What drivers said at Talladega Superspeedway

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Here’s what drivers had to say following the NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway

Ross Chastain — Winner: “Holy cow. I’m always the one going to the top too early, making the mistake. There at the end it was like eight to go, I was like, I’m not going up there again. I did that a couple times today. I was like, I’ll just ride on the bottom. If it works, I’m not going to lose the race for us, I’ll just let them. … I have no idea. They kept going up, kept moving out of the way.”

Austin Dillon — Finished 2nd: “We came from eighth there on that last lap, just kind of rode the bottom and got people baited off the top. We had a good push there at the end. I think I was actually the one to push the 1 (Chastain) to the win. I gave him a good shove off of four and he kind of just drove away.”

Kyle Busch — Finished 3rd: “It was just hard to pass all day. Really there at the end, if two lanes were formed and they were pushing, there wasn’t really enough for a third lane to form to get any speed going. It was just kind of a stuck in line, if you will, in the first few lanes, but overall, the Interstate Batteries Camry performed to the best we could. We got up front there and we got shucked out of line. Every time we got up front, we got shucked out of line. That was frustrating. Thankfully we were able to salvage and get back some of those guys that were getting a little bit squirrely at the end and get ourselves a P3, so we will take it and go on.” 

Kyle Larson — Finished 4th: “I feel like I did a pretty near perfect job for me at a superspeedway until the last lap there. Yeah, I should have, like, I think just kind of faked going high, then went back low. I had that run. Ross helped me with that run. It kind of baited me into going to the outside. Just a little inexperience probably there. But really proud of my team. We did a great job executing all race long. The car was great. I felt like we could push people great. I felt like we could receive pushes well. Yeah, like I said, really proud of them.”

Martin Truex Jr. — Finished 5th: “It got a little hairy there at the end. Guys just made bonzai moves, coming from everywhere, but we were able to put our Bass Pro Shops Camry in a pretty good spot there. We ran up front all day. We are just outnumbered. We get outnumbered. You get up there and run with 10 Chevys and you are the lone Toyota, you can’t do anything. You are stuck. You just have to ride in line. It was a tough day from that standpoint, but overall, it was a good day. Top fives in both stages, I think, and the race. We have had a tough couple of weeks, so we needed that, but you always want to win.”

Erik Jones — Finished 6th: “I mean, just the last lap, right? It’s typical here. Been close here so many times, in this race and the fall race. U.S. Air Force Chevy had good speed, felt good to be up front. Coming there that last lap, we were single file. I felt pretty good about it. They kind of doubled up behind us. That top lane was getting some momentum. Looking back, I wish I would have stayed at the bottom and let the 1 push me. I didn’t realize they were coming with that much speed. But try to defend on the 5 (Larson), you’re too far ahead already right here. Obviously a defense on the 5 kind of gives the door to the 1. It is what it is. You’re trying to just win the race. You can only see how much is going on from the seat. You’re trying to make the best decision you can the last 1,500 feet.”

Michael McDowell — Finished 8th: “Unfortunately it wasn’t a great day for us but we salvaged a good finish out of it. We really struggled with just handling today which you wouldn’t think at Talladega. But at the same time, we got ourselves in position there at the end when it counted. I thought with three to go that something was going to happen so I repositioned myself and built a run and was able to weave through there on the last lap. It is just so hard to pass today. It was hard to make moves from sixth or seventh to the lead. In the front row, everybody was just kind of jammed up. It is just a different style of racing even more so here than it was at Daytona with this Next Gen car. I have a lot to study and go back and learn and figure out how to make the moves. I am proud of everyone. Coming out of here with a top 10 is a great day. I wish we could have had a shot at it but we just weren’t there at the end.”

Kevin Harvick — Finished 10th: “We had a good Ford Mustang. We just got a little behind on that last pit sequence and lost some track position. I just would kind of get up halfway and fall back, get up, and fell back. That was just kind of how the day went for us and we made it to the finish.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 11th: “You can’t pass anybody here anymore. It is hard to pass everywhere but it is the same thing at speedways now. You can’t really make a third lane. I don’t know what the problem is with it. I thought we had a decent shot at going but we got stuck when someone jammed it in there three-wide and shuffled us out toward the end and we just couldn’t get it back up there.”

Justin Haley — Finished 12th: “It was a good day in our No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Camaro ZL1. We stayed clean, we just didn’t execute at the end. I’m proud of everyone at Kaulig Racing for working hard and helping us to be able to stay up front and have an opportunity to contend for the win.”

