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What drivers said after Cup race at Atlanta

Here is what drivers were saying after Sunday’s rain-shortened race won by William Byron:

William Byron — Winner: “Honestly I don’t completely understand this one. It’s a really good feeling. I’ve never had a rain victory like this. … It’s cool. We went through so much throughout the night, spinning through the infield, destroyed the bottom of the car dragging it around the apron trying to stay on the lead lap. At that point you just don’t have the grip, so I was real edgy back in traffic. (Crew chief Rudy Fugle) made a good call to pit there and then stay out, and once we got towards the front it was okay. We could honestly make the right decisions, block okay, and got the lead from AJ (Allmendinger) and just was able to manage the run. Just a crazy night.”

Daniel Suárez — Finished 2nd: “I wish I had one more shot at it,” he said. “With that being said, I had two cars in third and fourth, they also needed to win. If they could pick somebody to help, it wasn’t going to be me.”

AJ Allmendinger — Finished 3rd: “We had a race car that handled really well. Probably didn’t lead very well. We probably had a little bit too much drag in it. But we kind of had that idea that we came with handling, so once I got to the lead I couldn’t really defend because they would get such big runs, but we could stay up front.”

Michael McDowell — Finished 4th: “Obviously, that pit road incident with Martin took us out of the track position we needed, so we had to get a little bit creative there. I’m thankful to be able to recover, but really wish I’d have held those guys off at the end. We had a shot on that restart, obviously, starting on the front row. I thought I executed the start pretty well, but just couldn’t quite get clear of AJ (Allmendinger) like I needed to, but it didn’t work out. We were close, though.”

Kyle Busch — Finished 5th: “It was really dicey out there today in the Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen Chevrolet at Atlanta Motor Speedway. There was a lot going on - a lot of lanes and a lot of options. It’s all about momentum. If you break momentum or have something happen, it knocks you back or slows you down and you get blown over by four or five guys. Tonight’s race was all about minimizing mistakes and minimizing the amount of cars that get by you while you’re trying to make moves. It was definitely a different game. Overall, I’m just really happy with the (car). We adjusted on it during every pit stop tonight. We stayed out on that set of tires and it felt really good. I wish we could have continued. I felt like we were capable of more than a fifth-place finish.”

Brad Keselowski — Finished 6th: “It was a good day. We were right where we needed to be, but didn’t get the breaks we needed. I was really happy with our performance and quality of the cars we had. My teammate, Chris Buescher, did a good job, but just didn’t catch the breaks we needed at the end.”

JJ Yeley — Finished 7th:

Justin Haley — Finished 8th: “Atlanta continues to be a really strong track for this Kaulig Racing team. We fired off super loose, but Trent (Owens) made some great adjustments that got us back where we needed to be for the start of the second stage. It was a lot of fun running second there for a while and racing in the top five. We knew the weather was moving in, and we thought we might have a good strategy there. Unfortunately, it ended just a little too soon, but overall it was a good day for Kaulig Racing.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 9th: “Some guys played the game of it may be raining before stage 2 was over and that’s the chance we took and had to restart in the back, and then it looked like we might run the whole race and then this rain happened. I thought our car was super fast. The Wurth Ford Mustang was really good, just weird split strategy with rain kind of throws everything off and we just ran out of time.”

Erik Jones — Finished 11th: “It was an up and down day. We could have been a bit farther up with some of the stuff that we did, but for the most part we made our bed set up wise last night. So, it was a good day. The car is getting faster each week, and hopefully we keep going that way. I think today was overall a good day.”

Denny Hamlin — Finished 14th: “We were pretty loose to start the day. The more pit stops we had the better we kept getting our Coca-Cola Camry. I honestly was right where I wanted to be – towards the top-five – when we got spun there. I was trying to get stage points – I knew that it was going to be race to the end of the stage, which it turns out it pretty much was. We lost some stage points and finished somewhere in the mid-teens. We didn’t have enough time to get our way back up there, but luckily our car wasn’t damaged too much, and we were able to salvage something.”

Chris Buescher — Finished 15th:

Aric Almirola — Finished 18th:

Austin Dillon — Finished 21st: “We really struggled all weekend with the handling of our Dow Salutes Veterans Chevy. … The car looked amazing, but the balance of our Chevy was tight in traffic and sideways loose at times. We made some adjustments to help with the handling but needed all the laps to get the car to the front.”

Noah Gragson — Finished 33rd: “We started out really tight and (crew chief) Luke Lambert and the No. 42 team really took some pretty big swings at the handling. We were making our way up there and were top 10 at one point. The car just came out from underneath me in Turn 3 and it bent the toe pretty good. The guys did a great job by getting it to where I could drive it and make speed, but our day was done after that. We could have probably picked up a few more spots if the race went the duration because it was getting wild.”

Kyle Larson — Finished 36th: “Yeah, on the spin – I haven’t seen a replay, but I think I was just late and slow to protect the top, and the No. 43 (Erik Jones) must have been just really close to me and got me loose. I spun and got the flat. And then I thought we were going to get lucky enough to just be able to drive right to my pit stall and change the tire. We changed the right-rear and didn’t get the right-front changed. And then that exploded on the apron and I had to lose a lap for the damage. Just had a little bit of a tire rub still and ultimately it just ended up giving out and I got into the wall.”