What drivers said after Bristol Cup race

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A look at drivers’ reaction following Saturday night’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Bristol Motor Speedway…

Kyle Larson (playoffs) – WINNER: “It was a good race from start to finish for us. Our car was really fast. Really loose for five laps, then it would get good, then loose again, then good again, then would be pretty good at the end of the run. The next-to-last run we had there, the long one, I was really good. Thought I was going to be good there again in the last run but I didn’t have the front turn that I needed. Just tried staying patient with everything, tried not to overheat my tires, abuse them, just give myself a shot. We were able to stay close enough to Kevin (Harvick). Chase (Elliott) was obviously upset with the contact, was just making things kind of tough on him. It kept me in the game. Able to make some moves on him there late. Yeah, fun race. Have always wanted to win here, so cool to finally do it.”

Kevin Harvick (playoffs) – Finished 2nd: “What else do you say? You throw a temper tantrum like you’re two years old because you got passed for the lead and got a flat tire. We barely even rubbed. It’s all Chase (Elliott)’s way or it’s no way and if he doesn’t get his way, then he throws a fit. He did the same thing earlier. He let the 24 (William Byron) go by in the middle of the stage and then just rode around until the 5 (Kyle Larson) caught me, and I was tight behind him, and we wound up getting passed by the 5, so I just hate it for our guys.”

William Byron (playoffs) – Finished 3rd: “Honestly, I don’t think I breathed for 100 laps. I was honestly just trying to go as hard as I could. I mean, I don’t know. I had the best seat in the house for the leaders getting together. I was just trying to make as much speed as I could. I felt like that was what our car had, and we were just trying to hold off the 12 (Ryan Blaney) and just drive it as hard as I could. It was a pretty awesome moment that we could pull through being 18 points out and come into this race and advance is pretty amazing.”

Ryan Blaney (playoffs) – Finished 4th: “I thought tonight we did a good job of just staying kind of in the hunt all night. I felt like we kind of ran top five most of the night. It wasn’t the best car. I’d take off really good, but I couldn’t keep the long run speed as good as other guys, like the 4 (Kevin Harvick) was crazy fast on the long run and we just didn’t quite have that speed, but I thought we were a little better that last run and were kind of able to keep pace with the leaders, but just not quite enough. I’m proud of the effort. It’s nice to move onto the next round, that’s for sure, and look forward to Vegas.”

Alex Bowman (playoffs) – Finished 5th: “It was an interesting night, for sure. We were pretty awful at the start of the race. Greg (Ives, crew chief) threw everything, including a laptop at it, I think. I heard there was a laptop casualty there during the race, it was so bad (laughs). I just started really out of the race track and it took a lot of adjusting on it to get it where we needed it; and it was obviously really fast there at the end. I’m just proud of everybody on this 48 team for not giving up. My mistake at Darlington kind of put us in this box; us and the 24 (William Byron). I’m really glad the 24 made it because if they wouldn’t have, that would have been on me, too.”

Brad Keselowski (playoffs) – Finished 6th: “That’s the most speed we’ve shown in quite some time and I’m super proud of that. It’s awesome. That’s the best we’ve been. I’m thrilled to death with that and trying to move on and advance and find more speed for next week.”

Martin Truex Jr. (playoffs) – Finished 7th: “Just a battle. We battled with our Bass Pro Shops Toyota all night long and had a decent night for Bristol. No problems, no wrecks, no drama. We got some stage points that first stage and then struggled a little bit with the car, but got a bit better in the end, but came home seventh. Not a great night, but for us at Bristol, it was uneventful and not a terrible night by any means.”

Erik Jones – Finished 8th: “Solid day for the Air Force Chevy. Glad we could get them a top 10 run there. We had some damage on the right side and the balance was just a bit tight to run further forward than we did. But proud of the effort and hope we can keep the good runs going.”

Denny Hamlin (playoffs) – Finished 9th: “Really disappointed about today. We were racing to to try to win and cut a tire there. We were fast, we were so fast. We got under Kyle (Larson) there on that run and cut a tire then didn’t have a caution there at the end to try to catch back up. Overall, I think we’re doing a great job. Our cars are fast every week.”

