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What drivers said after Richmond

Another week, another agonizing near-miss for Denny Hamlin, who dominated much of the Toyota Owners 400 but was again denied a win -- this time by Alex Bowman, who held off the No. 11 after a restart with 12 laps to go.

Alex Bowman - Winner: “I feel like lately we’ve been really, really fast each and everywhere we’ve gone. Atlanta we ran third. Bristol, we’re the best car, break a transmission. Go to Martinsville, the 12 was probably the best car, but we were probably the second-best car. We have our issue there. Pretty happy with where we’re at right now. We’re going to a lot of places that statistically I’ve struggled at, like Martinsville and here, and running really, really well. I think when we get to the places that I feel like we’re actually good at, it’s going to be really, really good.”

Denny Hamlin - Finished 2nd: “There’s frustration, for sure. But it doesn’t change my attitude or work ethic. I’m going to work just as hard to win next week and the week after that. You’re a competitor, you want to win. Especially when you have a great opportunity to win. It just didn’t happen. I just got to digest it, look at it and see where we could have been a little bit better. But ultimately, there’s nothing I can do. My effort was as high as it could be. There’s nothing that’s glaring that I feel like I could have or should have done different. Maybe there is. I’ll go back and look at it, figure it out. Just seemed like the 48 (Alex Bowman) had it gripped up there for a couple laps.”

Joey Logano - Finished 3rd: “Congratulations to them. They beat us. I think probably their adjustments they made on that final pit stop definitely made (Alex Bowman’s) car fire off really well. He started to pay the penalty the last couple laps, but he was so far out that it didn’t matter. It’s frustrating because we were so close with the Shell/Pennzoil Mustang and wanted to get our Ford in victory lane here and led some laps. We made the pass on Denny and then we had a heck of a battle going back and forth. He was tight when I passed him and then I was tight and he caught back up to me, so the track was changing there and we were both trying to keep up with it. Dang it. I hate being that close. Third is decent, but to be that close and you’re on the front row on the final restart, you think you’ve got a good shot at it and the front didn’t wake up for three laps. Once it woke up, it was too late, so that’s part of it, I guess.”

Christopher Bell - Finished 4th: “I knew that we had a really, really good SiriusXM Camry right from the drop of the green flag. We kept working on it and kept working on it, but then I guess we got caught a lap down there by the yellow flag in stage two. From that point on, it was just battling back up through there. Really proud of this 20 group. We’ve kind of lacked a little bit of consistency throughout the year, but now it seems like we’re picking it up.”

Martin Truex Jr. - Finished 5th: “Driver screwed up our chances there for sure. Auto Owner’s Toyota Camry was really fast. Just like last week, we got off in the middle of the race and then stage three we got it dialed in and I got caught speeding on pit road. We had to drive all the way back through the field and under green, that was tough. We got all the way back to fifth. Heck of an effort by the guys and wish I hadn’t made that mistake so I could have seen what I could have done with them.”

Aric Almirola - Finished 6th: “Man, I really battled for fifth there at the end, but burnt up my tires on the outside in the process. Finally, a solid day for our Smithfield team. Everyone did their part and we were mistake-free today. Let’s fire it up and keep it rolling.”

William Byron - Finished 7th: “It was a good day for us. We ran in the top 10 all day; sometimes top five. Definitely were searching for more there at the end, but to come home seventh at a track that I’ve struggled at is good for us. We definitely know what we need to work on to get better. This is not a race that we had circled to do well, so it’s good to finish top 10 again and keep that streak alive. Congrats to Alex (Bowman) and the No. 48 team. They did a great job there at the end of the race to get their car to take off. That was pretty awesome. We’ll go onto Talladega (Superspeedway) and try to win that one.”

Kyle Busch - Finished 8th: “We had a good M&M’s Red Nose Day Camry. The car didn’t start off well, but Ben (Beshore, crew chief) and the guys kept adjusting on it, and we got it a lot better. There at the end, you try to get all you can on and off pit road to have a shot at the win, and I just came in there too hard and got the commitment box (penalty).”

Matt DiBenedetto - Finished 9th: “It definitely feels long overdue that we got that top 10 finally, so that’s good. We’ve had some rough circumstances that sort of put us in a hole to start the year, but we knew that we have plenty of speed and obviously a great team. It was good to come here and at a track that I really wouldn’t consider one that I have a ton of success at in the past, so that was definitely rewarding. It was a day full of just no forgiveness. You couldn’t have any mistakes at all, so we started the race and we’re too far off. We worked on the car a little bit and made the right calls and got great breaks and once we got track position and got up in the top 10 we had no problem staying up there. That was good. It was a really high pressure day because there was no room for mistakes with that much green flag here. I’m proud of the team and having Menards and Libman on the car. All good stuff and something to build on. We’re climbing out of that hole in the points and gaining a lot quick.”

