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What drivers said at Atlanta

On the final restart, Chase Elliott squeezes past Martin Truex Jr. and blocks Corey LaJoie to win the NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in his home state of Georgia.

Here is what drivers said following Sunday afternoon’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, won by Chase Elliott...

Chase Elliott - WINNER: “Obviously, I knew (LaJoie) was going to have a big run (on the final lap). I didn’t really want to give him the bottom, and I tried to give it one real good aggressive block. I felt like I had enough room to kind of give it a second one, and he was just right there on the right side of my back bumper, so was far enough to the backside of the bumper to launch me forward. I hate I tore up some cars, but I don’t know what you do.. either go for the win or don’t. I’m going to choose option A every day of the week.”

Ross Chastain - Finished 2nd: “I hate that I took the best car here and I tore it up a couple of times. Hats off to Chevrolet and Trackhouse Racing for bringing this fast of a Jockey Chevrolet. Our road crew and our pit crew did an awesome job to rebound through all of the damage repair. We had a shot and I got inside of the No. 9 (Chase Elliott) coming off of (Turn) 2 coming to the checkered and the caution came out. I hope everyone is alright back there. Awesome job to Corey LaJoie and Spire Motorsports. I really thought into (turn) one when we took the white that I was going to push him to the win. They all just fought for the top and almost gave it to us.”

Austin Cindric - Finished 3rd: “It came to life. We had to do a little CPR there early. We were struggling pretty bad. We were pretty loose to start the race and I’m just proud of the effort from the guys on the 2 car, being able to make the right adjustments and get us out of a hole there. We went from not being able to go full throttle by myself on the racetrack to being able to run close behind other guys wide-open, so I’m proud of that effort and proud of a top-three finish. I felt like we deserved to be up there by the end of the race after we established track position. It was a solid day. I wish we could have gotten the Quaker State Ford in victory lane in the Quaker State 400, but a top-three is pretty good.”

Erik Jones - Finished 4th: “I thought our day was good. Our No. 43 FOCUSfactor Chevy was quick. We needed a tick more speed. I think we had to do some things for handling that slowed us down a little bit. We were up there, but I couldn’t really break out and do much. When I got in the lead there, I wasn’t really quick enough to hold it myself. We were close. It feels good to just have a good race. We’ve had a rough month, so it’s nice to get a top-five and get some points.”

Ryan Blaney - Finished 5th: “It was a pretty good day. We got back in traffic there a little bit and it was just hard to make it back up. You just can’t go anywhere. It gets two-wide and you’re just stuck and you can’t really go anywhere, unless you were the 9 and you were the fastest car out there by a mile. It was pretty easy for him to go wherever he wanted. That looked fun, but, I’m just happy to end up decent. This race is just like a survival race pretty much. That’s what you’re gonna get when you’re speedway racing on a mile-and-a-half, so luckily we were able to survive it and get out of here with an OK finish.”

Justin Haley - Finished 7th: “It was a good day again here in Atlanta. I feel like this No. 31 LeafFilter Chevrolet team has succeeded in finding a good, fast, stable setup for the new Atlanta track. So overall it was a good day and just a little bit better than where we were in the spring.”

Aric Almirola - Finished 8th: “We just didn’t have the speed we needed to go up and compete. That one restart where I was leading the bottom lane we didn’t have what we needed to keep up. Our car was pretty good. We got it driving good there at the end, but we couldn’t muster up the speed we needed to go hang with those Chevrolets. The Chevrolets were really, really fast.”

Cole Custer - Finished 9th: “We got the car way better. The guys worked really hard and made great adjustments throughout the day. By the end, I thought we were just as good as anybody. We could have had a shot to win there. I think we were running in the top five on the last lap, but somebody wrecked in front of us and we got knocked back a little bit, but overall it was a good day of hopefully finding a direction and I think it was nice to go up there and run with those guys and show that we can have some speed.”

Kevin Harvick - Finished 12th: “I just couldn’t do anything in traffic. The car was really tight in traffic, which made it hard to race close to anybody. When they were side-by-side I would lose the nose really bad. We hung around and finished the race. Sometimes that’s what you’ve got to do at these places.”

Chase Briscoe - Finished 16th: “I felt like balance was definitely more of an issue than the first race, for sure, with the hotter temperatures. I felt like we got it to where we were pretty decent and I was able to start working the wall a little more than a couple other guys. I went to pass the 10 and as soon as I did I guess I just got too high and got to where it was dirty still and killed the right-rear quarter panel and everything else so that kind of affected the rest of our day. I’m happy we were able to somewhat salvage a 16th, but I felt like if we didn’t have the damage, it would have been a lot better day. We’ll go on to New Hampshire next week and see if we can improve on it.”

