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What drivers said after the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500

BRISTOL, TN - APRIL 17: Landon Cassill, driver of the #38 Snap Fitness Ford, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17, 2016 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

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Beginning with race winner Carl Edwards, here are what some Sprint Cup drivers said about their efforts in Sunday’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Carl Edwards - Finished 1st: “Just a real testament to our team – we have really fast race cars. Those restarts are tough, everybody is so good. Kurt (Busch) does an amazing job, I don’t know if his drag racing or something is paying off, but I have to learn what he’s doing. He could get so much grip down on the bottom. Just a lot of fun. Really good day and really proud of my guys; (they were) flawless on pit road. This is such a special place to win and really proud of my team.”

DALE EARNHARDT JR. - Finished 2nd (on how he kept from panicking after falling two laps down at the start): “I turned 40. Quit panicking. It is what it is these days. You know, as I got older, I tried harder to enjoy what I’m doing, and not get really upset and too out of shape when things aren’t going our way. Plus, I know (crew chief) Greg (Ives) and them guys are on the pit box trying everything they can. They’re the only ones I’m going to be able to yell at. So ... it doesn’t do any good to be hollering at them or (get) upset or just lose your mind, and the over‑the‑wall guys especially, we don’t really spend a ton of time with the over‑the‑wall guys, and they’re real sensitive. They’re big old guys and athletes, but they’ve got big hearts, too, so you can’t be screaming and coming unglued because they don’t want to work for people like that.”

KURT BUSCH - Finished 3rd: “We just battled through it. (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) had trouble at the start, and I was 40th when we started the race. One car at a time. One set of tires at a time. And then we were in great position around Lap 350. We got the lead from (Carl) Edwards for a little bit. And we just kept working on it. And there’s nothing more that I could have gotten out of the car. I’m really happy with the way that everybody worked together. I shouldn’t be happy about finishing 3rd, but I’ll take it. It’s just a great effort.”

CHASE ELLIOTT -- Finished 4th: “I just had a really good Kelley Blue Book/NAPA Chevrolet. The guys brought a fast car here this weekend. Started off a little slow. I didn’t qualify as well as we wanted to on Friday, but we hit on a couple of things right there toward the end of final practice yesterday that we really liked. Fortunately that carried over to today, and I was able to move forward. I hated to have a loose wheel, but stuff happens. The guys did a good job having a good pit stop under green. We only ended up losing two laps, and that gave us a shot to get back. One down, and then trying to get back to the lead lap. It was a long day, but I’m definitely proud of the effort. We’re chipping away, just not close enough.”

TREVOR BAYNE - Finished 5th: “We went through a lot of adversity to get there, but we just didn’t give up. We had a really good race car. That’s what paid off. You can’t come back if you don’t have good race cars, and we’ve got that now. I need to minimize my mistakes going forward, but we were able to make mistakes and get back to a top-five finish. I kept getting on the bottom on restarts every time, but it came back to me at the end. We were able to start on the top those last three, and that’s really what got us in the top five.”

MATT DiBENEDETTO - Finished 6th: “This is like a win for us. I apologize for being so emotional, but this is an incredible run. I can’t thank my team enough. My crew chief Gene Nead and everyone on this team for working so hard and busting their tails for me to be able to drive this race car in the Sprint Cup Series. This is such an honor, and I’m so thankful to all the sponsors – Dustless Blasting, Cosmo Motors, Dr Pepper, and I know I’m forgetting people. Thank you to the fans, most importantly. They are so great and so supportive. I’m just really thankful to be here. This was a great day.”

KEVIN HARVICK - Finished 7th: “We had the speed, but it seemed like every restart we were just struggling to make ground on the restart, and by the time you get to two or three spots back, you battle back to where you were, and then the caution would come out again. But there’s nothing you can do about that.”

CLINT BOWYER -- Finished 8th: “It was a good finish, and I’m proud of the finish. We had some luck which helped but proud of the result and good that the 5-hour ENERGY Chevrolet was able to get a top 10 today.”

RYAN NEWMAN - Finished 9th: “We overcame a lot of adversity today between getting a tire rub in one incident and front-nose damage in another. We persevered with a strong WIX Filters Chevrolet. The biggest challenge for us were restarts on the inside line. It was such a disadvantage starting there. We were very fortunate to take the last two on the high side.”

