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What drivers said at Phoenix Raceway

A two-tire pit stop during a late caution pays off, giving William Byron his second consecutive win of the 2023 NASCAR Cup season at the United Rentals Work United 500.

What Cup drivers had to say Sunday at Phoenix Raceway:

William Byron -- Winner: “You’ve got to have a chance there on the front row to really have clean air on your nose and make the right moves. We were able to get on the front row there and stay on the outside of Kyle (Larson) the second time and have a good-enough restart. Those green-white-checkers, you can either wreck or win. We’ve been on the good side of them for a couple of weeks. This team has been working really hard. We didn’t want to stop last week, and we just wanted to keep it going. We have more work to do, but hopefully this week is a little bit calmer and we can relax a little bit. ... I feel like now it’s strength on strength. It feels different. It feels like we’re more consistently toward the front and we’re leading laps. We just want to focus on our processes during the week. I think our processes this week were kind of frustrating because we didn’t really get to do the things we wanted to do. Everyone was a little tired. We did that Charlotte test. There was a lot going on on the outside. It was a little frustrating going into today, but it’s cool to see that we can overcome those things and still get a win.”

MORE: William Byron wins at Phoenix

MORE: Phoenix results, driver points

Ryan Blaney -- Finished 2nd: “The last restart I thought -- I got to the bottom of those guys into Turn 2 -- that I was in a good spot for Turn 3. I think the No. 45 kind of helped the No. 24 – got him a push down the back and got him a good spot. He had an advantage going in there. Close, but I wasn’t really close enough to the No. 24 going into Turn 3 to do anything. Overall a pretty good day. We got a lot better all day. We finished a little better than I thought we’d run. So, that was positive.”
Tyler Reddick -- Finished 3rd: “I just needed to execute on that restart. Just didn’t get the launch I needed to and wasn’t on William’s (Bryon) back bumper to take advantage of it in Turn 1. It’s very frustrating naturally – I think last year kind of the same thing. I didn’t have the best of restarts and finished third. This car was solidly like a third-to-fifth place car all day long, so to bring it home third is great, but, obviously when you are on four (tires) and you get position there at the end with that restart, you want to capitalize, so frustrating for sure.”

Kyle Larson -- Finished 4th: “We got lucky with the one caution. Team made a great call to take two, get us out in the lead. Restarts are just tough. I felt like I ran William up pretty high. I was expecting him to lose some grip. But he did a really good job of holding it to my outside, clearing me down the back. Yeah, I’m pissed off. Great fight by the team, great car, way better than we were here last year. Yeah, I mean, it’s a long season, but hopefully we’re in the Final Four when we come back here in November and can have a run similar to that with speed and try to execute a little bit better at the end.”

Kevin Harvick -- Finished 5th: – “That one is not fun to swallow. We had a great car and didn’t need that caution at the end. We had a strong car and a chance to win. Just hate missing an opportunity when you have a car that strong.”
Christopher Bell -- Finished 6th: “I felt like the Rheem Camry was everything that I needed to be best of the rest again – the 5 (Kyle Larson) and the 24 (William Bryon). The 24 fell off a little bit at the end and I was able to get him, but the 5 was really fast and the 4 (Kevin Harvick) on the long run was really good, too. Really happy with the consistency. We will keep fighting to try to get a little bit better.”

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Chase Briscoe -- Finished 7th: “I think we overall had a pretty strong and solid day. Starting that far back in the pack, it just takes forever to get up there. I thought my car was good enough – if you would have put it in the lead, I would have been fine staying there. But it was just a matter of getting up there. It takes a long time. It’s like every green flag run you pick up three or four, every pitstop you maybe get one and the restart you get one. It just takes forever to get up there when you start 24th. I thought we ran it pretty good as a complete race. On that second-to-last restart, I think we could have done a better job and been in a little bit better position. Overall, we really needed that type of run. We were fast all day, and not scratching our heads. Hopefully we can build on this and get that going.”

Alex Bowman -- Finished 9th: “It’s been since 2016 I think since we’ve finished in the top 10 here, so happy for that. I have to figure out how to get better here. Obviously, I think our car is stronger than that when you look at our teammates. Fundamentally, I have something messed up. Just have to keep working on it, but proud of my No. 48 Ally Best Friends Chevy team. Good points day.”

Josh Berry -- Finished 10th: “It was a really solid day for the No. 9 Kelley Blue Book Chevy team. We were able to improve a lot from what we had last week. We were able to stay on the lead lap basically the whole race. We had a couple of runs in there that were really good. A couple runs where we fell back a little bit, but it’s just all part of a learning experience for me. These races are so long, and I need to be able to learn this car a little bit better where I can give Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) a little bit better direction on how to help me. Toward the end, we found that we were a little bit on the free side of our better runs. At the end there, we were probably going to finish 15th or 16th, which I was still pretty happy with. Obviously, had the cautions there and we executed a couple of really good restarts there and was able to get a top 10.”

Joey Logano -- Finished 11th: “It wasn’t the day we were hoping for, but we came a long way from where we started out handling-wise and had our Shell-Pennzoil Ford Mustang in a decent spot at the end there. We’ll continue to go to work with this new package and get it where we need to be.”

Ryan Preece -- Finished 12th: “From how we were in practice to how we raced today, that was pretty much like a win for us. We now have something we can build on. I feel like where we were all day today was just a few adjustments away from where I need to be and where I’m happy with the car. We had a top-10 car; we just needed some adjustments that I don’t think we were going to be able to do on a pit stop. Thank you to United Rentals for the support this weekend and I’m looking forward to getting to Atlanta and keeping things moving in the right direction.”

Austin Cindric -- Finished 25th: “I feel bad about the result today. I definitely feel responsible for speeding on pit road under green. It really took us out of contention and trying to make the car better after the first stage. Overall, I learned a lot about the package. I just probably put ourselves in a worse spot than any other adjustment we could have made throughout the day. I’m looking forward to getting back at it next week.”

Aric Almirola -- Finished 33rd: “We were honestly a top-six car today. I wish we were up there at the end running for the lead because that’s where we were meant to be. We had lap times similar to the leaders all day and were making our way up there fast. The adjustments we made overnight were exactly what we needed, so that’s a positive out of another unlucky day. I never felt the wheel loose or anything. It just took off on me and sent me into the wall. There’s a lot of racing left to do before we come back here. I’m actually really proud of the improvements that we’re making from last year. Our finishes just don’t show it yet. We know we can compete up there and we will soon.”