Joey Logano (playoffs) – Finished 11th: “It was just a struggle. We tried some things and didn’t really get anywhere with it. The car was just very disconnected, very free in, tight landing — tight two-thirds especially and never were able to fix it with the adjustments we got in the race. It just eventually wears the front tires off and back up lights come on. I thought we might finish in the top 10 and get that out of it, but fell off pretty hard the last 15.”

Tyler Reddick (Eliminated from playoffs) – Finished 12th: “Unfortunately, we certainly gave up more than two spots over the course of this first round. Darlington, getting stuck down a lap at Richmond. Not just one key opportunity, but there was a number that was the difference. One situation, the situation tonight, doesn’t really stick out as the one that makes it sting. It was just unfortunate getting to the playoffs, we don’t really have the pace that we had to just point our way into the playoffs leaderboard. Missed it by two. Have the races we did, it kind of all adds up. For us to miss it by two and run the way we did isn’t a surprise.”

Chase Briscoe – Finished 13th: “I’d say we had a good night overall. We were definitely working in the right direction in terms of adjustments and just doing what we needed to do to get the best finish we could. We had a really good Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford, but it would get a little tight later in the long runs, and that would hurt us a little. I’m just glad we were able to stay out of trouble and come out with a good finish.”

Austin Dillon – Finished 15th: “Good job by everyone tonight on this Richard Childress Racing team. We fell behind a little in the middle of the race, but (crew chief) Justin Alexander came through clutch with a strategy to get us back on the lead lap, and we were able to climb back into the top-15 in the final stage. We were just too tight to really make anything happen. Everyone on this Bass Pro Shops / TRACKER Off Road Chevrolet team hung in there through all of the twists and turns tonight.”

Aric Almirola (Eliminated from playoffs) – Finished 18th: “It was frustrating. I’m disappointed to have it end like that just because we had battled so much adversity throughout the night and got ourselves in position to where we were running top 10 and doing what we needed to do, and then that caution came out there at the end where we had 18 laps on our tires and we stayed out, and for whatever reason when we re-fired on those tires the car was up on top of the racetrack, skating, wouldn’t turn, I didn’t have any side bite and just struggling. I don’t know. That’s not the way we wanted it to end, but we’ll keep going and battle it out the rest of the playoffs and see if we can’t finish inside the top 10 in points.”

Kurt Busch (Eliminated from playoffs) – Finished 19th: “Really disappointing effort today. That was not a championship-type effort. We missed it big time. We had bad luck last week and we have no shot at a championship this year. We have to race for pride, dignity and honor for the next few weeks. The team is shutting down and we’re eliminated early. That’s not the way we wanted this to go. Maybe we can crawl our way back up to a fifth to tenth-range in points. But tonight was not a night to miss the setup.”

Kyle Busch (playoffs) – Finished 21st: “Just lack of speed really. We just weren’t very good at being able to make up time on the leaders there. Was only going to be about fifth quick. We fought hard there all day long and had a flat there at the end and got way behind. I guess we made it (into the Round of 12) so that’s all that matters.”

Chase Elliott (playoffs) – Finished 25th: “It’s something (Kevin Harvick) does all the time. He runs into your left side constantly at other tracks. Sometimes, it does cut down your left side. Other times, it doesn’t. He did it to me at Darlington a few weeks ago because he was tired of racing with me. Whether he did it on purpose, it doesn’t matter. At some point, you’ve got to draw the line. I don’t care who he is or how long he’s been doing it. I’m going to stand up for myself and my team and we’ll go on down the road.”

Cole Custer – Finished 28th: “Man, I never thought we’d have this much bad luck in a season, but here we are. I can say I do feel good about getting the car solid at the end of the race tonight, but that getting caught up in that wreck in the second stage just set us back too far. It’s on to the next one.”

Christopher Bell (playoffs) – Finished 29th:

Ryan Newman – Finished 38th: “I don’t know. I got turned into the fence. I’m not sure if it was my fault or if I got hooked or what, but it ended our day for our Kohler Generators Ford.”