What drivers said after the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway

Here is what drivers were saying after Sunday’s race at Darlington Raceway:

Kyle Larson — Winner: “This has been one of my favorite tracks my whole career and been really, really fast here my whole career, just usually get in the wall. Finally we have the Next-Gen car that’s tough enough to allow me to hit the wall, so was able to make some mistakes and get a win.”

Tyler Reddick — Finished 2nd: “Kyle and I were pretty close the majority of the day, honestly, and he just got ahead of us there on pit road, but all in all, this is the day that we needed to have. Really just thankful for the hard work from my pit crew, from the team, everyone at the shop. Days like this with a car like this, we haven’t been able to get a second-place finish out of it, so really glad we were able to do that, and it was a really good points day on top of that, as well.”

Reddick: ‘This is the day that we need to have’

Tyler Reddick says he needed a longer run after Kyle Larson got ahead of him on pit road, but a second-place finish after leading 90 laps delivered a nice points performance in the playoff opener.

Chris Buescher — Finished 3rd: “We were trying. It was just we were all running the same groove trying to make speed and obviously playing other games there, too, and Byron was faster at the end and had to defend that a little bit. I don’t know, we tried to start on the front row, what, three times next to Larson, so we had our chance and got close when Brad (Keselowski) pushed us one of those restarts, and just the outside had the momentum for sure, and they were really good.”

William Byron — Finished 4th: “Once we got the car tightened up in Stage One, we had really good pace in our No. 24 Liberty University Chevy. We started out Stage Two really good – we started ninth and drove to fourth. Just really proud of the effort. When we started the race off, we weren’t making any ground up. I was really free and once we got our car in a better balance spot, I felt good about it. I think this is a good stepping stone for Kansas.”

Ross Chastain — Finished 5th: “It was a heck of a battle for the No. 1 Unishippers Chevy team. We needed 1,000 miles to get all the way to the lead. We just weren’t fast. All weekend, I haven’t felt like our balance was super far off, but it just didn’t translate to speed. I’ll take a top-five finish, for sure, and ride home happy.”

Brad Keselowski — Finished 6th: “It was one of those days where it was just up and down. We got up to I think fourth there with 30 to go when that yellow came out and we pitted and we thought a whole bunch of cars would pit and they didn’t. That dropped us back to 17th or 18th and we were able to get back up to sixth but not all the way back up to where we were running. We just needed a few more cars to pit.”

Bubba Wallace — Finished 7th: “I’m not happy with myself. Apologies to Joey (Logano), apologies to AJ (Allmendinger). I think the important thing to learn here is to not make enemies race one when you’re in the playoffs because they make it hell, so I deserve everything I got throughout the night. Just did not execute. I’ve got to be better. I appreciate the team for sticking behind me through all of the mistakes that I caused them. They didn’t let us down and got us back to a top-10 finish.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 9th: “This race is such a weird race. It just goes through so many swings throughout the day and night. You start off the race in the full sun and it’s hot and by the end of the second stage it’s all night time and the track temp changes. This place is really tricky with how the track changes and it went the complete opposite way of what we thought it was gonna go, so that kind of threw us for a little bit of a loop.”

Kyle Busch — Finished 11th: “Overall, it was just nice to get an 11th-place finish with our McLaren Custom Grills Chevrolet for what looked like was going to be a 20th-place night. It’s definitely not the day that we wanted, but we survived with what we could. I’m really proud of everyone at RCR and ECR for fighting hard all day long.”

AJ Allmendinger — Finished 13th: “I’m really happy with the whole weekend our No. 16 team had in Darlington. We made significant improvement from the spring race. Our car had a good amount of speed and we tried to fine tune the balance all night. This was the best I’ve ever felt in a Cup car and a career-best finish for me at this track. I’m satisfied with our end result.”

Aric Almirola — Finished 14th: “All things considered, that turned out to be a decent day for our race team. We had a top-10 car all day and the guys executed on pit road. We got damage to the nose and splitter on that restart in stage two when everyone stacked up, which wasn’t repairable and completely changed the balance of our car. It was like a totally different car after that and I was just way too tight to be as competitive as we were.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Finished 16th: “Anytime we could pit under green, I felt like we had a top-five or top-six car. We just struggled on restarts and then running long on restarts. It’s something to work on, but I thought we had a solid car. The guys on pit road did a good job. I was hoping that after the penalty, we’d get back to 15th. We finished 16th, but we ended up getting a stage point in the second stage — which isn’t a lot, but a point is a point.”

Carson Hocevar — Finished 17th: “Physically, I feel really good. I wish I could have got a spot or two more. The weak part of my game, for sure, was pit road. I felt like I lost four or five spots on each cycle, just trying to maximize lights. These guys nail it every time. But I felt like I was OK on the race track. I felt pretty good and just kept working at it. I passed a few of my heroes that win races on Sunday. I wasn’t expecting that and I think I exceeded my own expectations.”

Kevin Harvick — Finished 19th: “The caution came out and the light was on, and I didn’t think I could turn right.”

Austin Dillon — Finished 20th: “It’s always tricky finding the right balance and adjusting for such a long race. We started off a little too tight, but crew chief Keith Rodden made adjustments throughout the race and got our Chevy rolling pretty good. We were able to fight our way into the top-10 for a good portion of the race, but got bit with a caution flag during a round of pit stops and lost some track position.”

Christopher Bell — Finished 23rd: “We have speed. We’ve had speed a lot and I know that in Kansas we’re going to be fast again. That’s been a really good track for Toyota. I know that we have the speed to do it, we’ve just got to put it all together.”

Denny Hamlin — Finished 25th: “It’s really tough to tell. It looked like the left rear was still tightening as we were gone. It’s close enough to where it didn’t matter. What I felt, I was in a crash. I had to bring it in and just turned the day upside down.”

Michael McDowell — Finished 32nd: “We just didn’t execute tonight. We had one set of tires that just got us really far off. I’m not sure what happened. The car just went really loose and lost a lap there. It kind of spiraled from there. We hit pit road when the caution came out. That’s never good. I sped on pit road. That’s never good. It all came apart. It’s not how we wanted to start, but we still have two more and we’ll race hard, so we’ll see what we get.”

Alex Bowman — Finished 33rd:

Harrison Burton — Finished 35th: “I saw all of that, I guess it was the 99 and somebody else got into each other and by the time I saw him coming down, he was in my lap. Darlington, the way in (Turn 1) and (Turn 2) is when you commit to entry, that’s all the speed you’ve got and that’s all the left turn you can get. I saw him coming down and tried to slow down, but at that point I was in trouble.”

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