What drivers said after Roval race
Chase Elliott – winner: “Holy moly! Did you like that (fans applaud & cheer). Oh my gosh. What a mistake. Holy moly. You talk about messing something up, right here. Don’t do that. What a day. We had such a fast NAPA Camaro ZL1 and honestly, that was the only reason we were able to get back in. I pretty well blew it; and got the cautions at the right time, and brought it home. Thank you guys. I made a whole lot of noise right there.
“It’s almost like an away team taking away a win at home. All my guys are from here and obviously Hendrick Motorsports is right over here behind the race track. It’s a home win for most people and that’s all that matters. What a day; I was about as tired as I think I’ve ever been after an event. So, I just appreciate the effort. The guys just didn’t quit. It was unbelievable, they fixed the thing the right away. A lot of times, you can make mistakes fixing these things and sometimes you can even make it worse. They made sure they did it the right way and got us a win.
“(What kind of message does this send to the competition?) It’s our last road course, so the biggest thing is I think we have six more bonus points to continue forward with. A win is awesome. It doesn’t get any better than that. There’s no feeling like winning one of these races. … Obviously had great power today to drive back up through there. What a day. Somebody in the media the other day asked me if this would be like an upset if a guy from Georgia came up here to North Carolina and won, and I never really thought about that, but now that he says that, I kind of like it. We’ll take this one back to Georgia. For me and all my guys here, we’re going to celebrate and enjoy it. These wins are too hard to get not to enjoy, and just happy we could overcome a lot of adversity.”
Alex Bowman – finished second: “(What led you to go to the infield care center after the race?) I was just really sick Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; I felt a little bit better today. But I was just really behind on being hydrated and just kind of exhausted. I was tired and everything was real tingly, which is not a great feeling inside a race car. I got some fluids and I’m definitely feeling better. We’ll be good to go in Dover.
“(How did you finish second after the first lap incident and how touch were the final laps, knowing you didn’t feel well?) I mean probably about lap 10 of the race, I was pretty done and out of it just from a physical standpoint. I just tried to keep digging and obviously, I tried to give it away on lap 1. As soon as I touched the brake pedal it started wheel-hopping and turned around on me. I apologize to those that got collected in that. I feel like I hurt myself more than anybody on that one. But I’m glad we were able to rebound and the guys obviously gave me a really strong car to get back through the field. There at the end, cautions were rough. Under green it is what it is. But under caution, when you actually have time to think about how you feel, it’s not much fun.
“(What happened with Bubba Wallace?) I don’t know if he was mad about the first lap, or what, but obviously that was just a mistake. And then I got flipped off every single straightaway on the entire race track for three laps. I got flipped off by him for like three or four laps in a row at Richmond, so I’m just over it. … (And you decided to take action on your own?) I’ve got to stand up for myself at some point, right? He probably wouldn’t have got wrecked if he had his finger back in the car. But, I’m just proud of our guys today and just really focused on moving forward and being good this weekend (in Dover).
Kevin Harvick – finished third:“Honestly, it was a great day for us. Without all of those cautions at the end, or one or two less, I think our Jimmy John’s Ford Mustang probably still wins the race, but I could see that 9 creeping in my mirror and I knew how good his car was from practice yesterday. Once he got to us, he just rolled right around the outside of us. I thought if I could just get through turn one and beat the 19, I’d be in decent shape, but the 9 was just so good even after he crashed.… (Are you thinking about Dover?)It’s not Monday yet. We’re gonna enjoy this one. We worked hard to try to have a better showing here this year than last year and all that work paid off. We’re closer. We’re not where we need to be with the Hendrick cars, but we’re getting close.”
Clint Bowyer – finished fourth: “We did what we had to do. We knew what we had to do all weekend long. We knew we had to dig ourselves out of a hole we put ourselves in at Vegas. We had a good weekend last weekend and had a great weekend this weekend. Coulda, woulda, shoulda – maybe a little bit more aggressive on those restarts, but, again, you could have got yourself wrecked too. When it got down there to the end and we got our stage points and got ourselves in contention and was where we needed to be, it was time to re-evaluate your situation and where you were running and just protect. We were in protection mode. That 9 and the 88 coming on those tires, man. It seems like every cycle would hurt old tires. I think if we could have got back green I honestly think Kevin would have won the race. I don’t know what, just heat-soaked or whatever else, we were a good bit slower after those cycles than we were before them, so I was bummed out for Kevin.
“(Are you ready to reset now?)Hell, yes. I’m excited to reset and not be playing catch-up. I won’t put ourselves in a hole again. Dover is a good track for me. Dover is a good track for our organization. I feel like we can get reset and go for that next Round of 8.”
Brad Keselowski – finished fifth:“(How do you feel?)That was a hot race, pretty miserable, but we got through with a decent finish and made the most with what we had. …(Did you have anything for the leaders with track position?)No, I think Chase could have ran around on seven cylinders. He was handling so good that nobody was gonna touch him. …(What were the passing conditions like?)You could pass, you just had to be super, super fast and the 9 car was that.
