What drivers said after Texas

0 Comments

A look at what drivers said following Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway…

Kyle Larson (playoffs) – WINNER: “It’s awesome. I mean, we had a good points lead or whatever from the cutoff going into it, but still, you know, Harvick had his issues last year and didn’t make the (Championship 4). That will always be on my mind. We had a fast, fast car today, and we had a good couple stages, so even if I didn’t come out with the lead or the win or whatever, I wanted to play it smart and take what I could get. I got good shots from behind me every restart and allowed me to get clear into 1 every time and then do some blocking for a few laps. Fine on all those restarts and we had a great race car to allow me to be aggressive with the blocks, and fast, too, to stay out in front of William (Byron).

William Byron – Finished 2nd: “(Larson) just (had) control of the lanes. It’s all about the push. And I think here at Texas, the shortest lane kind of wins because of the way the track kind of separates into Turn 1. Our Axalta Chevy was fast all day. We just never quite got control. I think he (Kyle Larson) was definitely better than us in that first Stage. And then I was right there with him the rest of the time and it was just clean air, basically. But congrats to those guys. Kyle really deserves it. They’ve been awesome all year and flawless on pit road; and pit calls and everything. Our team is right there and I think we’re building something really good for years to come.”

Christopher Bell – Finished 3rd: “(Crew chief) Adam (Stevens) did a great job making the right calls – putting tires on at the end really helped us. We kept gaining on this Rheem Camry every pit stop. I felt like we were pretty strong at the beginning of the race and then we kind of lost the handle in the middle stages and fell back and lost some track position, so fortunate to come home third for sure. I’m really happy for this 20 group. I think we have some strong races coming up.”

Brad Keselowski (playoffs) – Finished 4th

Kevin Harvick – Finished 5th: “We were really loose to start the race and the team made some good adjustments on the car. When they all crashed on the backstretch we were able to start around 16th and just work our way up from there. Overall, it was a good day. The team worked hard to put everything together and get us there at the end.”

Ryan Blaney (playoffs) – Finished 6th:

Chase Elliott (playoffs) – Finished 7th

Kyle Busch (playoffs) – Finished 8th: “(Getting above the cutline is) about the only thing we got out of today. We were just off. I don’t know how we missed it, why we missed it, or what but just taking off on fire off, there’s just no grip whatsoever. We would just chatter the front tires, so we missed it today. We missed it big time. I don’t know what is going on, but that wasn’t the way to perform on the opening day today. Thanks to Interstate Batteries. I appreciate all of their people that were with us today. I just feel bad that we didn’t do a better job. We have to go back to work. Next week is Kansas – same kind of thing.”

Tyler Reddick – Finished 9th: “Man, we came so close today. We definitely gave it all we had and put everything on the line to try and find Victory Lane at Texas Motor Speedway. This Clark Pipeline Services Chevrolet team came so close. We had speed right from the start of the race, and Randall Burnett and the guys did a good job of keeping up with adjustments throughout the race. We cut a right-rear tire at one point so I’m glad we were able to recover from that. After the midway point of the race, our Chevy would get tight in the resin, and loose out of the resin, so it was interesting managing that today. At the end, we just didn’t get a good enough chance to make a run at the No. 5 car. Another car got into us on the second-to-last restart and that’s what caused us to fall back. I’m just glad we didn’t have to pit for a tire rub and could hang on to finish ninth. It was a little disappointing after running in the top-five and battling for the lead for most of Stage 3, but I know that this team is capable and we will get to Victory Lane soon.”

Daniel Suarez – Finished 10th: “I feel so bad for (Martin Truex Jr.). I feel like I ruined the race for him, but he just can’t be doing that. I’m racing as well here. I have a lot of respect for the guys in the Playoffs. But one thing is respect, another is taking advantage of the situation. He wasn’t even close to being clear and I don’t know why he did that. We’re in the last 10 to 12 laps of the race; I’ve got tires and he doesn’t have tires. I don’t know, I think he’s just got to be a little smarter.”

Denny Hamlin (playoffs) – Finished 11th: “I think we went a different direction with our car and we weren’t just as fast as we were in previous mile-and-a-half races. I thought we were kind of a third-to-fourth place car on the long run, seventh-to-eighth on the short run. Just weren’t ourselves today in that case and then obviously getting in two wrecks at the end didn’t help, but the fact that there was a lot of attrition and the fact that the team did a phenomenal job fixing the car got us back up to P-11.”

Erik Jones – Finished 12th: “Up and down day for the Medallion Bank Chevy. Finally got back on the lead lap at the end and got a top fifteen. Proud of the effort to stay in it all day as a team. Hope to take what we learned to Kansas and improve on it.”

Austin Dillon – Finished 14th: “I love Texas Motor Speedway, and our entire Bass Pro Shops / TRACKER Off Road Chevrolet team came here this weekend with the goal of backing up our performance from 2020 and finding Victory Lane. Things just didn’t fall that way. We ran in the top-10 early in Stage 1, but we were too tight to stay up there. Even though we threw the kitchen sink at our No. 3 Chevy during pit stops, our Chevy never got dialed in to my liking. The day became even harder with a couple of cut right-rear tires, and untimely cautions that caused us to fall off the lead lap. Our team never gave up, though, and we were able to fight our way back from two laps down. By the last restart, we were too loose. It definitely made things interesting. We worked hard to finish 14th. I’m proud of everyone on this Richard Childress Racing team for sticking with it today.”

Chase Briscoe – Finished 15th: “The finish didn’t show it, but the guys did a great job making our Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford better all day long. I really appreciate the effort, especially after last week. It got a little crazy at the end, there, which makes you wonder what might have been if we could’ve avoided at least some of that. But it is what it is.”

Aric Almirola – Finished 18th: “We just couldn’t recover from the damage we got early in the race. Our No. 10 Smithfield/Walk-On’s Ford was just too tight, and I couldn’t get it to turn with the damage. Man, that was a long day. The guys on pit road worked hard to keep us going. We’ve run so well at Texas in the past, so it’s a bummer we didn’t get to truly see what speed we brought. But it is what it is, and we’ll move on to Kansas.”

Cole Custer – Finished 19th: “Not the day we wanted at Texas. That wreck in the first stage really hurt a strong run for the No. 41 Feeding America/Wow Wow Classic Waffles Ford Mustang. I’m proud of our team for never giving up, though. They fixed up our car, and then we used those cautions at the end to get back into the top-20. We’ll move onto Kansas.”

Martin Truex Jr. (playoffs) – Finished 25th: “I’m not sure. I’ll have to see it. I was definitely running tight trying to get all we could and maybe I squeezed him (Daniel Suarez), maybe he came up, I’m not sure. I don’t even know if we touched. I got loose and when I gathered it up (shown replay). Yeah, we touched for sure. It’s really fast right there and yeah, hit the splitter and went straight to the fence. Tough spot to have contact like that. I don’t know. It is what it is.”

Joey Logano (playoffs) – Finished 30th: “I thought it was starting to maybe give up a little bit of power in that run. We were just getting passed. Not really though. It just kind of let go. It is one of those days when nothing went right. The strategy didn’t go the way we wanted it to early in the race. Cautions didn’t fall the way we hoped they would and every time we started fighting our way back something happened and we ended up like this. Now we know what we have to do these next two weeks. We better go find a way to win.”