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What drivers said after Cup race at Circuit of the Americas

Ross Chastain, AJ Allmendinger, and Alex Bowman fight it out on the last lap at Circuit of the Americas and Chastain takes the checkered for his first career Cup win, as he celebrates with his signature watermelon smash.

Here is what Cup drivers had to say after Sunday’s Cup race at Circuit of the Americas:
ROSS CHASTAIN — Winner: “To go up against some of the best with AJ (Allmendinger) - I mean, I know he is going to be upset with me; but we raced hard, both of us, and he owes me one. But when it comes to a Cup win, man, I can’t let that go down without a fight. … (Crew chief) Phil Surgen, man. He is so good. People don’t know how good this group is. I can’t believe Justin Marks hired me to drive this car. … I don’t know how we got back by. I was so worried about AJon the second-to-last restart that I let Tyler (Reddick) drive right by both of us. And AJ is so good. I’ve learned so much from him. And it was like how do you go beat the guy? He taught me so much. I’ve learned so much from so many people from 417 Speedway back home with my dad.I was thinking about on those late restarts, my dad used to make me race on old tires, and back then I was not going to win. It was in my head before I even started. It crossed my mind, like, We’re not going to win, we’re on old tires, but I couldn’t think that way. I thought neutral. Chevrolet, everything they do for me gave me the tools to try to go execute and we did it.”

ALEX BOWMAN — Finished 2nd: “I’ve been trying to do a better job as a race car driver at these road courses, and I felt like from where we started the weekend, I accomplished that. So proud of Greg (Ives) and all the guys. Hate that we can’t come away with a win, but happy for Ross getting his first win. It’s been a crap weekend, so I’m ready to get home and see the dogs and move on to next weekend. Glad to come away with a second-place finish.”

CHRISTOPHER BELL — Finished 3rd: “It was a hard fought day that’s for sure. Losing power steering wasn’t ideal. I picked up an issue early on in the race, and I knew something wasn’t right and eventually lost power steering a couple laps later. That wasn’t good, but this 20 group did amazing getting us back out there. The DeWalt Camry was really strong on restarts. I was always able to pick off a couple spots and that’s ultimately how we got our finish.”

CHASE ELLIOTT — Finished 4th: “Yeah, I didn’t really have to do anything. They just kind of wrecked and they were out of the way so I just kind of ran it on the road and I got a free couple of positions, so I will take it. … I messed up earlier in the race (in contact with Kyle Busch). I got crossed up in the braking zone and hit him. Obviously, we were racing for last and probably weren’t even racing for stage points and I think he knows me better than that. But yeah, that was completely on me.”

TYLER REDDICK — Finished 5th: “Just didn’t get a good launch off Turn 1. And just almost had the 1 car cleared but didn’t quite. We were really on the loose side all day long and that make us pretty susceptible to getting aggressive at the end. So, was just easy to get moved around there and that was kind of a problem I had all day. Just a little bit of pressure I had from anybody, and the back of this car was out of the track. It could get through the esses pretty good and could do a lot of things really well, but we just missed it in a little way where if we had to battle with other cars in traffic, it was really hard to get the good launch off the corner and complete a pass or really battle hard. So, it was tough, but we will learn from it and go back to the simulator and go back to work.”

RYAN BLANEY — Finished 6th: “It was a hot day for sure. We got done with the first stage and it was hot. We were close to winning the first stage, but I just couldn’t get to (Daniel) Suarez. We ended up fourth in that second stage and that kind of put us back behind the eight ball and make our way through the field. We stayed out on old tires and were able to maintain track position pretty good there at the start of the third stage. Then we lost a bunch of spots on pit road when we had to wait on gas. We drove back up through there and just kind of survived. I thought our car was pretty decent. It is so hard surviving restarts and trying not to get turned. Overall it wasn’t a bad day. We got some stage points, so that is good.”

MARTIN TRUEX JR. — Finished 7th: “It was just a battle. We never could get the car where we needed it. I was definitely worried after practice – I was not feeling too good. Your hands are so tied to these things with these short practices. We just battled all day and fought on and got a decent finish but no stage points, so just a so-so day for this Bass Pro Shops Toyota team.”

AUSTIN CINDRIC — Finished 8th: “On paper, it is pretty simple, right? Qualify 10th, first stage 10th. Second stage ninth, finish eighth. Easy right? It is definitely not that. A lot of adversity to overcome. I put some of it on me and some of it is just circumstantial I guess. They are tricky cars to drive and tricky to try to out-brake somebody. There were a lot of people out-braking themselves. Either way, a really strong effort by the Discount Tire Ford Mustang. We had the pace to run inside the top-three today and lead laps. I am just happy we got stage points and a top-10. That is what I wanted to come away with today and that is what we got.”

