What drivers said after Sonoma

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Here is what drivers said after Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race at Sonoma Raceway:

Kyle Larson — Winner: “It was not easy. Any road course isn’t easy, just trying to keep it on track is tough; especially when you’ve got two of the best behind you on the last restart, Chase (Elliott) and Martin (Truex, Jr.). I felt like I did a good job at the one before and stretched it out a little bit and didn’t want to give him another try at it, but he kept the pressure on. Martin was strong too, but what a car. This HendrickCars.com Chevy, thank you Mr. Hendrick. The is unbelievable. I thought I would be okay today, but I just didn’t know how I would race. I don’t think of us really do with no practice. But our car was really good there and I can’t say enough about it.”

Chase Elliott — Finished 2nd: “There were spots on the track where I thought I was a tick better (than Kyle Larson), and there were spots on the track he was better. Then there were spots I thought we were fairly even. Needed to have a tick more to get after it. Proud of our team. I thought we were solid. Just need a little bit.”

Martin Truex Jr. — Finished 3rd: “Our only hope was for it really to go green the rest of the race there in that third stage once we both pitted and we were one-two. He (Kyle Larson) drove by me and he was just super fast for 10 laps. Our only chance was if the race would have gone green from there and I still don’t even know. He was really fast for 15 laps then obviously once we started getting all those cautions, we were toast. Definitely not what we needed.”

Joey Logano — Finished 4th: “We’ll take it. We had the tire issue the first run and that got our strategy off. Paul did some different things and we were able to get some stage points in the second stage. We had nothing to beat (Kyle Larson), if I’m being honest, but our Autotrader Mustang was good enough to finish top three or four. We kind of did that one-stop strategy the last run there and got to where we were probably a third-place car if we had the same tires as the cars racing around us, but, overall, we’ll

Kyle Busch — Finished 5th: “So far we’ve fought different issues at every road course. …  I don’t know if the Hendrick cars run the same setup every week, but we keep making little tweaks and we keep chasing different demons. We’re right there, we’ve got good, fast cars. Toyota, JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing), everybody is doing a really good job. We just definitely don’t have the overall pace to (Kyle Larson) for sure.”

Kurt Busch — Finished 6th: “We had a smooth day. We figured out how to have a nice easy execution. I worked with Ross (Chastain), our teammate to get two top 10’s. It was almost a top-five type car, just needed better drive off the corners. To be in the mix and have the right strategy and have a smooth day, we’ll take it, and we’re going to build on it.”

Ross Chastain — Finished 7th: Whoa!, seventh on a dry road course! This No. 42 team is so good, they gave me a Clover Chevy that I can go out and race with the best Cup Series guys; it just seems wild. The pit sequences were crazy; the car is pretty clean. A good day for both the No. 1 and 42 teams. I got to race with the No.1 car a lot there at the end, and only touched a little bit, which is hard to do here. A good teammate day and good building day for CGR.”

Denny Hamlin — Finished 8th: “I got a lot of damage early on, but we never really had anything for the 5 (Kyle Larson). We ran down the 9 (Chase Elliott) after the first 10 laps but then we got off sequence and got in the mid-20s and got a bunch of damage. Our FedEx Toyota wasn’t just as fast after that. To get back into the top-10 with a car as torn up as that, I guess that’s an okay day.”

Alex Bowman — Finished 9th: “Solid top-10 day. Wish we would have been a little better. We were really fast to start, we just kind of struggled with track position and using the car up to get through the field. Onto the next one.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 10th: “We were never on the right tires with the right track position. We were kind of all over the place. I thought we were in a pretty good spot with 25-30 to go and we kept delaminating tires. We had a delaminated rear and I was in the dirt with no grip, and then we got sandwiched there and that’s kind of just what happens. That’s probably the ugliest top 10 car I’ve ever had, that’s for sure, but I’m proud of them for sticking with it. I just wish the strategy worked out a little bit better than what it did. We just couldn’t really catch a break at the right time, but, overall, ending up in 10th isn’t too bad.”

