What drivers said at Darlington


Here is what drivers had to say after Sunday’s Cup race at Darlington Raceway:

Joey Logano — Winner: “Just an incredible race there at the end with William (Byron). I don’t know if he meant to get into me and fence me, but he did and at that point I felt like it was game on and was able to get back to him there the last few laps, pushing really hard, and just knew that was my shot to win the thing and I had to take it. Man, I’m so proud of this team. It’s so cool to win in this car. This is my first quarter midget. This is the beginning and to see it in Victory Lane, I’m just so proud. My family is here. My mom, my dad. Happy Mother’s Day. My sister is here. Everybody is here. My wife is not here, unfortunately, and my kids, but this is a very special day to be able to get this one in Victory Lane and celebrate with a few of us here.”

Tyler Reddick — Finished 2nd: “William (Byron) did a really good job on the restart to get by Joey (Logano). There was a little bit of contact there, so I don’t know if that’s why Joey got back to William. It also kind of looked like Joey was going under and William kind of faded down. I was hoping they were going to blow their momentum a little bit more than they did, but it didn’t turn out that way. All-in-all, it was a good rebound for our No. 8 3CHI Chevrolet team. We pitted for a vibration pretty early in the race that could have derailed our whole day, but we were able to bounce back from it.”

Justin Haley — Finished 3rd: “This isn’t the best car we’ve brought to the racetrack unloading after practice. But we just kept after it all day. Some great strategy from this No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevy team. We had a good restart there at the end and we just kind of hung on. We didn’t have a (third)-place car, but it’s a great finish. This was my best Cup finish besides that win. To do it here at Darlington (Raceway), to get a (third), it’s pretty special. It was a good run. We’ll take this to next week and see what we can do at Kansas (Speedway).”

Kevin Harvick — Finished 4th: “I felt like we finished probably better than we should have, but I think the guys did a good job on pit road with our Rheem Ford Mustang and just kind of one side or the other. The last run was probably the best that we were, just being able to hold on. We just couldn’t hold on once it started getting cooler, but we wound up with a good call there and got the caution and wound up in the right spot and then were able to capitalize on it.”

Chase Elliott — Finished 5th: “We just kind of survived, really. It wasn’t anything spectacular by any means. I thought we had our No. 9 NAPA Chevy in a pretty good spot there on a couple occasions. It was just kind of a matter of how you restarted; whether you had a fortunate set of circumstances that your lane went forward and you were able to get a couple of spots here and a couple spots there. And then you ride around pretty much the rest of the time, unless it gets messed up and then you might be able to pass somebody in the last five laps or so in a run. And then you hope your pit stops are really fast and then hope you do a good job on the next restart.”

Christopher Bell — Finished 6th: “This SiriusXM Camry was excellent as these No. 20 cars are every time we go to the race track. Last week at Dover, it felt like we had a car capable of winning and had unfortunate circumstances take us out of it. And then you know kind of the same thing today. That yellow was the big unfortunate moment whenever the yellow came out and kind of flipped the strategy. Overall, really proud to be at Joe Gibbs Racing and proud for all of our partners on this 20 car. Maybe one of these days we’ll be up there.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Finished 8th: “It was a battle. We weren’t very good to start. I think the track conditions got a little better for us as it cooled off. But we battled all day. My No. 47 Kroger/Nature Valley Chevrolet team made good adjustments and the cautions fell the right way. I felt like we had really good strategy on that last long run, which put us in the top-five when the caution came out. I felt like we were in a really good spot to run top five; and then the No. 4 (Kevin Harvick) got us in the fence there and I was really tight after that. Two top 10s in a row is nothing to be too bummed about. That was a battle. We weren’t very good, but we made something out of it.”

Austin Dillon — Finished 9th: “What an unbelievable day at Darlington Raceway. We faced so much as a team so it feels really good to get a ninth-place finish in the Huk Chevrolet. We had to make a green-flag stop in Stage 1 but fought back to take the wave-around and get back on the lead lap. Our Chevy was really good on the long run, but we struggled on the short run, especially in dirty air. I was starting to wonder how many times I could hit the wall without having issues. We overcame two speeding penalties today, so it says a lot about our team to be able to overcome those and finish in the top 10.”

Daniel Suarez — Finished 10th: “It was a good day for our No. 99 Coca-Cola Chevrolet team. I feel like we did a good job making adjustments. Track position was huge and the pit crew did an amazing job all day. We only had one issue there, but there’s nothing we can do about that. It’s not 100% under our control. We have to keep working and keep building. I feel like we can be better and come back stronger.”

