What drivers said at Kansas

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Here is what drivers had to say after Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway:

Kurt Busch — Winner: “It’s family. When we started this car number, I knew we had our work cut out for us. We just had to do simple things to work our way up. Heck, one of the simple things was just making final round in qualifying. We’ve been starting to do that. That leads you into other categories that help you think and get you into more detail about other things. I just thought all a long if we got up front it would be a whole new game of blocking the air, taking lanes away. Today, this Toyota Camry TRD was fast right off the truck. Stage 1,I was killer tight. I thought our day was going to be a long day, and I’m just so happy that the car reacted to the changes. Jordan Brand on the hood, that is our DNA at 23XI. Denny Hamlin, thank you. Monster Energy, everybody that is our partners. This is a big win for our team.”

Kyle Larson — Finished 2nd: “I mean, we were racing for the win there. He never got into me, so I’m trying to squeeze throttle to get position on him and just got tight. That was fun racing with Kurt (Busch). You know, the last half of the race I was trying hard the whole time. I about spun out in front of him there at some point in the third stage and then we just kept fighting through it. Thanks to my team for building me a war machine. I hit the wall a lot today and just struggled, like people could put air on me and get me really tight and I hit the wall. We’ll work on that and figure it out, but happy with my car. It was hard to hold off Kyle (Busch) and then I knew when Kurt got by, I knew it was going to be really hard to hold him off. I did my best but came up one spot short.”

Kyle Busch — Finished 3rd: “We were in control on that final restart and you want to win the race in that instance, and I felt like our M&M’s Crunchy Cookie Toyota Camry was good enough to do so, but (Kyle) Larson did a good job getting in my left rear in the right spot to drag me back going down the backstretch and I couldn’t retaliate to side draft going into (turn) three, so he beat us right there. Once he got clear it was over. We had a strong Camry. Thanks again to M&M’s, Interstate Batteries, Rowdy Energy, everybody that supports us.”

Denny Hamlin — Finished 4th: “It’s huge. I’m so proud of Kurt (Busch) and Bubba (Wallace) as well. Bubba deserved to have a shot at a win today as well. It was so much better than that (10th). Mistakes, and we are working on it, and that’s something I felt like I’ve let these guys down with is – pit road. It’s just part of it. It’s growing pains, but this is what this team is capable of. I’m happy for Kurt.”

Christopher Bell — Finished 5th: “These Camrys are obviously really, really good. I’m really happy to be at Joe Gibbs Racing. This was a long time coming. We’ve had a couple of these races where all of us have been really good, but every car was exceptional today. Our Rheem Camry was really good early, and then when we lost track position, we just kind of lost the balance on it. Whenever we got back up front, it wasn’t quite good enough for the win.”

Ross Chastain — Finished 7th: “We started off pretty good and pretty early on in the race, we realized we were capable of (being) a top-10 car. The first stage was good. We had a lug nut not get engaged on the left rear during the green flag stop in stage two, which we got lucky to even get it back on. We were able to cycle back around to about where we should have been, so that was fortunate. From there, there was just a lot of ups and downs. We would restart upfront and then we’d restart in the back; and I can’t even remember what all happened exactly. We had a lot of speed in our No. 1 Advent Health Chevy Camaro. It’s cool to be that fast. I hit a tire on pit road late and that dented in the left front fender; and that ultimately made us too tight to fight for a top five.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Finished 8th: “All-in-all, a really good day and another top 10 for our No. 47 Dillons / Louisiana Hot Sauce Camaro. After starting in the back from our issues in practice yesterday, I’m really happy with the result. We were solid on pit road. We made some good adjustments to get our car better. I felt like I was really strong at points, but we were around an eighth-place car. The top five were really, really fast, and I didn’t have anything for them. I’m really happy with where we ran. We didn’t make any mistakes and brought home another top 10. That was our goal coming in, to try and keep that momentum going.”