Daniel Suarez — Finished 12th: “It was an up-and-down day. I feel like we deserved a top 10 out of today. It was really hard there at the end, just pushing and banging. The car was good on the short run, but it was very bad on the long runs. We’ll have to keep working. We’ll try to make our cars a little bit better. I feel like today, we deserved a few spots better. I’m very proud of this team, we just have to keep getting better.”

Austin Dillon — Finished 13th: “We had a really fast Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE today at Sonoma Raceway, so it’s a shame that we had alternator issues during the race. In Stage 1, the voltage dropped but we were able to stay out and finish Stage 1 with stage points before pitting to change the battery. We ended up changing the battery a couple of times throughout the race, but this RCR team never gave up. Our Chevy was fast today, and it feels good to know that the effort we put into the off season preparing for these road courses is paying off because our performance is improving. We’re headed in the right direction.”

Bubba Wallace — Finished 14th: “It was a hard fought day. Shout out to Chris Cook (road course instructor). We came out here two weeks and ran a TA2 car and really just gained a ton of confidence with being on road course. I had a lot of fun. I was able to bring it over today. I just felt comfortable. We’ve still got some room to go. We’ve still got to figure out what we need in our Toyota Camry to make me a little bit better, but when they are telling me that I’m better than 10 cars on a road course, it’s a pretty damn good day. It was a good day for our DoorDash team. We will go on to Texas.”

Chase Briscoe — Finished 17th: “Getting time on track (Saturday) in the ARCA West race was good for learning the track, but there wasn’t much outside of that I could take away with the cars being so different. I just could never get the car to really do what I wanted it to do. We really struggled with forward drive, which, if we had been able to have practice, we could’ve worked on some of that. It’s just hard to make those adjustments during a race. Johnny (Klausmeier, crew chief) made the right calls to get track position, but the cautions didn’t fall like we were hoping. To come out top 20 and learn a lot throughout the race is really all we can ask for right now.”

Tyler Reddick — Finished 19th: “Even though it’s my home track, today was the first time I’ve even seen Sonoma Raceway so it was a big learning day for me. My No. 8 Childress Vineyards Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE had some really good speed in it, I just needed better rotation and front grip for both the left and right-handed turns. It took me a couple laps at the start to learn how to pass on this course, but once I got that figured out I was able to move up through the field better. Unfortunately, I had a tire rub after contact with the No. 48 car that caused us to pit for tires and burn one of our sets early. From that point on, we had to adjust our strategy to try to make it to the end of the race with the tires we had left. During the first batch late race cautions, we had to stay out and fight for every spot we could on older tires than the rest of the field. We eventually pitted to put on eight-lap scuffs since they were better than what we were on. I just made the most of it. It’s frustrating to be way better than where we finished, but sometimes that happens and we did what we could.”

Cole Custer — Finished 20th: “It was definitely a battle all day. We got our Autodesk/HaasTooling.com Ford better and better. For our first time in Sonoma, it was a little bit tough not having any practice. We worked on it all day and survived. And I think we got a decent finish, although it wasn’t the finish we wanted, especially in our first race of the year with Autodesk, which is based just down the way in San Francisco. So we’ll go back and figure out how to make it better.”

Michael McDowell — Finished 28th: “That was super unfortunate there at the end. We were running eighth coming to the white flag. We had a really good Love’s Travel Stops Mustang and got track position at the end. The last couple of restarts went well, but bumper cars didn’t work out there on the last lap and, unfortunately, it didn’t work out. We had another top 10 going, but didn’t finish it off. You’ll have that. They’ve gone our way a lot this year, so still proud of everybody with the effort. We were in position to do it again, but it just didn’t go our way.”

William Byron — Finished 35th: “I was trying to roll the outside of the No. 43 (Erik Jones) and the No. 4 (Kevin Harvick) was in front of me. I thought he was going to run the bottom and obviously somebody spun in front of him and caused a big pileup. At that point, you’re just a passenger. You’re obviously going to knock the radiator in and be done for the day. It stinks, but we were struggling all day to be honest. So, we have to go back and work on that. Definitely learned some lessons. Thanks to Axalta, Chevrolet and everyone. We’ll re-group. It was really the first bad weekend of the year, so we’ll re-group from it.”