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What drivers said after Texas race

Rick Allen, Steve Letarte and Jeff Burton go through the field after Texas and preview the Round of 8 cutoff race at Martinsville Speedway.

Here is what drivers said after Wednesday night’s Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway:
KYLE BUSCH — Winner: “It means a lot just to keep that winning streak going (of 16 consecutive seasons with at least a win). That’s the biggest thing I was hoping for and obviously wanting to accomplish this year before the year was out. I can’t say enough about (crew chief) Adam Stevens and (spotter) Tony Hirschman, my pit crew guys and everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing for all their hard work and everything that they do year in and year out.

MARTIN TRUEX JR. — Finished 2nd: “We knew (Kyle Busch) was close. The only thing we could do at that point, which we did all day anyway was try to run flat out. Hell of an effort by the Bass Pro guys and everybody that helps us. It just seems like one of those years where we’re second, third, fourth – we’re right there a lot. Just need a little bit more to be better. Excited about Martinsville. I know we can win there and obviously we’ve shown that in the past.”

CHRISTOPHER BELL — Finished 3rd: “It was definitely hard fought. I felt like my Procore Camry was extremely fast. If I ever could have got by(Martin Truex Jr.), I feel like I would have been able to get up to (Kyle Busch), but to pass him is another thing. I was able to drive up through the field pretty good, but once you got up to the top couple cars, passing got a little bit tougher. I’m really proud of everyone on this Procore Camry, 95 team. They’ve been bringing really good racecars to the track. We just haven’t been able to finish well and today we finally got one.”

RYAN BLANEY — Finished 4th: “We had pretty decent speed all day and led there a little bit and then kind of fell back, but ran in the top five most of the night. I just lost a little bit of speed at the end. My car felt pretty good, but just couldn’t really keep up. The track got super cold and grippy at the end. It gained grip with the night time coming, but, overall, not a bad day. We’ll take a top five and go on to Martinsville. We were really good there earlier this year and I look forward to getting back.”

ALEX BOWMAN — Finished 5th: “Not the day we really wanted. Had a really fast car, but pit strategy didn’t completely go our way. Some restarts were painful. When the sun came out, it was really fast. Some guys were really trimmed out and as cold as it was it seemed to really help them. Bummed out with fifth. I feel like we probably had the best handling race car and just came up a little short. Overall a good day and proud of everybody. So proud of everyone at Hendrick Motorsports for bringing really great driving cars to the track every week. Proud of everyone at Chevrolet and a big thanks to Acronis for being on board.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI — Finished 6th: “I don’t know about the craziest, but certainly the longest. I’m glad it’s over, and I’m glad we had a great run. I’m very much looking forward to Martinsville. I’m very proud of the team. We made a great pit call at the end of stage two that set us up for a great day and very proud of everybody.”

KURT BUSCH — Finished 7th: “Really happy that we got a top-10 finish. What a crazy start to the race. The delays and then today when my teammate (Matt Kenseth) got collected in that wreck, there was mud and sludge that got kicked all over our car, so we were struggling early in the race with overheating. Then it was tape that got reconfigured after the rain delay. We were zigging and zagging the first two stages. What a battle. Then we’d put right sides on. Then we’d put left sides on. Then we were taking tape off. Then we’re adding tape. Finally, to start the final stage, we were 11th and we then could work on our car’s balance.’’

JOEY LOGANO — Finished 10th: “I thought we were decent on Sunday. Today, we really just fought tight the whole race. We made a ton of adjustments on the car and we never got it freed up. The good thing is we’re locked into Phoenix already, so we’ll go to Martinsville on Sunday, have some fun and try to win another clock.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR. — Finished 12th: “I can’t thank the team enough for sticking out this rain delay and give us a solid night in our Kroger Chevrolet. We really worked on the handling and just got it better and better throughout the night and were able to run some really strong lap times. Traffic gave us a little bit of a challenge during the long run at the end, but once we made it through that it was all focus forward and we were able to keep gaining on it to the end. This is a quick turnaround to Martinsville, but I’m really happy with our momentum going into the final two races of the season.”

AUSTIN DILLON — Finished 11th: “What a week in Texas in the Dow Sullair Chevrolet. We came into this race with high expectations and the goal of backing up RCR’s 1-2 finish that we earned in July. We were thrown a few curve balls by Mother Nature. We started the race too free but still managed to position ourselves solidly in the top 10 before the race was postponed for weather. There were a lot of varying strategies going on tonight, but as always, Justin Alexander made some great calls. We were so close to a top 10 finish tonight, but it’s just so hard to pass. If we would have had more front turn at the end of the race, I think we could have passed a couple of more cars, but we were just too tight at the end.”

