Finished 4th: “It was hard racing. I was trying to get second there and cost myself third. With this package, you just have to get the side draft at the perfect spot. I feel like we just missed where that was. We just didn’t have quite enough. Congrats to the No. 5 (Kyle Larson, race winner) guys. They were lights out. We’ll go to work and try to get that.”

Alex Bowman — Finished 5th: “Hats off to Greg (Ives, crew chief) and the Ally 48 team on making really good adjustments to get us where we needed to be and get us in the top-five. So cool for Hendrick Motorsports to be the all-time wins leader now. Our Ally Camaro was a handful all night, but glad to get a top five out of it.”

Austin Dillon — Finished 6th: “I am so proud of everyone on the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops / TRACKER Off Road team. We had some adversity today, but this RCR team rallied to get over everything and put together something at the end to be proud of. The Coca-Cola 600 is a long, grueling night and a lot of it is just about who can have a clean race. We didn’t have the cleanest of races, but we rebounded well. We earned stage points in every stage tonight, and did a great job of keeping up with adjustments as the track changed. Even when we fell back in the running order we kept our cool, didn’t give up, and were able to drive back into the top-10. Everyone did a great job. If we keep bringing cars like this to the track, we will win races.”

Chris Buescher — Finished 8th: “That was a heck of an effort by our team and Roush Fenway to get our Fifth Third Bank Ford Mustang from a 27th-place starting spot to eighth. We knew why we were there when it happened, but to have that drive forward and get up to the top 10 and ride around there all night, and be able to make up spots on long runs, I’m proud of that.  It’s a good night. It’s a long race. We executed really well on pit road. Everybody did a really nice job, so I’m proud of that.”

Tyler Reddick — Finished 9th: “The No. 8 Alsco Uniforms Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE was stout tonight and had a lot of speed all race long. I fired off the night a little tight but with an air pressure adjustment on our first stop, it loosened right up and stayed loose for most of the day. Our car transitioned really well from night to day, and a large part of that was thanks to my team making the correct adjustments to keep up with the changing track conditions. I started to get a little too free during the last half of Stage 3, but the team was able to walk back our adjustments enough to get me in a good spot balance-wise for the remainder of the night. We had a really good points night and earned valuable stage points in every stage tonight, which will be a huge help to keeping us moving up in the standings. We ran in the top 10 almost the entire night, which is a big feat during the Coca-Cola 600.”

Brad Keselowski — Finished 11th: “That was a blue collar night for sure. (Crew chief Jeremy Bullins) and the guys on the Keystone Light team got us the best we were all night there at the end and we almost got a top 10.” 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Finished 12th: “That was a solid night for us in the No. 47 Kroger/Cottonelle Chevrolet. Starting on the front row was really great for us and everyone at JTG Daugherty Racing and from there we just struggled being really loose on the long run then building tight in traffic as the sun went down and we got into the second half of the race. We got trapped by a lap car at the end when I think we were definitely catching cars for position at the end, but 12th is still really strong for us and a step back in the right direction after a few rough weeks. I’m looking forward to keeping up the momentum next week at Sonoma.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 13th:  “Had the loose wheel early in the race and we were able to take the waive around, got back on the lead lap and then the pit road speeding penalty hurt us. We had a better car than our result tonight, but we’ll keep fighting.” 

Daniel Suarez — Finished 15th: “Our car was good. We were missing a couple adjustments at the beginning, but we were able to get it better there at the end. We just never got the caution that we needed.”

ERIK JONES — Finished 16th: “We had to come back in at the end, but we were able to fix the vibration. The No. 43 Petty’s Garage Camaro ZL1 1LE was pretty decent all day. We had our best speed at the end, we just got behind there with the extra pit stop. Solid day – it was a better 1.5-mile track for us than we have the last few, so hopefully it’s a step in the right direction.”

Joey Logano — Finished 17th: “We struggled a bit tonight to find the right balance. We fought both sides of it, loose, tight and then we had the unscheduled pit stop for the vibration. We had about a 10th place Shell-Pennzoil Mustang tonight, it just didn’t work out that way.”  

Cole Custer — Finished 21st: “This race is such a long one, and I wish we could’ve gotten a better finish for Feeding America and Wow Wow Classic Waffles in their first outing with us. We struggled with the balance of the car all day, but it started getting better throughout the race. Once the leaders start passing you, it’s hard to make up for the lost time. We’ll look ahead to Sonoma.”

Aric Almirola — Finished 22nd: “We battled all day to improve the handling and speed of our Smithfield Ford Mustang. We got caught a lap down early and just couldn’t recover. When we had clean air we were one of the fastest cars, but I just couldn’t find any grip in traffic. We raced our tails off to try to find something, and our pit crew had a great day. Moving on to Sonoma.”

Chase Briscoe — Finished 23rd: “We had a really tight-handling HighPoint.com Mustang tonight. It seemed like no matter what we did, we couldn’t make any gains with the adjustments. These races are tough, but I’m definitely looking forward to getting to Sonoma and doing some more road-course racing.”

Ryan Newman — Finished 27th:“It’s unfortunate (the cut tire that sent him into the wall shortly before the end off stage 3) because I felt like we were just figuring out the handling on our car. It took us a few laps to figure out the handling early on and we just needed some track position, and once we got that in stage 2 I felt good about where we stood. Unfortunately, you can’t control when a tire will go down and ours put us behind the 8-ball and we just didn’t have enough laps to recover.”

Ross Chastain — Finished 37th: “Just really disappointing to have issues so early in the longest race of the year. Unfortunately, it just turned into a long test session for us. Thankful to have AdventHealth on the car this weekend, and sorry we couldn’t have a better result for all of the guests that they had join us today.”

Kurt Busch — Finished 38th: “Not much more to say other than we are just on an extremely tough streak of bad luck. The car lost power steering and I saw the oil pressure drop, not much warning of any issues. We thought we made repairs to carry on, but apparently the damage was done and forced us out of the race early.”