Erik Jones Finished 9th: “Wild day for our FOCUSfactor team. Dave (Elenz, crew chief) definitely made our car better from where we started the weekend at. We made adjustments before the race, which sent us to the rear, but we were quickly able to move ourselves forward. I made it inside the top 10 by the halfway point and then with just over 20 laps to go, the car lost all power and we went a lap down. The Petty GMS and ECR Engines guys quickly diagnosed and resolved the issue for us to continue. A quick yellow allowed us to receive the free pass and return to the lead lap, putting us back in contention for a solid result. To finish ninth and get our second top-10 of the year after everything that we went through today says a lot about our No. 43 team. I’m very proud of the hard work that is being put in.”
AUSTIN DILLON — Finished 10th: “Finished top 10 and we were really good on those restarts at the end. Came from a long way back. You know we had a little pit trouble that sent us back, but we were able to just keep going and get all the way up there to finish where we needed to. Luckily these races are really long, so you can’t let an early penalty get you down. Just stay focused and we were able to progress and make the car better. To come back after two bad races getting taken out kind of out of our own hands, we kept this one in our hands all day and it was wild there at the end. It feels great to get a top 10. Probably not our best track that we would look forward to coming to and it’s becoming better and better for us. Really proud of our guys and the effort that we put in our Bennett Chevrolet.”

WILLIAM BYRON — Finished 12th: “Tough day. Definitely put us behind with the speeding penalty. We were going to cycle out there in between AJ (Allmendinger) and (Tyler)n Reddick and messed it up on my part. I thought our car was decent all day. Definitely some things to work on, but good to come home 12th, get a solid finish and we’ll be good at Richmond and Martinsville. Looking forward to it.”

COLE CUSTER — Finished 23rd: “We had speed, so that was good. I wish we had ended up better with One Cure on the car and all the donations and everything. It is just frustrating, everything about it in the second half of the race. We got spun and we should have ended up way better.”

Ty Dillon — Finished 24th: “I’m proud of our team for fighting through adversity for another top-20 finish. After a tough qualifying effort, I knew we had our work cut out for us. The car started off so soft in the rear that the front wouldn’t have any grip and I would lose traction in the rear tires. I picked up some damage on restarts when we would fan out to three and four wide, but despite the contact, I was able to keep wheeling it. I think the damage might have actually helped us with the handling. I have confidence in our No. 42 team and once we get the speed in our cars, I know our Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will be running up front.”
CHASE BRISCOE — Finished 30th: “We were able to keep making the car better through the race and at the end there it felt like we had a chance. The 1 (Ross Chastain) kind of ran me off, and I was trying to get back to him and made a mistake and let the 16 (AJ Allmendinger) by. Then I locked the left front up on a restart and from there every restart after we were just trying to hold on and we blew the right front on the last restart. We had another really fast Mustang, which is encouraging. We had the speed and we were able to run up front again. We just need to put it all together. That has been the story all year long. If we can put the whole thing together we are really tough. That is what we did in Phoenix and we just need to continue doing that.”

JOEY LOGANO — Finished 31st: “It was up, down, down and more down kind of day. We got stage points, which thank goodness we got something. We got dumped by the 17 (Chris Buescher). Then we started recovering and had a loose wheel and started to recover again and got back up to 10th and then got dumped again. Then the toe got broken and everything else was bad. I limped it around and finished, I don’t even know where I finished but it was just kind of one of those days.”

AJ Allmendinger — Finished 33rd: “At the end of the day, we all have to look ourselves in the mirror. If you are okay with it, you’re okay with it. Each person is different. More than anything, proud of Kaulig Racing. Action Industry Chevy was so fast. If we had a long run, nobody was going to touch us. So pit stops are great. Everybody at Kaulig Racing, all the men and women, it’s just a lot of sleepless nights for them right now trying to just get these cars to the next race. So, I was doing everything I could do to try to sweep the weekend for them. We were that close. So like I said, at the end of the day each person has to make the move that they’re comfortable with, and that’s fine. So we’ll -- at the end of the day it’s -- we know we had a shot to win the race. It’s tough to win a Cup race, so when you put yourself in a position to legitimately run up front all day and have a shot to win it, it’s a pretty great day. Unfortunately, just we needed about two more corners.”

JOEY HAND — Finished 35th: “We were trying to find our way a little bit and trying to make sure that the car didn’t have any issues from that tire, so I was a little timid with it and just working on it in the first stage. We had a struggle on power-down but we were really good on brakes. I could catch up to guys, but I just couldn’t get in the mix. Guys were bringing good changes. We kept changing the air pressure and wedge and got it going pretty good actually. Before these last couple of cautions, we had moved through guys fast. We moved through half the field. Then I just got pogo’d. I got wrecked early on. They come down inside and hit us pretty hard over in 11 and then this last one was just chaos with guys going down inside. I was on the inside and guys were pulling down four-wide and it was just everybody hitting everybody. I ended up getting a piece of the 11 (Denny Hamlin), I know that. I guess me and the 5 (Kyle Larson) got a piece of the 11 but it was just soft in there. That corner, Turn 1, it just gets four wide and you get pushed in there. It is down in tight and you are locked up. We took some hard hits to the front and that last one was enough to bend something in the right front. We thought it was a flat tire but we actually bent something. It was a good day at times but ended up as a bad day, really.”