Alex Bowman — Finished 9th: “We had a fast No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 today. Greg (Ives, crew chief) and the crew did a good job at keeping me in it and giving me what I needed to stay up front. Super proud of my guys and the hard work they put in each week to continue to learn about the new car and give me what I need to be competitive. The pit crew did a great job on pit road, getting me track position and making solid stops. We will go back to Charlotte and look over all the notes from today’s race and try to get better for Texas next week.”

Austin Cindric — Finished 11th: “I think the biggest thing I’m curious about is I felt like the track definitely changed. We were really strong there at the end of Stage 2. I don’t know if it was due to some of the cleaning of the track or what, but we went from being really solid – maybe just a little bit free – to kind of back to where I was at the beginning of the race, really tight. I wish we would have had a little more speed. I think we had to be perfect to run inside the top five today for sure. We had solid execution. Our guys did a great job during the week and getting used to the changes on the team and had to come back from a few issues and, all in all, a solid day. It’s something we needed to get stage points. I wish we could have gotten a top 10 out of it. We just missed out on that, but, overall, a solid effort.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 12th: “It was a challenging day for sure. We got a lot better from where we started, so that was good. I thought we were gonna be able to finish pretty decent, but then I got put into a couple of bad spots on that last restart and kind of fell back, and then I tried too hard and hit the wall and ended up 12th. Overall, I appreciate the hard work. We got a lot better from where we started, but we just need to be better overall.”

Austin Dillon — Finished 13th: “Nice work by everyone on the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Off Road Chevrolet today. It was a lot of hard work and a long day, but we got an okay finish out of it at Kansas Speedway. We had a penalty in Stage 1 for equipment leaving the box, but the pit crew was pretty fast the rest of the day. In Stage 2, we pitted under green just as the caution came out and we had to take the wave around. We rebounded nicely, though, and spent most of Stage 3 in the top 12. The restarts were a struggle today. Our car didn’t really start handling well until about 20 laps into a run, so that’s something we’re going to have to do some work on. We’ve got some work to do but this team will keep digging.”

Brad Keselowski — Finished 14th: “We just ran a solid race. We kind of got the max potential that we had and the pit crew did a great job. We need to raise our max potential, but we executed with everything we had so I’m happy for that.”

Harrison Burton — Finished 21st: “We ran better than we finished, which is frustrating. You want it to be the other way, but just really free at the end. It’s really hard to drive these things loose, so I don’t know if I need to do a better job or what, but when we get loose we struggle pretty bad. It was a handful at the end and it’s definitely frustrating. I felt like we were getting better throughout the day and then on the last run we finally jumped over the cushion on too far. We were tight, tight, tight all day and couldn’t get it to turn and then all of a sudden the last run I’m crashing on entry and crashing on exit, so it’s frustrating. Overall, we just have to keep digging. It’s not what we want, but we’ll keep going.”

Aric Almirola — Finished 26th: “I’m just really disappointed. We can’t catch a break. It seems like my team is bringing me good cars. I feel like we were probably the best Ford and we could have ran fifth to eighth and we just don’t have the raw speed of our competitors right now. We have to have a perfect day and when Suarez crashed in front of me, I don’t know if I got in some fluid or what, but it just jumped out from underneath me and I got in the wall. We bent the suspension and rode around the rest of the day just trying to salvage a finish.”

Tyler Reddick — Finished 30th: “Our entire Richard Childress Racing team started today pretty optimistic after qualifying second and starting on the front row at Kansas Speedway. We led some laps in Stage 1 and felt like our BetMGM Chevrolet was really strong. Unfortunately, things started to take a turn when we had a tire go down and made contact with the wall. We ended up going a few laps down, and even though we kept taking the wave around bad luck continued to strike. It just wasn’t our day. We’ll take this and learn from it like we always do. Our time is coming and this team doesn’t give up.”

Erik Jones — Finished 32nd: “Our FOCUSfactor Chevy was decent today. We started out pretty good, but a little on the free side. The guys made good changes and made a pit call to get us in the top 10 and stage points at the end of stage one. Unfortunately, we had the issue with our tire and getting the right rear off. That kind of ended our day after going multiple laps down. We’ll refocus and head to Texas for the All-Star race.”