Austin Dillon - Finished 10th: “Solid day for our No. 3 Chevrolet team. I thought we had something taking off today. I felt like we were pretty good; drove up into sixth or seventh. We never really were as good as we were the last time we were here. Just couldn’t get that adjustment that really would make us go any better than we were before; just kind of a top-10 place car all day. At one point, we were way worse than that. Justin (Alexander, Crew Chief) did a good job making adjustments and the guys in the pits were solid. Can’t thank all the team at RCR and the No. 3 guys enough; working hard and putting in the effort. Tenth, for a battle, was good. We wanted more, but we’ll take a top-10.”

Ryan Blaney - Finished 11th: “It was a step in the right direction at Richmond for me and the BODYARMOR team. Our lap times and the way our car handled and we adjusted on it through the race were better than the 11th place finish we had, just got trapped for too long a lap down and without cautions, it was tough to get that back. I think we had a ton of key learnings that we can evaluate and come back stronger when we race here in the playoffs.”

Brad Keselowski - Finished 14th: “Our Discount Tire Ford was fast today but it just didn’t come together for us. We’ll bounce back next week.”

Erik Jones - Finished 19th: “It was an up-and-down day for the No. 43 Medallion Bank Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. We started too tight and could not really do what we needed to do with our Chevrolet Camaro. We got it better as the day went, especially towards the end of the race. We started to really get some good speed and gain some track position. Just got too far behind, got caught on pit road when the caution flag came out, lost a lap early and could not get it back where we needed it to be. We will take a top-20 finish. We got some good notes and we will move on.”

Tyler Reddick - Finished 20th: “We tried a lot of different things with our No. 8 Cat #WhatPowersYou Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE today to try to get the handling to where it needed to be and made some small gains throughout the race. It just seemed like we were a tiny bit off from what we had last year during our one visit to Richmond Raceway, so we’ll definitely be studying this one closely to be better when we come back in the fall. I was just a little too tight almost all day and then too loose in the final stage, which didn’t let me charge through the corners like I wanted. Richmond Raceway is a tough place to figure out in a Cup car, especially with it being just my second Cup start here, but I learned a lot. We’ll be ready when we come back here in September.”

Chase Briscoe - Finished 22nd: “Richmond is always a tough place for me, but I felt like we had a decent day despite what the results show. We still have work to do, but half the battle has been trying to overcome our starting position and the early caution pinned us a lap down. Johnny (Klausmeier, crew chief) and the guys have been doing a great job listening to my feedback, and we’ll continue to work on our short-track program so we’re better when we come back in the fall.”

Cole Custer - Finished 23rd: “We had a couple of issues we were trying to shake all day, the biggest one being that after the first 10 laps of a run, we just had a hard time getting our Ford to turn over the long run. There were so few cautions that we didn’t have the chance to make significant enough changes to try and fix it. A tough last three races on these short tracks. We’ll get to stretch our legs a bit next week at Talladega.”

Michael McDowell - Finished 27th: “It was a tough race for our No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops team at Richmond Raceway. We started out on the tight side of things and just struggled to roll the center of the corners. I felt like our long run speed was pretty decent, but unfortunately we went a few laps down and with the limited amount of cautions, it just made it difficult for us to regain the Lead Lap. Looking at the positives, we certainly learned a few things, which we’ll add to our notebook for when we come back to Richmond (Raceway) in the fall. I wish we could have had a better finish for our partners, but I greatly appreciate the support of Love’s Travel Stops and hopefully we can go out next weekend and deliver another solid superspeedway performance for them at Talladega (Superspeedway).”

Austin Cindric - Finished 28th: “It’s an interesting race. I definitely chose the wrong time to make a rookie mistake getting into the 6 (Ryan Newman). That’s definitely on me and that was a really vulnerable time for our strategy and that put us behind the eight-ball all day. We tried to do some strategy to get us back and we ended up putting ourselves another lap down. By the time stage three rolled around we were able to make some good adjustments and our Verizon 5G Ford Mustang was really good. I wouldn’t say we were top five good, but I think we were good enough to run inside the top 10, top 15 so there’s a lot of positives. I drove up to P20 under green, so lots to learn, but definitely wish I could get that stage two mistake back.”

Anthony Alfredo - Finished 31st: “It was not a great day at Richmond. We just lacked raw speed, along with our teammates. Historically, as a group, this hasn’t been one of our strongest tracks. But, we’ll go back and do our homework to get better. I liked racing the track today, I feel good, but we just weren’t able to get the finish we wanted.”