Corey LaJoie - Finished 21st: “I was going to school. That was the first time I’d been leading a restart at one of these superspeedway-style race tracks. How much you have to drag back, time your runs, cover the lanes - it’s all new to me. So when I get myself in that position again, I’ll be a little more prepared and hopefully, we can do a little better job and be the one to control the blocks as opposed to the one that’s trying to make that late-race move, because that guy usually is in the catbird’s seat. I just had some fun, I know that. Hopefully, we can have that 7 car up front more often.”

Denny Hamlin - Finished 25th: “We were in really good position and we were about to be clear of the 1 (Ross Chastain) and be in third in the outside line. I was really happy with where I was at for sure. I think the 1 probably sensed that we were about to clear him so he chased us up there and got into us.”

Tyler Reddick - Finished 29th: “We had a great Alsco Chevrolet today at Atlanta Motor Speedway, so it’s a shame that we weren’t able to capitalize on it. The day was going well. We were running up front and competitive. We made a mistake in Stage 3 when I overshot my pit box. That hurt a lot because we didn’t have a lot of time to recover, and it put us far enough back to get caught up in a wreck. We had nowhere to go, but that is the situation I put ourselves in. It’s pretty frustrating because it was very obvious that we had a fantastic car. We’ll head to New Hampshire Motor Speedway to try and rebound.”

William Byron - Finished 30th: “The racing was fine. I thought the track had a little bit less grip. Our No. 24 Axalta Chevy was good out front. We could hang around the top-five. We struggled a little bit there on the pit stop sequence. We took four tires and we started way back, and we just got into someone else’s mess. We were eighth to finish the stage. Thinking that in the final stage some guys would stay out, we just seemed to net out further back than we thought we would. We ended up like 18th or 19th and had to restart there, and that’s where the wreck happened. It was just unfortunate that we were back there. I don’t know if there is anything we could have really done because we had taken right side tires before then and our tires were pretty old. We kind of hovered around the top-eight all day and unfortunately we’re out. Thank you to Axalta, Chevrolet and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports. We’ll keep working hard and it will change soon.”

Alex Bowman - Finished 32nd: “I don’t think we had a tire go down in March. Fortunately, I was one of the guys that didn’t have an issue. But it sounds like I’m the one guy that had an issue today. No warning, we were just cruising around. We had a phenomenal race car. Really proud of Greg (Ives, Crew Chief) and the No. 48 team. We struggled pretty bad back here in March and our Chevy was really, really good today. (The) No. 48 Ally Milestone Chevy was getting up through the field pretty good there. Bummer that it ended like that, but at least we had a fast race car.”

Chris Buescher - Finished 33rd: “It’s a different racetrack. It’s not the Atlanta that I grew up loving, but BJ came over and apologized already. I think coming off of Turn 2, it flattens out a little bit and it took off on him. While we all checked up and spun out we made just a little bit of contact with him while we were sliding and it sounds like it may have been enough to bend a right-front component and ultimately ended up blowing a tire.”

Noah Gragson - Finished 34th: “We had an early end to our day in the No. 16 Gold Fish Casino Slots Camaro. We were on track to have a really solid day and showed some speed. Unfortunately, we couldn’t avoid a wreck in front of us that caused heavy damage to the right front. We had nowhere to go, but I hate it for everyone at Kaulig Racing who have been working hard on these cars.”

Austin Dillon - Finished 35th: “Man, I’m so bummed out for this entire Bass Pro Shops / TRACKER Off Road team. We had a fast Chevy today – just ended up a victim of someone else’s mess. Our Chevy was really tight on the first run, then loose on the second run. After that, we were really good and coming. We just had nowhere to go. Thank the Good Lord above that we were okay. The hit looked bad, but the impact wasn’t as bad as it looked. I told myself that we were going to race hard all day rather than riding in the back, but when you got guys out there wrecking half the field, you might as well pick a different strategy. These Next Gen cars are hard to drive, and you’ve got to make them drive better when it’s hot outside. I thought we did a good job making my car get to the bottom. We were making a lot of headway in the race before we got caught up in someone else’s mess. We’re going to keep on keeping on, and work each week to get to Victory Lane. I want to thank Johnny Morris and all of the guys at Bass Pro Shops and TRACKER Off Road, along with everyone at RCR and ECR. We will get there.”