“(Are you ready for the next round?)I’m ready to go have a beer. It was a hot one and we got through with a decent finish and that was all we had.”
William Byron – finished sixth:“(What does it feel like advancing to the second round of the playoffs?) It feels awesome. It was a goal accomplished. We had a good car and we could have gone for more, for sure. But I just wanted to finish the race. I knew we were close on points, so just to finish the race was a goal accomplished. A sixth-place finish is good and we’ll go onto Dover. I know it’s a good track for us. …(How does your mindset change now from getting enough points to move on to next week?)Same thing, we can continue to do this for sure. I have to recover from this race, the heat and go to Dover and have a really good race there.”
Martin Truex Jr. – finished seventh:“(What kind of day did you have?)It was up and down for sure, you know? To start from the back like that and get penalized in the beginning for avoiding a wreck, missing the chicane to avoid a wreck and you penalize us is kind of stupid. We started from way behind there and made our way up. Got to second and just didn’t have a good enough car to take the lead and then all those heat cycles again, I just got really loose. We probably should’ve got tires, but we didn’t expect all of the cautions at the end. …(Are you ready for Round 2?)Oh yeah, I’m ready. I think the team is ready. We had a hell of challenge on our hands today, starting from the back, so to get up to second and be battling for the lead late was good. We just didn’t expect so many cautions at the end. All those heat cycles heated my tires up and I just was wicked loose at the end. The last three or four laps, I couldn’t hold anybody off. Luckily, the power steering held up. That was a good thing.”
Ryan Blaney – finished eighth:“We definitely had a lot of ups and downs. I thought we did a pretty decent job most of the day finding ourselves towards the front. There were a lot of mixed strategies with the way the cautions fell. I messed up really bad and hit the fence and really set us back, but I’m really proud of the whole group for fighting and getting it fixed to where we could make some ground.”
Jimmie Johnson – finished ninth: “We had a good car. We lacked a little drive off of the turns and would fade a little bit over the long haul, but I still think we really were a top-five car. I just made three really big mistakes in the race and cost us. I locked up my front tires three different times, flat-spotted the tires, and we had to pit out of sequence. I spun around once on one of those wild restarts. So, a rally back to ninth was a nice recover, but I’m kicking myself for the mistakes I made.
“(Hendrick cars were fast today. How does that impact your confidence the rest of the season?)Yeah, we’re getting better. Man, it was impressive to watch that 9 car. He had the field covered. If we keep working together and understanding what’s making the cars go, then we’re going to have all four cars where they need to be soon.”
Joey Logano – finished 10th:“(Are you any more confident here now after two races on the Roval?)Confident about what? That we’re all gonna crash? Yes. It’s a mess. …(How taxing was this race with the heat?)It was so hot. It was brutal inside the car. The temperature was up for sure. It was a tough day. It was really tough in there. During that red flag I think everyone was probably ready to pass out in there, so it’s nice to have a little shade come over right now. …(You’ve been off the last couple of weeks?)Today is on me. We had a pretty good car, something that could compete. We were in the top five there the first stage and looked like we were gonna have a car that could contend and then I just made a mistake on pit road and hit the wall. It’s not speed. I keep saying that. It’s not that we’re far off on speed, we just have to clean up the races and today is on me.”
Kyle Larson – finished 13th: “I felt like Chase (Elliott) was probably the fastest, but I felt like myself and William (Byron) were probably the next best. We won the first stage and during that pit stop, I didn’t wait on them to pull tape and kind of drug the crew member out of the pit box. So, I got a penalty there, a pretty stiff one. I had to lose a lap, but I got the lucky dog. I thought we were going to be OK and there at the end. We actually had a slow green-flag stop because we had some damage and they couldn’t get the right front out. We ended up 13th, but I felt like we could have easily been in the top-three. Just disappointed that we don’t have the finish to show for how good our car was. We just had to be cautious and stay out on older tires to try to be ahead of the craziness that was bound to happen. I just lost a lot of spots to guys on new tires. I just wish I would have had more points so we could have come to pit and be aggressive on tires and not really worry about crashing. We’re onto the next round. We’ve been running pretty strong in these Playoffs, so we’ll keep going.”
Aric Almirola – finished 14th:“(How was the heat?)Yeah, it was tough. That’s part of it. They pay us to drive race cars and we don’t get to pick the weather, so some days it’s really hot and miserable and that’s what you train for. It’s just hot in general. We’re inside of a race car with engine temps 250-300 degrees. The cars get really hot, so there’s nothing you can do. It’s just part of it and that’s why we do what we do. …(What did you need to get more?)I don’t know. I think they said we missed by five points, so the strategy we were on if the race would have continued to go green to the end we were gonna be in a good situation. I think we were seven or eight points to the good. That caution came out and kind of put us in a spot to where we had to choose, and I knew and Johnny knew that all the guys we were racing in points were gonna do the opposite of whatever we did. We were the first car ahead of all those guys on the cutline, so we stayed out and made our bed and all those guys came and got tires. That’s just part of it.