JOEY LOGANO - Finished 10th: “We just figured out every way possible to shoot ourselves in the foot. We just got some mistakes we got to clean up on everyone’s end. Last week, we had a perfect execution race, and we flipped-flopped it this time for some reason. We got to get more consistent. My team knows how to do it. We all know how to do it. It’s frustrating to come to Bristol, your best race track and seems like typical spring Bristol, something goes wrong.”

RYAN BLANEY -- Finished 11th: “It was good until the end. We should have run fifth, easy. The bottom (lane) is terrible here. You can’t go anywhere on the bottom. If you’re lucky enough to restart on the top, then you’ll move forward even if you’re a terrible race car. We had a good race car and got stuck on the bottom for three straight restarts and went backward. That’s pretty disappointing when you know you have a top-five race car. .... That last run when we were running fifth was our best. We could do a lot of stuff. We got it better throughout the day. Unfortunately it didn’t play out for us.”

GREG BIFFLE – Finished 12th: “We were up in sixth and those last two restarts we started on the bottomm and that just killed us, but I will say that all day long I started on the top. Those last two were the only ones where I didn’t, and that’s just luck. You’re not gonna get the top every time, and the last two I didn’t get it.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – Finished 16th: “Every restart, we were on the bottom. I thought we had a top-five car there at the end with speed, but we just couldn’t break out. Yeah, we never gave up, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

MARTIN TRUEX JR. - Finished 14th: “Considering what we had to deal with, salvaging a 14th-place finish was not all that bad. We had another strong Toyota Camry today, but the finish obviously didn’t match the performance. We were contending and had a fast car. But that loose wheel near the end of the race spoiled an excellent opportunity.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI – Finished 18th: “It was an eventful day. I had a pit-road speeding penalty and recovered from that and got up towards the front, and then (Kyle Busch) spun out in front of me. I barely touched somebody, and the front end fell off the car. We keep having that problem on short tracks, so I don’t know what we’ve got to do there, but we drove back up, and the car was really fast. We got up to third and then got a flat tire. We lost two laps on that and fought really hard with the wavearound and (free pass) and got back to the lead lap with like eight to go and passed three cars in the laps we had, and that was our day. I feel like we were a pretty good car. I was pretty happy overall with our performance, but we couldn’t get it all to come together. .... The speed is all at the top. That makes it a one-groove racetrack. That makes it kind of fun, but also kind of frustrating, because the cars aero-push behind somebody so terrible, that you can’t really keep up with the guy in front of you even when you’re faster in that groove and that’s the only groove there is, so that’s part of the fight.”

A.J. ALLMENDINGER - Finished 19th: “Best car I’ve ever had here for sure. Actually felt like I knew what I was doing around this place. That was pretty cool. I was having a lot of fun. The Gibbs cars were definitely better, but I think we saw a couple of them obviously were right on the borderline of probably having too much camber pushing the limits. Pit-road problem, it’s the little stuff that we have to keep fixing. I honestly think we had a… if you look at the top-five results, I think I was better than most of them. I wasn’t going to beat the No. 19, but depending on where you restart and everything, I think we were pretty good other than that.”

CHRIS BUESCHER – Finished 21st: “Lining up there at the end just got us. We were 14th on the board, and we were lined up 13th or 15th. This track is so line sensitive now, and it’s so hard to pass that there’s not much we could do on the bottom on restarts except try to get to the top and get rolling. It wasn’t bad. There’s a lot of hope there. We had a lot of speed there, and it was fun racing.”
LANDON CASSILL -- Finished 22nd: “Track position is so important. We were good enough to keep it for a while, but we weren’t good enough to drive back up through there, but I don’t think anybody was. You just needed to have good track position all day, and we had it most of the day. I had a little tangle with (Ty Dillon), and it was just a hard racing deal. I kind of went over my head a little bit.”

TY DILLON - Finished 25th: “That finish isn’t indicative of how we ran today. I really appreciate how hard these guys worked this weekend, and they really deserved better. It was a great run, but it just didn’t end like it should have.”

DANICA PATRICK -- Finished 27th: “We really just missed it all weekend with our Nature’s Bakery Chevy. We just never hit on anything that seemed to work. We were either tight or loose. We did hit on something there at the end where the car would turn but still not the finish we wanted.”

MATT KENSETH - Finished 36th, 40 laps down: “We just keep blowing right front tires, I don’t know why. The first one was a little confusing, I knew I blew a right front, but I thought they were telling me it wasn’t flat so I was a little confused. This one just blew a lot earlier and the angle was a lot worse hitting the wall.”

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