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What drivers said after Nashville

Rick Allen and Steve Letarte unpack Kyle Larson's dominant performance at Nashville Superspeedway and Kelli Stavast catches up with surprise runner-up finisher Ross Chastain after a career-best Cup Series result.

Here’s what drivers said following Sunday’s inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville Superspeedway ...

Kyle Larson - Winner: “It’s still just early on, so it could change. I think fans can appreciate me because I do it in all different types of forms of racing, not just NASCAR. You don’t know what car I’m going to be in on what day of the week. I could be in a sprint car like I will be tomorrow, in a late model middle of the week some other day, then a Cup car on Sunday. I think fans, because I’m a little bit different than your normal race car driver, I think that’s why fans so far seem to still cheer me on and like to see me winning. Too, I think they can appreciate my story and how hard I’ve had to work to come and get to where I’m at today, too. I think there’s a lot that goes into it. I appreciate the fan support and I like being a fan favorite. It definitely means a lot to me.”

Ross Chastain - Finished 2nd: “It’s finally on a circle track, that’s all I’m happy about. I’m happy about the road courses, I just don’t really know what it’s happening. Here, I know why. I know what we did. I know what I’m doing to drive the car. Road courses, it’s not really pre-planned. This is pre-planned. It’s what we all grew up doing.”

William Byron - Finished 3rd: “We had a little bit of right-front damage, so honestly we weren’t as good as we probably could have been. We were OK, we just couldn’t finish the corner and just struggled with the right-front all day. Overall, that’s just part of it. It’s hard to start in the back and we learned a lesson there on adjustments for qualifying. Nothing major, just something to learn from.”

Aric Almirola - Finished 4th: “We had a good car, just, my goodness, we don’t have anything for those Chevrolets right now. They’re making grip and they’re getting up off the corner. It’s so hard to race with them. I can roll the center as good as some of the guys in those cars, if not a little better, and then it’s tough to keep up. But we have made huge strides to close the gap. Our race team is doing a great job scrounging and scrapping to build better race cars and it’s nice to come here and run up front, run in the top five and at least be in the mix, so it feels good. We’ll just keep building on it. The All-Star Race was a good race for us. Today, again, was a good race for us, so we’ll just keep grinding.”

Kevin Harvick - Finished 5th: “Our Monster Jam Grave Digger Ford Mustang was a lot loose at the beginning and really pretty good the second half of the race. We got some damage there when we made a little contact with the 24 and that made it a little bit tighter. I thought we were better than the 24. The 42 had fresh tires and the 10, I thought we were better than those cars. The 5 was kind of in a league of his own, but once again the guys did a great job and ground away at it and came away with a top five out of gas.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - Finished 6th: “It was a challenging day. The cars were not easy to drive and even when we were running second there, we were trying to make adjustments to get better and see if we could catch him. I felt like I was a little better than the No. 5 (Kyle Larson) in one of those stages on the long run and then we kind of lost our track position and struggled to get it back. I’m glad we were able to make it up into the top-10 there. Really solid day for our Kroger team.”

Daniel Suarez - Finished 7th: “It was good. The car was good enough to finish right there in the top-10. I don’t know what it was, but in the last couple of runs, we lost some grip in the front. I don’t know if it was the race track, or what; but the guys did a very good job of making adjustments. The car was fast; we showed that a couple of times. We’ve just got to continue.”

Kurt Busch - Finished 8th: “We ended up eighth. We were trying to save some fuel at the end and lost the race for a top-five. Awesome day for (Ross) Chastain. He pitted and got to run hard at the end. I was hoping he would catch (Kyle) Larson; that would have been incredible. We ran out of gas coming out of turn four, but had to do what we could with the Monster Energy Chevy. All-in-all, it was fun track to drive. It was a lot of fun just slip-sliding around with all that horsepower at a new track.”

Christopher Bell - Finished 9th: “I feel like we were probably a back half of the top 10 car, so we finished where we should have. It was a lot of work though. I hope to make it a little bit easier in our Dewalt Camry next time.”

Joey Logano - Finished 10th: “We just weren’t very good. We just kept grinding and grinding to get every spot we could and did what we could to try and get the best finish. Tenth was the best we were gonna do. That’s about where we ran all day anyway after the first few laps. Once we lost our track position that’s where we were.”