“(What were you thinking when Newman jumped the chicane?)I knew he was gonna have to make a pass-through. I was putting a lot of pressure on him there trying to get by him. He was either gonna make a mistake or I was gonna move him out of the way and he made a mistake, but it wasn’t enough. We still had to get more cars, so I think we came up four or five points short.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. -- finished 17th: “Overall it was a clean weekend for our Sunny D Ford. Our goal was to be there at the end and try to make minimal mistakes. Last year we really struggled so I’m pleased with our performance today.”
Denny Hamlin – finished 19th:“Just missed it overall. Having a backup car and having to go to the back and then through that wreck that happened in Turn 1 we got caught in, had to go to the back again. We just couldn’t ever make it back towards the front. Just not enough passing zones. You can’t really get the flow going at this race track, so it’s just kind of – you just wait on the wrecks, you try to avoid them and get the best finish you can. …(Were you more relaxed today knowing you were already locked into Round 2?)Yes. There was no stress. Certainly we knew that we were moving on, but you still like to run well. It was just one of those weekends where if we do, we do, if we don’t, we don’t. …(How much of a game-changer was the new chicane?)I don’t know. I think the track raced close to the same. There’s just so few passing zones really and it’s so narrow and it’s off-cambered in a lot of spots. Passing is just difficult generally at this race track and it just seems like we’ve got to get a little bit better here.”
Austin Dillon -- finished 23rd: “We invested a lot of time and effort preparing for this race, including simulator time right down to Friday night after qualifying. Even though we qualified far back in the field, we had confidence that we could race our way to a decent finish. My crew chief Danny Stockman and the whole team did a great job utilizing pit strategy to get the Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet as high as the top five in the running order. We were looking solid but, with less than 20 laps to go, the No. 17 car was on the outside of me and we tried to make it two-wide. He ended up hitting the wall and me. We pitted for tires and repairs to the left rear crush panel, which relegated us to the back of the field and made it difficult to get positions back. Our right-front fender was flared out so I had to draft the best I could around the banking at the end of the race. We have a lot of work to do on these road courses but we’re not going to give up.”
Ryan Newman – finished 32nd:“I felt like I made a lot of mistakes trying too hard. We did not have the race car and that’s what I had to do. I felt like we were in a position at one point and then just kept trying too hard trying to keep the 10 car behind us and missed the curbs. That was unfortunate. We came in at a big deficiency and finished one point out or whatever it was, but, no matter what, we’re still gonna fight for fifth. I’m proud of everybody at Roush Fenway for the fight and the opportunity that they’ve given me. We’re not done, we’re just out at this point.
“(What happened with Suarez late in the race?)We had a little miscommunication. I missed the curbs down there in the chicane and I was under the impression that I had to do a stop-and-go over there, but then they told me I had to do a pass-through, I guess because I didn’t get it that lap, so I zigged and zagged and I guess got him turned around or whatever. It wasn’t anything intentional by any means, but whether he thought it was or didn’t I didn’t really care.
Daniel Hemric -- finished 23rd: “This is not how we planned to end the day here at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Roval. It was a battle for sure. We tried to play some strategy by staying out late in the race and led some laps. It looked like it was going to work out when the caution flew and we were able to come down pit road under yellow. Unfortunately, we had damage to the left front fender that made it difficult to get the tire off and that slowed our stop down. I was trying to get as many positions back as possible in those closing laps, but the No. 41 had an issue ahead of me and I could not avoid him. We made hard contact and it ripped the right front apart. I had to do all I could just to cross the finish line. That’s obviously a frustrating way to end the day with this Caterpillar Next Gen Excavators Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. There’s no quit in this team and I can’t wait to get to Dover next week.”
Daniel Suarez -- finished 34th: “Our No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang was fast. We just didn’t get the finish we were hoping for. We’ve still got time to get a win this season.”
Kyle Busch – finished 37th: “It just wasn’t our weekend. I don’t really know why we had the trouble we’ve had with our M&M’S Hazelnut Spread Camry. It’s not the way you want to run in the playoffs. We are fortunate that we had such a strong regular season and that we have the playoff points that we have. We just can’t keep relying on that as we go through the playoffs.”
Erik Jones – finished 40th: “It’s unfortunate. We just had three really bad weeks and it’s some of our own doing and some not our own doing, but it’s racing. We’ve got really fast cars. I know we can probably go out and win some more races this year, which is I guess a consolation prize. I’d love to be moving forward here and challenging for the championship. I thought we could’ve went pretty deep this year, but it’s just the nature of the Playoffs. The Craftsman Camry - we were struggling today here early on, but we were going to fight all day and unfortunately we didn’t get that opportunity. We’ll keep racing all year and you know next year, come back and improve on what we can.”