What Drivers Said: Road America


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AUTO RACING DIGEST

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Kyle Larson and Tyler Reddick battle it out during Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race at Road America. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

Editor’s note: Due to technical difficulties, there were no Toyota driver quotes issued, and only a limited number of Chevrolet and Ford driver quotes. If we receive more quotes later Sunday night or Monday, we will add to this file. Thank you for your understanding.

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Tyler Reddick – No. 8 3CHI Chevrolet – WINNER:

Q) The two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion is now a Cup Series winner. So cool to see all these drivers coming back to congratulate him, including Brad Keselowski, who used to be his boss. What were you thinking as you were racing Chase Elliott there for the lead and eventually what wound up being the win?

“Well, I definitely knew he (Chase Elliott) was fast, but we could stay with him on the long run. That told me if we cycled through that last pit sequence, we’d be close or get around him, and we’d have a great shot. Didn’t quite get around him.. we were within reach. Thankfully we just waited for the right opportunity and was able to take advantage of it in Turn 6.

“I thought he was going to run me back down. I started to make some mistakes and started to take care of the brakes; apparently I didn’t need to. Yeah, very good shape there. What a day.”

Q) I want to know the significance for you personally. We talked earlier this week, you said we’ve got to put together the last 10 percent of a race. You did that today. Did you sense the playoff pressure, that hey, our season is on the line, we’ve got to get it done today?

“We had to. What better place than Road America? I love the fans. I love this racetrack. Being here on 4th of July weekend is just so special. And just a huge shout out to 3Chi and the special paint scheme we had this weekend. Love that they’re coming on board this year and taking a chance on a young guy like me and we got it done. We won a race.”

Q) Not only is it the first win for you, Randall Burnett; and now RCR is in the playoffs, as well.

“Randall (Burnett, Crew Chief) has been working at this for a very long time and he’s always believed in me. Everyone on this team at Richard Childress Racing has believed in me. I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way; but man, this year has been one step, one mistake away from greatness all year long, and we finally did it today. It feels good.”

Chase Eliott – No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet – Finished Second:

Q) Chase Elliott led 36 laps for most of the race, but in that final stage Tyler Reddick got up there and got past you. What more did you need to hold him off or even get back at him?

“Just do a better job. First off, congrats to him. I know he’s been super close to that first win, and I’ve been down that road and it can be a rocky one. I’m happy for those guys. They deserve it.

“For us, just proud of our NAPA team. I didn’t do a very good job there. I just let him stay close enough to pressure me there while we had decent tires and never could get enough of a gap. Made a couple mistakes. I was gaining a gap there a couple times and made a couple mistakes and let him get back close enough to get me out of sync. After that, just started struggling.

“Obviously, it was super difficult to get to somebody to pass them. It was impressive he was able to get up there and capitalize on my mistakes. Happy for those guys. Appreciate the effort out of our team. Wish I could have done a better job there. I felt like we probably needed a little bit, but I think we were good enough to win, so those always hurt.”

Q) You and I are sitting down right here, it’s a hot day. We saw you pushing. We saw you going deep into every braking zone. How tough is it to try and make a pass and why was it so impressive the pass he made on you when you weren’t able to get back by him?

“These cars are very aero sensitive and even more so nowadays.. even more than last year’s car. As the season goes on and everybody’s car has become more of the same and as we learn what everybody needs in their vehicles, every car is going to become the same manufacturer to manufacturer. And as that becomes the case, track position is going to become more and more of a premium. That’s just motorsports nowadays. Aero is huge, and you can’t unlearn, so that’s the road we’re on.”

Kyle Larson – No. 5 hendrickcars.com Chevrolet – Finished Third:

Q) Not a win, but top-five all day and a good finish. How would you summarize your afternoon?

“Yeah, it was really smooth. I knew the 8 (Tyler Reddick) was really good; and obviously the 9 (Chase Elliott) was really good. I felt like we were third best and we finished third best.

“A nice, smooth day and our pit crew was great the few times we came down pit road. Our car was good enough to run where we did. So, overall happy and congrats to Tyler Reddick. That is really cool. I grew up racing with him in Outlaw cars in California, so it’s really awesome to see him win. I know everybody from northern California is really proud.”

