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What drivers said after William Byron won at COTA

NOTE: NASCAR disqualified the No. 51 after post-race inspection for a failure to meet minimum post-race weights, Section 14.11.2 of the NASCAR Rule Book.

Here’s what drivers were saying after William Byron held off Christopher Bell at Circuit of the Americas.

William Byron — Winner: “Yeah, (Bell) was really fast at the end. The Toyotas had the long run speed kind of all weekend, so for us, it was just trying to get a gap on the short run; manage our tires and just kind of keep our car in a good spot. I definitely gave up a lot of time the last five laps, so we still have work to do.”

Christopher Bell — Finished 2nd: “Yeah. I mean, obviously once I got to him, it was going to be tough to pass him, but just needed a couple of mistakes. William has been really, really good on the road courses, and he was flawless when it mattered today.”

William Byron scored his second Cup victory of the season Sunday at Circuit of the Americas

Ty Gibbs — Finished 3rd: “Yeah, we were just a little too loose in the right-handed corner. I just wish we were a little tighter, but we did a really good job today. My team did a great job. All props to them.”

Alex Bowman — Finished 4th: “I wouldn’t say I am worn out; I am just bummed. Probably just got stuck out in traffic after our last pit stop. It was a bad spot that I had to run too hard on low air and beat the rear tires up. Kind of inched in on William (Byron) for a bit, but then the rear tires just went away. Yeah, definitely had to manage it some. Definitely some tire fall off here.”

Tyler Reddick — Finished 5th: “I didn’t feel like we were really bad in any one spot — it seemed like we were just decent. I would run were they would put me. I feel like we got behind when I made the mistake at the beginning of stage three, that kind of hurt us for a bit after we came back out on tires there in stage three. I thought we were pretty good, but I don’t know. We will go to work on it and see what we were missing, but a little bit adds up a lot on this big race track.”

AJ Allmendinger — Finished 6th: “It was a really solid day for the No. 16 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevy team. We started 14th and got up into the top six or seven. Track position is so critical. On one of the pit stops, we got hung up there and lost about five or six spots, and that kind of put us to the next group of cars. We were able to fight back through that. Just really proud of everybody at Kaulig Racing. Of course you always want to win, but it went about as good as it could.”

Ross Chastain — Finished 7th: “It was an uneventful day for the No. 1 Worldwide Express Chevy team. We flipped each stage and that kept us up front. When we had the lead, it was the same as all day; just too loose and couldn’t hold William (Byron) off. He was obviously really strong. We made a swing at a big adjustment there at the end on that final green-flag stop and it went the wrong way. It definitely hurt our car. We dropped back a long ways from where we were, but I’m proud of the effort. Proud of the rebound in speed for me and this No. 1 car.”

Chris Buescher — Finished 8th: “We were behind the eight ball to get started there, having to drop to the rear. We had a freak deal happen with a parts failure in practice and qualifying. That was unfortunate but I am proud of everybody on this Fastenal Ford Mustang team to pick ‘em off all day long. That was the name of the game. We knew we would be in a really tough spot all day and we knew we would need a handful of things to fall our way if we were going to compete for a win. I am proud of the top 10 finish. We had some big gains. We have some stuff that we learned and we will be better next time.”

Kyle Busch — Finished 9th: “We had a good finish today in the Mark III Employee Benefits Chevrolet and our guys on pit road were consistent all day. Early in the race, we were loose and losing a lot of grip on the long run. We worked our way into the top-five early in Stage 2 when we got spun out and lost a lot of track position, which put us behind. Crew chief Randall Burnett all the guys on the No. 8 team made great calls, especially on fuel mileage at the end of the race. Hopefully, this gets us back on track.”

Joey Logano — Finished 11th: “We passed a few cars and then we always flipped the stages. We were trying to go for a finish. 11th, the way our season has gone so far, we will take that and start scratching and clawing our way up in the points. We probably left a few out there with the stages but overall we had decent pace at the end. Nothing to win with but something we can run with in the top 10 if we were up there. On to Richmond. I am looking forward to that one.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 12th: “We didn’t start great. We got some stage points in Stage 2 and then the start of Stage 3 we were really good and drove up to the low teens and I spun out passing somebody into 11. That set us back. Then we drove back through the field to finish 12th. I thought we got pretty decent at the end, we just didn’t start up front. Spinning out didn’t help. We probably could have run seventh or eighth but we still have some work to do.”

