What the drivers said at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Here’s what drivers had to say after Sunday’s Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

William Byron – Winner: “I felt like we had a good car in practice. I was a bit nervous about the wind today and how that would change what was going on and whether we would be as strong or not, but just a kind of consensus, I guess, in the garage and then talking to some of the drivers, they were pretty confident about what is happening. I was happy about that. Yes, he started the race well. I thought Kyle (Larson) was really strong. He was able to stay close to me for a lot of the runs in the first and second stages and I felt like I was a little tight, but I’m just trying to manage the lap traffic and manage the wind and how that would change the handling. Really happy for the first win of the year. It’s been a while since we won. It’s been almost a year and it’s nice to be back to what I feel we are capable of. There have been ups and downs, but I feel like that’s what we’re capable of every week. … I speak for everyone in the fact that we miss Chase (Elliott) here. He contributes a lot to feedback and our reports and is an excellent race car driver. It has a lot to offer there. I think there was a void there, but I think we’ve been able to fill it by coming together as a team, and with Josh coming in, he’s obviously a great race car driver as well, and I know him from the past. … It was an important day. I certainly felt that. I texted (team owner Rick Hendrick) after practice and I felt really good about the car and I just wanted to reassure him that we’re going to go out there and try to win for him because it’s been a tough week.”

Kyle Larson — Finished 2nd: “It’s just part of cup racing. It seems like some kind of (counting) laps, lap by lap, and then, sure enough, the yellow lights come on. Yeah, you just have to get over it and then try to make a good pit stop, and I thought I did a really good job getting to my mark and getting to the limit, I had a gap to William behind me, and their pit crew for sure did a very good job and came out in front of us, which gave us the first row. I knew I was in trouble with (Martin Truex Jr.) stay out. I felt that William was going to pass him. Yeah, it’s just a shame we didn’t finish as winners, but all in all, William probably had a slightly better car than I had today, and their pit crew executed when they needed to in the end.”

Alex Bowman — Finished 3rd: “I think I squeezed us too hard in Stage 3 and I just tried to be really aggressive and make it there on that last restart. Yes, I had a chance, just a few lines too far to begin with. But really proud of Hendrick Motorsports. Being one, two, three is really cool. Our Allied Camaro was really good, especially the Stage 2. They were probably just looking for the wrong adjustments. I’m just excited about the way the year has started and hopefully we can continue that momentum next week in Phoenix.

Bubba Wallace — Finished 4th: “I really thought we had a much better car in the race than what we had in practice. We just couldn’t get the front end to work and tried everything. We went the opposite direction on the air, we went the opposite direction on the air and we just couldn’t figure it out at all, so we’ve got a lot of work to do for our mile-and-a-half-long stuff. Happy for our team Columbia Toyota Camry TRD. Never stop fighting and never give up. I almost came over the radio and said, ‘Hey, good job, we finished sixth.’ Then caution came out, so I regained consciousness and took something.”

Christopher Bell — Finished 5th: “Honestly, the finale ended as well as we could have expected. … A strange day for us because we started and I was feeling really good and driving right in the top five and I didn’t feel like I had anything for the Hendrick cars. We seemed to be the best of the rest, and then we lost control.”

Austin Cindric — Finished 6th: “Honestly, a bit of teamwork. I definitely had no energy at the start of the race. In the second phase, we definitely regressed a little more. I got a happy dog, honestly thanks to the team that managed to get us back in front. Caution comes into play … he just improved the car all day. We felt like we earned a top 15 from the depths of hell for a while, but we went with two tires on the restart, got a good start and could have been in position in the green-white-checkered. So a bit of strategy, some good pit stops – a few good restarts on my part and a good recovery. You have to run ahead in these things to expect to win, but when we don’t, it’s good to know we can bounce back.”

Martin Truex Jr. — Finished 7th: “If you somehow manage to get a good restart, get to the white flag and they crash, then you’ve won. It almost happened. We were second on the white, we were second in turn 1 on the last lap and we just choked and got into a bad spot coming out of turn 2 and we lost momentum down the back. … We could never get him where we needed him. I think we were around the third place car, maybe fourth. Just a good, solid day. We’re in Vegas, we might as well roll the dice and as everyone says, we came here to gamble. I was proud of James (Small, crew chief) for that. Last year we didn’t and it bit us. We dropped a few places, but overall it was a solid day.”

Justin Haley — Finished 8th: “Today we had a very good car for the long drive, and this is our Fontana car. We are one of three teams, three individual cars that fixed our stuff and brought it in this week. I am proud of the effort and effort. 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 at the beginning of the season.”

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

Ryan Blaney — Finished 13th: “We didn’t start very well. We struggled a lot in the first two stages. I thought we improved a bit in the last couple of runs. I think we were about eighth before the last caution, started running back and just went backwards. It’s an accident. We worked hard all day to be faster. The last pit stops at the restart didn’t go our way.”

Erik Jones — Finished on the 19th: “Today is not the finish we deserved. The guys gave me a fast Allegiant Chevy and we did really well, even breaking into the top 10. Unfortunately, we fell behind and made some adjustments to clear our car in traffic, but in the end we got too loose by the time we were on the clear air. We had tire problems late on and that put us at the back and we suffered on the last lap. We just need to clean things up and come back stronger next week in Phoenix.”

Josh Berry — Finished on the 29th: “It was a lot of fun. I really thought the first half of the race went pretty well. We were very close, on the edge of being on the lead lap or not. We just needed a few more cautions to give ourselves a better chance. In the second half of the race , we had trouble with the gas or something because every time I eased in, it was wide open. I was just trying to nurse him home and keep him out of trouble.”

Noah Gragson — Finished on the 30th: “Uphill Day. I felt like we had good speed, we just lost a few laps at the first pit stop racing down the pit road, making mistakes and speeding again due to my passing penalty during the first green flag stop, and that put us behind everyone day. … I felt we had good speed, just a few laps down at the end. We will continue to work on it.”

Joey Logano — Finished 36th: “Given how we’ve been here in the past, you expect a bit more performance today than what we had. A little less than total speed. We had the balance somewhat close – just not quickly. We have to go back to the drawing board when we get back here. (On if Brad Keselowski pinched him a bit in the incident) Yes, he did. I’m sure he didn’t mean to do that. It is, as it is. What are you going to do, right? We fenced ourselves off.”

Read more about NASCAR

Josh Berry finishes 29th for Chase Elliott in Las Vegas NASCAR Cup Series Results: William Byron wins in Las Vegas William Byron wins the NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

What the drivers said at Las Vegas Motor Speedway originally appeared on NBCSports.com

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