Kyle Busch - Finished 11th: “Our qualifying result was way better than expected. I didn’t expect to qualify that well, based on what we learned in practice. We completely wholesaled everything and changed it all before qualifying, so we didn’t know what to expect with our PEDIGREE Camry. Obviously thought we would be better than 11th. We have work to do.”

Austin Dillon - Finished 12th: “What a race! We knew we would have our work cut out for us today in the No. 3 Get Bioethanol Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE after qualifying didn’t go as well as we planned. This Richard Childress Racing team never gave up though, and I am so proud of them for that. Early in Stage 1 we earned some track position but fell back a bit with an ill-timed caution after a green-flag stop. We then rallied to race our way to sixth position at the end of Stage 1. We finished Stage 2 second to earn additional points, which is really good for our NASCAR playoffs battle. Overall, I’m really proud of this team and we will take this 12th-place finish and move on to Pocono Raceway for a double-header next weekend.”

Tyler Reddick - Finished 19th: “Today was all about survival at Nashville Superspeedway. Our No. 8 Joe Nichols / Quartz Hill Records Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE had a lot of speed in it, but we had to overcome a lot of obstacles today. After our first pit stop of the day, there was no grip on the pit access road while exiting, and I clipped the grass and spun around. Luckily, I didn’t hit anything and other than some dirt on the windshield, we were able to keep going after pitting for fresh tires. Shortly after that, someone on the track dropped some debris that went through the nose of my car but didn’t hit anything bad enough to end our day. From then on, we just raced really smart to get our laps back, which we were able to do after a couple of quick cautions. Our car was a bit on the tight side today and needed to be looser, but our adjustments really didn’t seem to help on the short runs like we needed them too. Our long run balance wasn’t bad, but I had a really bad vibration in the final 12 laps and had to slow my pace to make sure a tire or brake rotor didn’t blow. We were able to pick up a few extra spots since other guys ran out of fuel at the end, but we’ll definitely have to study this race and figure out how to be better next time.”

Erik Jones - Finished 20th: “It was a tough day for the No. 43 Black Entrepreneur Initiative Camaro ZL1 1LE. We had an OK qualifying effort in the top-10. We had to start in the back and we fought our way back into the top-10 early in the race, and then just kind of lost the balance from there. Tough day – it wasn’t the day we were looking for, for sure, but we stuck with it all day and got a top 20 out of it. We’ll go to Pocono (Raceway) next week. It’s a place I really like and we hope to have a couple good races.”

Brad Keselowski - Finished 24th: “It was a long weekend for our Dent Wizard team. We didn’t have the speed we needed and then had a problem there at the end.”

Cole Custer - Finished 31st: “Just wasn’t the day we were hoping for at Nashville. Our car was strong and qualified in the top-10, but we had that right-rear flat in the second stage and after going to the garage, we just couldn’t recover. We’ll head to Pocono and try to turn things around.”

Chase Briscoe - Finished 32nd: “We just lost the brakes getting into turn three. It’s super unfortunate. We had a really really good car. I feel like we were gonna be right there for a top five. We just needed a long run. Even on the short run we made our car so much better, so I really hate it because that was gonna be our best run of the year for sure and something like that happens. It’s really wild with all the brake issues we’ve had today. We were able to do the Goodyear test and knew that brakes were gonna be way worse than everybody else thought. We beefed them up and it still wasn’t good enough, so it’s unfortunate. We’ll go on to Pocono.”

Chris Buescher - Finished 37th: “My feelings are hurt right now more than anything. The Fifth Third Bank Mustang was pretty good. We were wrapping the bottom and able to do so pretty well. We were just getting going there, but right before I left pit road it looks like probably a piece of debris from the 77 cut our tire down on the way into the corner. It’s definitely unfortunate. It’s one of those luck things. It’s not like we did something wrong to cause our own DNF. That’s a bummer. I’m proud of these guys. This was a good weekend. We were strong. We had a good qualifying and practice was good. The race was gonna be a really good one as well, so that one is gonna hurt as we look at the next handful of races heading to the playoffs as well, so we’ll go out there and go win a race.”

Ryan Blaney - Finished 38th: “It was not a very good start to our day and not a good end, either. We had an issue before the race and had to come and fix it. Then we had some brake trouble and we came in and pulled tape, and then on the restart I’m not sure if I broke a rotor -- I think that’s what happened because something exploded into one and then no brakes and took a pretty big lick. It’s a shame. Just not a very good day for us and hate that it ended early. I hate it for Menards and everybody in our group and Ford, but we’ll come back strong at Pocono next week.”