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What drivers said at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

William Byron crosses the line first after an eventful overtime restart and finish, with teammates Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman in tow to complete a 1-2-3 result for Hendrick Motorsports at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Here is what drivers had to say after Sunday’s Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:
William Byron — Winner: “I felt like in practice we had a good car. I was a little bit nervous about the wind today and how that would change what we had going on and whether or not we’d be as strong, but just kind of the consensus, I guess, in the garage and then talking to some of the drivers, they were pretty confident about what we had going on. I was happy about that. Yeah, started the race good. I thought Kyle (Larson) was really strong. He could stay close to me for a lot of the runs in the first and second stage, and I felt like I was a little bit tight, but just trying to navigate lap traffic and navigate the wind and how that would change the handling. Just happy with getting the first win of the year. It’s been a while since we’ve won. It’s been almost a year, and it’s nice to kind of just get back to what I feel like we’re capable of. It’s been up and down, but I feel like this is what we’re capable of every week. … I speak for everyone in the fact that we miss Chase (Elliott) out here. He’s a big contributor to feedback and our debriefs and he’s a great race car driver. Has a lot to offer there. I think there was a void there, but I think we were able to fill it with just kind of coming together as a team, and having Josh come on board, he’s obviously a great race car driver, too, and I know him from the past. … It was an important day. I felt that for sure. I texted (team owner Rick Hendrick) after practice and felt really good about the car and just wanted to reassure that we’re going to go out there and try to win for him because it was a tough week.”

Kyle Larson — Finished 2nd: “It’s just part of Cup racing. It seems like kind of (count) laps down, lap by lap, and then sure enough, the yellow lights come on. Yeah, you’ve just got to get over that and then try to execute a good pit stop, and I thought I did a really good job getting to my sign, and getting to the commitment line, I had a gap to William behind me, and their pit crew must have just did a really good job and got out in front of us, and that gave up the front row to us. I knew I was in trouble with (Martin Truex Jr.) staying out. I felt like William was going to get by him. Yeah, just a bummer that we didn’t end up the winner, but all in all, William probably had a little bit better car than I had today, and their pit crew executed when they needed to there at the end.”

Alex Bowman — Finished 3rd: “I think I got us too tight in stage 3 and just tried to be really aggressive and make for it there on that last restart. Yeah, had a shot at it, just a couple rows too far back to start. But really proud of Hendrick Motorsports. To be one, two, three is really awesome. Our Allied Camaro was really good, especially Stage 2. Just asked for the wrong adjustments probably. Just excited with the way the year has started, and hopefully we keep the momentum rolling next week at Phoenix.

Bubba Wallace — Finished 4th: “Really thought we had a much better car in the race than what we had in practice. Just couldn’t get the front end to work and we tried everything. We went the other way on air, went the opposite way on air and just could never figure it out so we have a lot of work to do for our mile-and-a-half stuff. Happy for our Columbia Toyota Camry TRD team. Never stop fighting and never give up. I almost came over the radio and was like, ‘Hey, good job, we finished sixth.’ Then the caution came out and I perked up again and got some.”

Christopher Bell — Finished 5th: “Honestly, the finish to that ended up about as good as we could have asked. … Strange day for us because we took off and I felt really good and drove right to top-five and I didn’t feel like I had anything for the Hendrick cars. It seemed like we were the best of the rest and then we lost the handling.”

Austin Cindric — Finished 6th: “A bit of a team effort there honestly. Definitely didn’t have the strength early on in the race. The second stage we definitely fell back even a little bit further. Got the lucky dog, honestly thanks to the pit crew which was able to get us back out front. Caution comes out … just made the car better all day. Felt like we earned a top 15 from the depths of hell for awhile, but going two tires on the restart, getting a good launch and being able to be in a position in the green-white-checkered. So, a little bit of strategy, a little bit of good pit stops – some good restarts on my end and a good recovery. You’ve got to run up-front in these things to expect to win, but when we don’t have it, it’s good to know that we can get back.”

