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What drivers said at Sonoma Raceway

Daniel Suarez became the first Mexican-born victor on the NASCAR Cup Series with his win at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma.

Here is what drivers had to say after Sunday’s Cup race at Sonoma Raceway in northern California:

Daniel Suarez -- Winner: “It’s a crazy day. I have so many thoughts in my head right now. I mean, it’s been a rough road. It’s been a rough journey in the Cup Series. These guys believe in me -- Trackhouse Racing, Justin Marks, Ty Norris. Everyone that helped me to get to this point. A lot of people in Mexico: Jay Morales, Carlos Slim. My family, they never give up on me. A lot of people did, but they didn’t. Just very happy we were able to make it work.”

Chris Buescher -- Finished 2nd: “This team did a great job and put a really fast Fifth Third Bank Mustang underneath me this weekend. What a way to return and come back to the race track, but I didn’t get the job done there at the end. I feel like we should have had the win and I didn’t get it. We were close, just needed more. I needed to make it happen on that restart and I didn’t. But if we can keep getting cars like this then a win will come. It was an awesome run, and I should be happy, but I am disappointed to be that close and not get it.”

Michael McDowell -- Finished 3rd: “You know, we just fired off a little on the slow side, but we were really good on the long run. We started to reel the leaders in there the last five laps, but it just took a little too long to get going. I am proud of the entire team. ... You have to run second, third, fourth, and fifth consistently to put yourself in a position to win a race, and we were close today. We just needed a little more on the front end to challenge. I am really proud of everybody’s effort. We are getting closer. We are doing it week in and week out so I am really proud of everybody.”
Kevin Harvick -- Finished 4th: “We had our minimum of once-a-week catastrophic failure on pit road and got back as far forward as we could, as usual. It is what it is, I guess. We didn’t finish where we should have. We took away all of our chances. We should have been second at worst, but we keep screwing up every week.”

Austin Cindric -- Finished 5th: “I would say this weekend was a real team effort. I appreciate Jeremy (Bullins) and the Discount Tire team for believing in me with flipping the stages like we did when we probably could have taken a stage win and a bunch of stage points. We made a lot of adjustments and some bold decisions overnight. I am really happy for Daniel Suarez. To see a first-time winner, that isn’t great to have another first-time winner on the season and stacking up on those but otherwise, it was a really solid day.”

Ryan Blaney -- Finished 6th: “We had decent speed but needed a little bit more. Struggled being tight early in the race and track position was tough to come by. At the end when the sun came out the track took a big swing, which hurt our Menards/Knauf Ford Mustang. We’ll take a top 10 day and go into the off weekend and get ready for Nashville.”

William Byron -- Finished 9th: “Good run for our team. Fought hard all day and got the balance right and the second half of the race was good. Happy with that and going into the off week with some good momentum.”

Austin Dillon -- Finished 11th: “This team has worked hard, and I have worked hard personally, on improving our road course performances. We qualified 13th on Saturday and came into Sunday’s race knowing that we had a strong car and a solid plan. We maintained our position throughout Stage 1. We tried to play the pit strategy a few times and got caught on the wrong side of a caution flag. During the final stage, we were making a green-flag stop right as the caution came out. It put us back about seven spots, but we had newer tires than the guys in front of us which gave me a little more leverage.”

Justin Haley -- Finished 13th: “Overall, it was a good day for us. We fought a loose car for most of the race, but we had some good adjustments and strategy on pit road. We kept track position for most of the day and ultimately ended up with a decent finish. It’s another solid race for us to build on. I’m looking forward to the off weekend and then keeping the momentum going at Nashville.”

Aric Almirola -- Finished 14th: “A few more laps and I think we would’ve had a top 10. Our long-run speed was really good today. The timing of the caution in the last stage wasn’t in our favor, so we had to battle back. Those last few laps we really had the speed.”

Joey Logano -- Finished 17th: “We had a good day in terms of stage points and getting a stage win. That was on our list of objectives going into the race. We just got trapped by that last caution which made it really tough to get that track position back.”

AJ Allmendinger -- Finished 19th: “Tough day for us at Sonoma. I haven’t had the best luck at this track despite how much I love racing there. We started in the rear and had some power steering issues off the bat that we battled the whole day. It made for a difficult day, but we fought back into the top 10 until the very end when unfortunately I spun out. We showed speed but have some things to work on to be better for next time.”

Cole Custer -- Finished 21st: “Another solid day taken away late after getting spun in Turn 11. The guys brought a fast Autodesk/ Mustang, but nothing to show for it. I don’t think I’ve ever had a year where so many things just don’t fall right. Ready to regroup after the off week and get it turned around.”

Erik Jones -- Finished 22nd: “We just missed the mark this weekend with our FOCUSfactor Chevy. We made some adjustments after practice that didn’t really help us in qualifying. We put ourselves in a hole with where we qualified and decided to make additional changes to better our car for the race. Unfortunately, those changes didn’t help much and we fought the handling all day.”

Ty Dillon -- Finished 23rd: “Our Allegiant Chevrolet needed some tweaks off the truck yesterday, so unfortunately we started behind with qualifying in the back. The adjustments our No. 42 team made before the race definitely helped and we kept working on it throughout the race.”

Tyler Reddick -- Finished 35th: “We started the race fifth and spent most of stages 1 and 2 in and around the top five. We were running fourth with three laps remaining in stage 2 when we made a green-flag stop. Unfortunately, we were caught speeding on pit road and had to restart at the tail end of the field to start stage 3. We got mirrored back in traffic. Everyone was bunching up and another car ended up making contact with us. It destroyed our left rear and we had to go to the garage for repairs. We made it back out, but finished 14 laps down in 35th. It’s definitely disappointing to get a finish like that after running so strong today.”

Bubba Wallace -- Finished 36th: “Off weekend, that is what we need to reset. I guess the mustache needs to come off. Really just biding our time. I was doing less shifting than I was doing in practice – just trying to conserve some tire. Never had an overrev, never went the wrong way, and she just blew. I hate it. I hate it for our team. I hate it for all of our partners. We deserve to be finishing a lot better than we have been these last couple of months.”