Chase Briscoe — Finished 13th: “Our race was overall okay. I felt like, starting 31st that for the first couple of laps we were able to drive up to 17th and were going to be in a really good spot coming to the end of Stage 1. I bottomed out really hard into the esses and it made me miss a corner and that really changed the whole complexity of our race. I had to go to the back and then drove back up there to the top 10. At the end with eight to go I made a huge mistake and got in the dirt in Turn 8 and allowed those guys to all swallow me up those last couple of laps. I thought we made our Mustang better through the day. I thought we had a solid 10th place car but we don’t really have anything else for the rest of the guys.”

Justin Haley — Disqualified: “We had an okay day. I thought we did everything right up until the end when we had a slow pit stop and kind of faded from there. I am really happy with the results we are getting. We have such a small team and we are trying as hard as we can. I appreciate everyone at Ford and RFK for giving us the information they give us and I am glad we are starting to apply it.”

There have been 25 different winners in 77 points races in the Next Gen era.

Shane van Gisbergen — Finished 20th: “Tough day for our WeatherTech team. We battled some issues all day and could just never overcome everything. I appreciate all the hard work from everyone at Kaulig and Trackhouse. We will try again at Talladega in a few weeks.”

John Hunter Nemechek — Finished 21st: “Good finish, I guess. We always want more. Thank you to Romco. Thank you to all of our partners for getting us to the race track and everyone at Legacy Motor Club. Looking forward to Richmond next weekend — it’s a good race track for me, so let’s do it.”

Ryan Preece — Finished 23rd: “We just could never get track position. Every time we went up there we’d get spun or wrecked or whatever. I felt like we had a pretty good racecar, just nothing to show for it.”

Austin Dillon — Finished 25th: “The No. 3 Get Bioethanol Chevy team obviously didn’t get the finish that we wanted at COTA. We got fifth-place stage points, and then had to come from the rear. We got damage on the front-end, and we just never really recovered from that. We got spun and then had to save fuel that last run. We have to figure out what we could have done better so we could have gone hard that last run. We’ll just keep plugging along.”

Kamui Kobayashi — Finished 29th: “Overall, I feel pretty good. I feel comfortable in the car. The pace was good, just no yellow. Second time, no yellow in my race. Two shots — and there is no yellow. It is a little bit disappointing, but at least, I enjoyed it and my Mobil 1 Camry felt good and the pace was there. It was a big shame because the incidents damaged my race.”

Erik Jones — Finished 32nd: “Just an overall rough weekend, didn’t have the pace we needed with our Family Dollar Toyota, and we didn’t have the chance to try to capitalize on strategy since the race ran green. We learned a lot in our first road course of the year, so hopefully we can be better next time.”

Noah Gragson — Finished 34th: “We struggled from the get-go. We made some spots up at the beginning of the race and then fell back. Was kind of off the pace and knew we were probably worse than we were in practice, so we decided to come down pit road at the end of stage two and make some extensive changes to the setup, just wholesaling it and throwing everything we could at it. We were hoping to get a caution there at the end to get racked back up, but never did. Definitely a brutal day, but still proud of everyone on this team. A long day with nothing to show for it.”

Josh Berry — Finished 35th: “We got better throughout the race. Our lap times were pretty good at the end. We just needed some more cautions to bunch everything up and help our odds. It was a tough weekend and going into it we knew it would be hard, but we learned a lot and we’ll be better for the next one.”

Daniel Hemric — Finished 37th: “Really unfortunate final stage for us after a decent first two stages. I felt pretty good about our No. 31 Cirkul Chevy, and we even got a couple of stage points. We just got hit hard and had to nurse it until the end. Hopefully we can turn our luck around next week at Richmond.”