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What drivers said after Las Vegas

Denny Hamlin holds off Chase Elliott over the final laps to win the NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to automatically advance to the Round of 8.

A look at what drivers said following Sunday night’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway...

Denny Hamlin (playoffs) - WINNER: “It’s another track we can cross off the list. There was a point here where I never thought I would even sniff a victory. We found a setup and - I shouldn’t say ‘we’, I didn’t do anything. The team has found a setup that has worked with my driving style. I know that me and (crew chief) Chris (Gabehart) really work hard on trying to shore up any deficiencies that we have or I have as a driver. I go to work on it, the team goes to work on what they need to give me to go fast. I try to give them the best information that I can. They take that information, they put their brains together and they come up with something that works. Really, the last two years, they’ve really changed the game for me at this racetrack. Again, it means a lot to cross off Las Vegas as a track that we won at now.”

Chase Elliott (playoffs) - Finished 2nd: "...Circumstances kind of went our way (at the end of the race). We were able to get back on the lead lap when that cycle stopped. We were there in the middle with those guys making it on fuel. We were on the fortunate end because we got back on the lead lap, didn’t have to wave or get the Lucky Dog. We just kept tuning on it, felt like we really needed a little track position.”

Kyle Busch (playoffs) - Finished 3rd: “We got all we could. I felt like during the daytime, we were a little bit better than the 11 (Denny Hamlin). We could race with him. I felt like I was looking forward to the lights coming on and us picking up speed and being able to rip the wall a little bit faster. When we got hit into the fence there off of (turn) two the first time, it definitely knocked speed out of our car. We helped it a little bit coming to pit road putting the last set of tires on it and then I got into the fence again trying to get by a lapped car. Not enough room over there, I guess. Overall, great job by Ben (Beshore, crew chief) and my guys on this M&M’s Camry. They gave me a good piece. We moved forward all day long so that was good and just appreciate TRD and Interstate Batteries, Rowdy Energy and Ethel M for being here from Las Vegas and all of those guys were here today. Good showing.”

Martin Truex Jr. (playoffs) - Finished 4th: “We just could never get the balance quite right. We were really struggling off of turn four, no matter what we did. Not sure exactly why. It’s not something that we’ve had here in the past. Definitely something going on there that we couldn’t fix. We tried a lot. We made a lot of adjustments. James (Small, crew chief) and the guys did a really good job executing and we got all we could out of it. The Bass Pro Toyota was a little bit off tonight. I wish we could have been a little bit better, but all-in-all to grind out a fourth with that car is a good effort.”

Ryan Blaney (playoffs) - Finished 5th: “I thought a couple of cars were a little quicker than us. We got behind the eight-ball a little bit there in that second stage having to pit at the end and take the wave around. That hurt us. We had a fast enough Menards Ford Mustang to finish fifth. That is something to be proud of. We will go on to Talladega.”

Tyler Reddick - Finished 6th: “Our Cat Trials 11: Hot Wheels Chevrolet was extremely fast tonight at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. I knew having speed in the car when the sun went down was going to be a key to finishing well. The track definitely tightened up as time went on, and I could feel it in our No. 8 Camaro. My crew chief, Randall Burnett, kept up with the changing track conditions though and we were able to post top-three laps times consistently. I think at worst we were a third-place car, and should have been competing for the win at the end. There weren’t a ton of cautions during the race and unfortunately waiting just a couple of laps from when (Denny Hamlin) pitted from the lead cost us valuable track position. A sixth-place finish is still a great night for our Richard Childress Racing team and we will now turn our focus to Talladega.”

Brad Keselowski (playoffs) - Finished 7th: “It wasn’t a bad night. We executed really, really well and made the most of what we had. That was just all we had. We just kind of rode in 10th to 15th most of the day and at one point we got up to seventh or eighth, but couldn’t really hold it. At the end, we just really executed really well. The pit stops were great. The pit calls were good. No loose wheels or any troubles and we were able to get a solid day out of it to get ourselves a little cushion.”

Kevin Harvick (playoffs) - Finished 9th: “You know, it was about where we finished. That was about what we had tonight. We got the right-front fender nicked up a little bit, but that didn’t really change the car so we lucked out on that. We battle and gained ground on it. That is what we wanted to do, not give it all away today. We were able to gain ground and we will go from there.”

Kyle Larson (playoffs) - Finished 10th: “We stayed out (after Stage 2) and had to do the wave around. I wasn’t on fresh tires and stuck in traffic. Everyone is fighting so hard back there to run their race that I just got kind of stuck. Not beat around, but just stuck and having to race. It’s just hard. We were able to fight back for a top-10 and come away with an OK finish.”

Joey Logano (playoffs) - Finished 11th: “We were better in the daytime for sure. Unfortunately in the daytime, we didn’t capitalize in the first stage with having a loose wheel and starting in the back after that in that stage. We were able to drive back through the field and that was our best run. It seemed like as the track cooled off we lost speed to the field for multiple reasons. That last run we had another issue with the wheel. It was a poorly executed day with a car that probably should have finished fifth in both stages and maybe a top-10 or so at the end. But instead, we are not out. We are six points to the good. We are ahead of where we were when we came in, I just wanted to be more comfortable than that.”

Austin Dillon - Finished 13th: “Good try tonight by everyone on the Richard Childress Racing team at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The front end of our BetMGM Chevy was never really to my liking tonight. We were bouncing through Turn 2, but Justin Alexander and all of the guys made adjustments throughout the race to improve our handling issues. We just needed a little more a little earlier. In Stage 3, we were running 12th when we made the call to stay out and long pit. It was just a gamble to try and catch a caution and make something happen. We led laps and were in position but didn’t get the caution we needed. It was worth a shot. We ultimately finished 13th. We’re headed to Talladega Superspeedway next week, and we’ll do everything we can to try and snag a win.”

Chase Briscoe - Finished 14th: “I thought our One Cure Ford Mustang was going to be really strong when the sun went down, but we just couldn’t get the handling right. The smallest changes would take it from loose to tight, and it was really tough to get it exactly where we wanted it. Fourteenth is still a huge improvement over what we did earlier this year, and it just shows how much I’ve learned as a driver and how far this team has come.”

William Byron - Finished 18th: “I thought we were really fast. We came from the back to the front, took the lead and then obviously had that caution. I chose the wrong lane there and had to run second there for awhile to Kyle. And then we had the strategy deal with not being able to make it on fuel and had to recover from that. We had to take two tires and that hurt us. We were able to drive all the way back to the front from the back again, so that was twice today. And then we had the flat tire. We had an awesome car. The No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet was amazing. I think it was right there with the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin). We’ll just have to keep bringing that speed.”

Aric Almirola - Finished 19th: “We found really good speed and balance in our Mobil 1 Ford halfway through the race today and were good enough to race inside the top-10. Then we made one small adjustment, and something just flipped a switch and our balance was way off. We’ll move on to Talladega where we’ve had a lot of success. Excited to get there and compete for a win.”

Alex Bowman - Finished 22nd: “We weren’t great. The stage two strategy just didn’t work out for us and it put us in a tough spot there to start stage three. The valve stem got knocked off on a pit stop and the rest is history. Not a good day on any aspects. We had a decent car, we just didn’t have the pit road and strategy we needed.”

Cole Custer - Finished 29th: “Another rough race for our team. We struggled with the balance of our No. 41 Dixie Vodka Greyhound Cocktail Ford Mustang and just couldn’t get it right. We’ll head to Talladega.”