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What drivers said at Sonoma

Martin Truex Jr. retook the lead with 14 laps to go and eased to his second Cup Series win of the season, leading 51 of the 110 laps at Sonoma.

SONOMA, Calif. — Here’s what drivers said after Sunday’s Cup race at Sonoma Raceway:

MARTIN TRUEX JR. — WINNER: “I felt like our Bass Pro Shops Camry TRD was really close yesterday in practice, if we could make a few adjustments, I thought we would be good. They definitely made the right adjustments. This place is all about rear traction, rear drive and being able to manage that and keep turning and keep momentum. We were able to do that today. The car was really, really good. Just a total team effort. Everybody works really, really hard. We were awful here last year, and at road course in general, so to come back here – this has kind of been a playground for us before, and to be able to get back here with this car and do it again feels really, really special. It’s really gratifying. We’ve worked hard for this one.”

KYLE BUSCH — Finished 2nd:“I just wish we had a little bit more. I tried hard to keep Martin Truex Jr. honest. I felt like I could beat him a little on a lap, and then I would mess up and he would beat me by more on the next lap. We were trading a little bit, but he was able to pull away late. Overall, great job by all the RCR and ECR guys on this Camaro. I’m proud of the effort. We gave it everything we had. We made a lot of changes. We got a lucky break with the yellow with only three laps on tires. We were able to cycle to the front. Once we got up there, we could maintain pace with some of the good cars and had a good top-three speed race car. Good fortunes for us, and it’s nice to come out here with a second-place finish after a win last week. We have three wins at this point in the season, and this team is really stringing together some good runs, so I don’t know if I want an off week. It will be good to regroup, focus and set up for the last 18 races of the season, though. Overall, I’m just really proud of the guys on this team, the communication, and the way they are able to go to work, work through some of our issues and try to improve on what I need to be able to feel in a race car and pull out finishes like the one we had today. If we can keep doing those things, we will be a force for the championship.”

JOEY LOGANO — Finished 3rd: “You start in the back you’re gonna get beat up a little bit. Overall, I’m very proud of the Autotrader team today. Yesterday was ugly for all the Penske cars, but (crew chief Paul Wolfe) made some good adjustments and got it to where we were top-five speed, legit, and we just had to get there. He made a great call with a four-stop strategy and getting a lucky caution and getting through everything, so luck was on our side a little bit, but also a decent car. It was nothing to go up there and win with, but we maximized the last two weeks and I’m proud of that, so we’ll go into the off week with a bit of momentum.”

CHRIS BUESCHER — Finished 4th: “Everybody did a good job. Our Fifth Third Bank Mustang had really solid speed on the day. It was a methodical race. I thought we were in a good spot there at the end and got a little caught up in the retaliation stuff going on right in front of us and checked us up a good amount. I don’t know. It’s hard to say if we had anything for (Truex). We never quite got to him today, so I think we still have a little work to do yet, but it was a good job by everybody.”

CHASE ELLIOTT — Finished 5th: “It’s nice to get a top-five, no doubt, so proud of that. We were trying to do something a little different with strategy. We had pit about six or eight laps there before that caution. We just felt like our only play was to stay out. I was really hoping that more people would do that with us so we’d have three or four rows. It still probably wouldn’t have been enough, but I do think it would have been nicer to have a couple more rows and a buffer for those with tires.”

AJ Allmendinger — Finished 6th: “We started off pretty good there. We got up to fourth there in Stage 1, and I thought at that point, we were the third- or fourth- fastest car. We were about one lap away from being really good. I got really loose the second run, so we were going to pit and right before we pit, the caution came out. That made us restart 16th and then it was just kind of a dog fight from there. I felt like we had pretty good pace with short-run speed, but I would get super loose in traffic, so I had to fight that. It’s just so hard to pass.”

MICHAEL McDOWELL — Finished 7th: “We ran good all weekend. We had a top-five, top-three car. I think we legitimately had the pace to run with the 19 there. We were starting to run him back down on that long run and that last pit stop hurt us. It is what it is. I’m proud of everybody at Front Row. They brought a really fast car and had a shot at it. We almost executed all day, it’s just that last stop. We came off pit road 12th or 13th and thankfully we were able to get back up to seventh and get a top 10, but I felt like we had a car that could contend today, so proud of the effort.”

KYLE LARSON — Finished 8th: “We fought our way back to (ninth before Hamlin’s accident brought out the caution). Again, there was some people that stayed out. Just didn’t work out, but our race car was really good, I was happy about that.”

CHRISTOPHER BELL — Finished 9th: “The whole Toyota group was a lot stronger than last year. I’m proud of the effort from those guys and I’m proud of this 20 group. I felt like at times we deserved better than a ninth, and then at times we didn’t deserve ninth. We got some good stage points and a top 10 in our Rheem Camry, and we will move on to Nashville.”

ROSS CHASTAIN — Finished 10th: “It’s definitely not the speed we wanted or the balance, we were just way too loose, so to fight for a top 10 at the end for Kubota and them to donate $10,000 to the Farmer Veteran Coalition is a little extra incentive for me to fight for it. Everybody’s tagging bumper-to-bumper there at the end down in Turn 11. It was all we had to hang on to 10th.”

RYAN PREECE — Finished 13th: “Today was a good day for our 41 team. Like I’ve said, we’re moving in the right direction each weekend. I wish we got ourselves a few more spots to grab a top 10. I’m not a road course guy at all, but I always enjoy them and our team worked really hard to make our program better. I did a lot of studying and work in the sim for this weekend. I’m proud of the effort we made and all the hard work from my team. Looking forward to the off weekend and then getting to one of my strong tracks, Nashville.”

AUSTIN DILLON — Finished 19th: “We were strong today, but the results don’t show just how strong we were. I got loose in Turn 11 and thought I would be able to recover, but contact in the right rear from another car sent me into the tire bundle and we spun. It’s just very typical of the season we’ve been having. After the spin, we were last but we were able to climb back up to 19th before the checkered.”

JUSTIN HALEY — Finished 21st: “Overall, it was not a bad day for this No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection team. I feel like we were really good in the high-speed areas and not so great in the braking zones. I felt like we had some speed, but my biggest issue was not being able to pass. We will regroup after the off week for Nashville.”

AUSTIN CINDRIC — Finished 25th: “We worked to make our America’s Tire/Discount Tire Ford Mustang better throughout the day with tire pressure adjustments to make the car hold on a little longer. It was obviously not the day we were wanting, but the last caution really gave us an opportunity to get some spots on the restart and some decent track position with newer tires. Great effort by everyone, but definitely leaving wanting more.”

ARIC ALMIROLA — Finished 28th: “It felt like we had something like the diffuser break in the middle of the day. I just lost all grip and couldn’t keep the pace. I think we had about a 15th-place car today if we didn’t have to come back down pit road. I’m glad we could get it done in the Xfinity Series (Saturday) and have my family here with me to enjoy it. I’m looking forward to this off weekend to relax and we’ll come back fresh and ready to turn this season around.”

DENNY HAMLIN — Finished 36th: “I was really close behind the 24 (William Bryon) and I couldn’t really see where I was going and then I went to turn left to try to peak under him, and the wall was there.”