Aric Almirola — Finished 11th: “We had a top-10 car all day. It’s a really good sign to see that from week to week, especially at two difficult tracks like Dover last weekend and Darlington today. Drew (Blickensderfer, crew chief) and the team worked hard all day to give me what I needed. The pit crew really showed up today, too. Fortunately, we missed that wreck there toward the end that got us our track position back. It was such an honor to run my grandfather’s sprint car paint scheme that I grew up watching. That meant a lot to me and a lot to him. I wish we could’ve brought it to victory lane one last time, but 11th wasn’t a bad way to finish my final Darlington Throwback Weekend.”

William Byron — Finished 13th: “No, I mean, we were really close off of (turn) two and I think it spooked him and got him tight; and he was right against the wall and I got the lead. He does this stuff all the time. I’ve seen it with other guys. He drove in there 10 mph too fast, and with these Next Gen cars, he slammed me so hard it knocked the whole right side off the car and there was no way to make the corner. He can’t win a race, so it does it that way. I don’t know. It was close racing on the restart. We were faster than him. Obviously at the end, the right rear started to go away; and yeah, he didn’t even make it a contest.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 17th: “Frustrating day for our Advance Auto Parts Mustang. Not the day we were looking for at all. We finally worked back forward and then the incident and damage kind of sealed our fate for the day.”

Austin Cindric — Finished 18th: “We had an up and down day and kind of felt like it was a missed opportunity for our Menards/Libman Ford Mustang. We got way too loose in the middle of the race. We got the car driving really well and then about halfway we started having some engine problems and were really down on power that really prevented us from moving our way back forward through the field once we got back on the lead lap. It definitely was not meant to be. Every single caution that would have hurt our strategy came out exactly when it didn’t need to so just not ideal, but we certainly learned a lot as a team today and got our car driving well again in stage three, which I think there’s a lot to learn from that.”

Erik Jones — Finished 25th: “A tough end to our day. Our FOCUSFactor Chevrolet Camaro was a little on the tight side, but we stayed after it and I thought we had a shot at another top-10 finish. We’ll go back to the shop and refocus on next week at Kansas.”

Bubba Wallace — Finished 27th: “Just checked up in front of me and didn’t have enough time. You’re in the wood off of (turn) two there. Just trying to figure out what I did to piss off the racing gods. Another great car and another great finish that was going to be there and a disappointing result. Just frustrating. Thanks to MoneyLion. For sure, was going to have a top-10 car. That’s what we’ll put on the debrief, but the results don’t show that.”

Kurt Busch — Finished 28th: “I saw smoke and a car sideways. I thought I was through on the top side and got hit from behind. Everybody’s just ripping and gouging. It’s almost the last set of tires. We just had no luck today. No luck on pit road. The short run speed wasn’t there, but we were good on the long run, but just didn’t make it happen with the McDonald’s Toyota.”

Alex Bowman — Finished 29th: “I don’t know. Obviously, a pretty miserable day for our Ally Camaro. Greg (Ives) and the guys were working hard on it. I was just really out of the racetrack; didn’t make any grip and we could be super tight or super loose. Either way, we were really slow. And then something broke and it just went straight. We hit the wall and then whatever is on fire now. Bummed for the guys. It was a pretty miserable day.”

Ross Chastain — Finished 30th: “We had a super strong day for our No. 1 Coca-Cola Chevy Camaro. We were fighting the balance all day. We were racing with those guys for the lead. I just thought I could run the bottom there off of turn two and the exit of the patch. I just got loose on the transition and spun out. Aside from that, it was a perfect day on the track and on pit road. I’m proud of the effort; proud of the grip that our car had. We’ll come back here in the fall and give ourselves another shot.”

Daniel Hemric — Finished 31st: “The Lady in Black was not kind to us this weekend. We got some damage early and lost quite a few laps trying to fix it. I appreciate all the hard work on pit road to get us back out there. I thought we’d be OK, but we had some engine issues that ended our day early. We haven’t had the best luck, but we are building and learning every week.”

Kyle Busch — Finished 33rd: “Just the 6 (Brad Keselowski) blew a right-front tire coming off of turn two. I had nowhere to go and just got collected up in something not of our doing. It’s frustrating. We had a good M&M’s Camry and it was nice to be able to run in the top-five and lead some laps there. Just felt like we were trying to debate on the setup there between the short run versus the long run and where we wanted to be good and what all was going to pay dividends at the end of the day.”

Brad Keselowski — Finished 34th: “I just blew a tire. I’m pretty sure I ran over debris off of two. There had been debris there for about 25 laps and I think I finally got it. I just blew a tire and went straight. That’s part of it. … I mean, it doesn’t feel good, but it could be a lot worse.”

Kyle Larson — Finished 36th: “With these cars, you don’t want to lock the tires up because you’ll get a flat and it really tears your car up. I definitely rolled backwards some. That was my concern with why we blew up, but they said that probably didn’t have anything to do with it. Bummer. Our No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet was super good today, so that’s promising. I feel like maybe we hit on something here this weekend. I hate that we’re not going to get the finish that we deserve, but I’m proud of my team for the car they brought today.”