Aric Almirola — Finished 13th:“We tried to play it safe in the first stage and stayed out of trouble for the most part all day. We did have a piece of debris shoot through the nose of our Smithfield/IHOP Ford early in the race and we had to pit to repair that. We had good balance all day for the most part. There at the end, we just didn’t get hooked up with the run we needed to push up to the front. We left Talladega in one piece, so there is something positive to take away from the day.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Finished 30th: “I thought it was fairly smooth, really. I didn’t even see what happened, so I’ve got really no clue what actually happened. You wouldn’t think on a restart that you would have any issues, but apparently someone didn’t push in the right spot I guess. Again, I haven’t seen it, so I don’t know. I thought it was pretty calm, really, the whole race. Just kind of two-by-two. We really couldn’t get the third lane going.”

Daniel Suarez — Finished 31st: “Our Camaro was fast. I was really happy with how the car was driving. I wasn’t good in traffic. I felt like we needed to make an adjustment or two. We made an adjustment and the car was much better by the end of the run. We just needed a little track position. I felt like we were being patient, just trying to wait for the right time to try and get aggressive and get in the right position. I don’t even know what happened. I just saw the No. 22 (Joey Logano) sideways, wrecking, in the top lane. Unfortunately, we were just in a bad position.”

Joey Logano — Finished 32nd:  “I felt a lot of things that didn’t feel good, I will tell you that much. The car got banged up pretty good there. We were getting pushed back and forth and I was the one that got shuffled to the right and hit the wall and came back in front of the field. That is superspeedway racing. … Yeah, it is going to happen again. It keeps happening every week and every time we come to a superspeedway and it is going to happen again here in a little bit. Hopefully everyone stays okay.”

Ty Dillon — Finished 33rd: “Yeah, that was tough. I felt like I shifted to fifth gear to get in high gear and then all of a sudden, I saw the 22 and there was no where I could go. Just a bystander. As soon as Stage 2 started, I could feel the energy just wasn’t the same and it had ramped up for whatever reason with way too many laps to go. Every year we come back; you have to finish the race to have a chance. So, we are bump drafting doing silly things with way too many laps to go. I’m bummed for our guys at Black Rifle Coffee and our guys at Petty GMS. We had a fast, fast Camaro and couldn’t keep it outside the top 15 and just kind of doing my thing that I’d been successful doing here at these speedways. Trying to be smart and stay out of trouble and manage the race. It’s a chess match and you’ve got to use your brain a little bit at these races to have a shot and some people don’t ever realize that every time we come back.”

Harrison Burton — Finished 34th: “Unfortunately we were just kind of a victim there. I tried to be smart all race and bailed out of a pack for like the first time in my superspeedway career but still found a way to crash. That is frustrating because I always want to try to learn to get better but I don’t know what I could have done differently there.”

Daniel Hemric — Finished 36th: “We were up there mixing it up, pushing and getting a little more aggressive. That had nothing to do with us getting crashed. We were simply riding in the bottom lane. We had been flirting on temperatures the whole run. I was able to poke my nose in and out enough to cool it down. It definitely got probably 10 to 15 degrees hotter than it had been all race. I tried to make a valid effort there to get it halfway lower on the back straightaway to get clean air to the motor. I had a tone change in the engine. We didn’t lose power, so I assumed it was just myself getting my car in clean air. As soon as that thought crossed my mind, then I lost a cylinder and the engine blew up. I ran out of time to get my hand out. To slow down at such a rapid pace, the No. 3 (Austin Dillon) got into me and I was just trying to catch it from there on. I hate it for everybody that got caught up in that. There were a couple of big hits it looked like; it felt like anyways. I’m disappointed, for sure. I’m super thankful for the opportunity with Kaulig Racing. Just not the way you want it to go.”

Chase Briscoe — Finished 37th: “Just towards the end of the stage and we were trying to get stage points because at the end of this deal you never know what can happen. That is not normally the mentality I would go with. I normally try to ride around and wait until the end. It seems like we always get so desperate towards the end of the stages. I felt like if I could get to the bottom I could get to eighth or ninth if I was lucky. Looking back that obviously wasn’t the right decision. The 16, I don’t know what happened to him. I know I got into the back of somebody and then the 16, I saw him on the apron and he kind of landed in my lap when I came back across the race track. It was a hard hit but I feel a lot better than I thought I was going to when I saw the hit coming. All good. Unfortunate to kind of have a huge hole points-wise now. I guess we go to Dover next week and see if we can have a better result.”

Chris Buescher — Finished 38th: “That is speedway racing I guess. We were running there at the tail end of that lead group and it felt like we had time to react. I saw a car hit the apron and I am not exactly sure what happened. The last I saw they were straight and I didn’t expect anything. I don’t really know what happened as we were going by. Someone got clipped and I think we hit the 14 really hard. I am glad to see him out here walking. I am not even sure who the other car was. That is a bummer to be out that early for something as goofy as that.”