WILLIAM BYRON — Finished 13th: “We had just really one bad run during the race and that buried us in traffic in mid-pack. We were just way too loose but once we got the handling better we were good. That last run we just couldn’t really pass even though the track was fast. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the way our No. 24 Liberty University Chevy drove for the majority of the race and hopefully we have a good run in Martinsville.”

TYLER REDDICK — Finished 15th: “That was a much longer race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway than anyone expected, but I’m glad we were able to leave with a 15th-place finish with our No. 8 Clark Pipeline Services Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. It’s weird starting a race and then having such a long break before you’re able to finish it, but everyone managed the best they could. We had to fight a lot of changing track conditions today, and it was tough to nail down the right balance for our car. I started off on Sunday way too loose, but after our first adjustment today it was like we had a completely different car. From then on, I was too tight in traffic and needed more help with entry into the turns. My spotter, Derek Kneeland, and crew chief, Randall Burnett, helped a lot with relaying information on what I could try to help my entry and get around the track better, which helped us capitalize on a top-15 finish on a day that we really had to fight for it. We’ll continue to push to get every spot we can during these last two races to finish the year on a high note.”

CLINT BOWYER — Finished 17th: “So much for getting a six-shooter. That was a sick feeling to be out front knowing you couldn’t make it to the end. Obviously, we had a good Ford Mustang tonight. I’m ready to go home and then try again in Martinsville.”

RYAN PREECE — Finished 18th: “Enduring the rain delay was definitely a new challenge, especially after starting the race on Sunday and thinking about what changes we could make when we got restarted again tonight. Trent Owens did an awesome job adjusting the handling throughout the race to give us something we could compete with at the end. Unfortunately, we had a bad pit stop and got trapped a lap down to only gain so much track position, but we were able to make some of that ground up at the end. I’m really proud of everyone that stuck with us and kept working on this Scott Brand Chevrolet and I’m excited to get to one of my favorite tracks, Martinsville Speedway, next weekend.”

CHASE ELLIOTT — Finished 20th: “I thought we were decent throughout the first part of the race and trying to kind of settle in there. I thought we settled into a decent spot. We certainly weren’t fantastic, but I thought we were better than we typically are out here. So, that was good. Kind of got going through the mid-portion of the race there. Was trying to gain some track position to get some stage points there in that second stage and had a tire come apart that I didn’t realize was coming apart. So, I had to come back down pit road and fix that. And then we settled into where we typically do out here and finished in the back.”

JOHN HUNTER NEMECHEK — Finished 22nd: “Wow, what a week. Obviously, mother nature didn’t want to cooperate with us on Sunday but huge shoutout to the fans who stuck around to see the race today. Our No. 38 ROMCO Equipment Ford Mustang fired off on the snug side to start the race. Once we refired today, our handling wasn’t bad, but it was just challenging to find grip and make moves to improve track position. We missed the mark on fuel strategy, as well, so that hurt us in the end. We’ll recover as much as we can over the next couple of days and head to Martinsville ready to try again on Sunday.”

MICHAEL McDOWELL — Finished 26th: “A really unfortunate turn of events for us here at Texas Motor Speedway. On Sunday, prior to the weather delay, I felt like our No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops and Speedco Ford Mustang had some good speed; but then today, we battled a recurring vibration that forced us to pit road multiple times under green and with the lack of cautions, it made it really hard for us to regain any track position. Thanks to Love’s Travel Stops and Speedco for coming on board with us this weekend and thank you to all of the men and women who helped to get us back racing today. We’ll head home tonight and gear up for Martinsville Speedway on Sunday.”

DANIEL SUAREZ — Finished 27th: “That was an experience, waiting to finish the race three days after it started. We struggled on the short runs but then our NASCAR Foundation Toyota was pretty decent after about 20 or 30 laps. Then, something happened during the second half of the race that cost us speed. Something felt like it broke in the engine and we lost 60 or 70 horsepower. Not sure what it was.”

BUBBA WALLACE — Finished 38th: “I just hate it for my guys for sitting around for four days to have the race taken away from us like that. We’ll wait, sit on the plane and wait to go home. I got two races left. It’s just unfortunate. The funny thing is, the only thing I could think about is ‘damn, I didn’t grab my hat – my mom’s going to be mad my hair looks bad’. Onto Martinsville.”