Martin Truex Jr. — Finished 7th: “If you can somehow get a good restart, get to the white flag and they crash, then you win the thing. It almost happened. We were second at the white, we were second going into Turn 1 on the last lap and just got tight and got in a bad spot coming off of Turn 2 and lost momentum down the back. … Could never quite get it where we need it. I think we were about a third-place car, maybe fourth. Just a good, solid day. We’re in Vegas, we might as well roll the dice and like everybody says, we come here to gamble. I was proud of James (Small, crew chief) for that. Last year we didn’t and it bit us. We gave up a few spots, but all in all it was a solid day.”

Justin Haley — Finished 8th: “We had a really good long run car today and this is our Fontana car. We’re one of like three teams, three individual cars that repaired our stuff and brought it this week. I’m proud of the effort and the grind. They hung a body in this thing in the snow in Fontana a few days ago. That’s pretty awesome for our little team. I appreciate Matt (Kaulig), Chris (Rice), and everyone at Leaf Filter. This was a good run for us, especially with the start of season we’ve had.”

Daniel Suarez — Finished 10th: “It was a roller coaster. We had a fast car all day. Some runs were better than others. I felt like at times that we had a car capable of fighting for the win. For some reason, I felt like we had a set of tires that was a little weird there and we lost some track position. Then we had a bad stop on the last one and lost another few seconds. It was a little difficult because we had to overcome a lot. But overall the car had speed and the car was capable of running in the top-five. That is very promising.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 13th: “We didn’t start off very good. We struggled really bad the first two stages. Thought we got a little better there the last couple runs. I think we were about eighth before the last caution, started back racing and just went backwards. It’s unfortunate. We worked hard all day to get faster. The last restart pit-stops didn’t go our way.”

Kyle Busch — Finished 14th: “I’m proud of everyone at Richard Childress Racing for their hard work today. We started the race fifth in our Alsco Chevrolet and battled a tight-handling condition right off the bat. Crew chief Randall Burnett and the guys worked on the handling of our Chevy throughout the day, but long green-flag runs hindered our opportunities. When we did pit, the No. 8 team performed and gained us spots on pit road. We just never seemed to get the balance to where it needed to be to contend for the win. We’ll take this 14th-place finish, regroup and focus on Phoenix Raceway.”

Erik Jones — Finished 19th: “Not the finish we deserved today. The guys gave me a fast Allegiant Chevy and we were running really well, even made our way to the top 10. Unfortunately, we got behind and made some adjustments to free up our car in traffic, but ended up making ourselves too loose for when we were on clean air. We had some tire issues late and that put us in the back and wrecked on the last lap. We just need to clean things up and come back stronger next week at Phoenix.”

Austin Dillon — Finished 27th: “We started the race deeper in the field than any of us would have preferred, and long green-flag runs early in the race made it difficult to work on handling issues. We just didn’t hit on the balance today. At the end of the first run, we were pretty good. Just too free. Then, our Chevy got tightened up and I couldn’t get through the bumps very well. We salvaged what we could. We ended up with damage during a multi-car wreck on the last lap, but luckily, we were able to finish the race. I had nowhere to go. It was a tough day, but this team has a lot of fight. I’m looking forward to getting back on track at Phoenix Raceway.”

Josh Berry — Finished 29th: “It was a lot of fun. Really I thought the first half of the race went pretty well. We were really close, right on the edge of staying on the lead lap or not. We just needed a couple more cautions to just give ourselves a better chance. The second half of the race, we had an issue going on with the throttle or something because every time I was letting off, it was hanging wide-open. I was just trying to nurse it home and keep it out of trouble.”

Noah Gragson — Finished 30th: “An up-and-down day. I felt like we had good speed, just lost a couple of laps on the first pit stop speeding on pit road, making mistakes and speeding again on my pass-through penalty during the first green-flag pit stop, and that put us behind all day. … I felt like we had good speed, just a couple of laps down at the end. We’ll keep working on it.”

Joey Logano — Finished 36th: “Considering how we’ve been here in the past, you kind of expect it a little bit more performance today than what we had. Just off on overall speed. We had the balance somewhat close – just not fast. We have to go back to the drawing board for when we come back here. (On if Brad Keselowski pinched him a bit in the incident) Yeah, he did. I’m sure he didn’t mean to do it. It is what it is. What are you going to do, right? We got fenced.”