Ross Chastain – No. 1 Advent Health Chevrolet – Finished Fourth:

Q) The streak ends for Trackhouse Racing, but how would you describe how hard you have to drive this car at Road America?

“Trackhouse still had two in the top-five. Daniel (Suarez) and I were just talking and there were little bits and pieces we were off today and we still had top-five speed. Absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. Our Advent Health Chevy was fast enough, we were just lacking mainly rear grip on throttle and in the rights (turns) especially. Got really slick there at the end and those guys didn’t slow down in the end as much as we did. A fourth-place car was where we ran most of the day.”

Q) You had to be a little aggressive out there too?

“Absolutely, it’s NASCAR Cup Series racing and that is what it’s all about.”

Daniel Suarez – No. 99 Jockey Chevrolet – Finished Fifth:

Q) Where do you assess your afternoon the way you had to drive through the field?

“I thought it was fine. For the car that we had, I thought that we maximized everything that we got. Proud of my team and my pit crew today, everyone did a great job. I felt like we had a top-seven car and we finished in the top-five, so I felt like we did a good job with that. With that being said, it’s not a win. We have to continue to work and continue to get better.”

Chris Buscher – No. 17 Fastenal Ford – Finished Sixth: “I am proud of the effort of everybody through this week. We had a lot of speed off the truck again. We are just looking for a little bit more. It is a good thing to be running up front and be that close and try to find a squeak more of speed. It is tight up here. That is a good thing. I am proud of everybody. We are going to stay after it and we will be ready for the next one.”

Austin Cindric – No. 2 Discount Tire Ford – Finished Seventh: “I still love this race track. I wish we would have been a little bit better. It felt like we had a really solid day and were able to make our way through the field after staying out for stage points. I wish we could have gotten that stage win. I feel like I was probably a mistake away by myself in that first stage to get that win, so that one is on me. Otherwise, it was a really solid weekend by the team. I am happy with three top-10’s in a row on three different styles of race tracks. I am proud of that. We will keep moving forward and figure out what we need to have race winning speed in these places but we were really solid and some days that is all you can ask for.”

Michael McDowell – No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops Ford – Finished Eighth: “It was a solid effort but not what we hoped for. We seemed to lose the rear tires a bit too much as the run went on and as we tried to dial rear grip into it we just lost a little bit of turn and then it kind of compounded. We didn’t quite have the speed we needed to run up in the top-five and challenge and kind of slid back a little bit. All in all it was a solid day and we executed well. It is nice to be disappointed with an 8th place finish but our expectations have gone up and we want to challenge for wins. We just needed a bit more. I probably need to be a bit more aggressive in practice of trying things but with that limited practice I am so afraid of dialing us out. We just have a little more to gain and I think we will be in the right direction for the Glen and we have been fast on the ovals too. It should be a good month for us coming up. We will take a top-10 and build on it but ultimately it is not what we hoped for.”

AJ Allmendinger – No. 16 Gold Fish Casino Slots Chevy – Finished 9th: “Overall, it was a hard-fought day. We definitely didn’t have the speed we wanted all weekend. We had some pit road trouble, but we fought hard to maximize everything we could. We just needed to be better overall. Despite everything, we had a solid day and finished in the top 10, which is about as good as I could ask for for the way the weekend was going.”

Ryan Blaney – No. 12 Menards Ford – Finished 11th: “I think we didn’t start off very good. I thought it would be a long day and we just kept tightening our car up and got better and better. I was pretty happy with our speed at the end of the race. It was nice to win a stage and come from the back and end up how we did, it was something to be proud of.”

Chase Briscoe – No. 14 High Point Ford – Finished 14th: “Our HighPoint.com Mustang was good in the first stage. We really needed some more playoff points and those extra stage points as the regular season winds down, so staying out for the stage win helped with that. But once we were fighting back in traffic things really changed. It was super hard to pass and we started to struggle. It was more difficult than I thought it would be to overcome that but I’m proud of the guys for sticking with it and trying to get as much out of it as we could. I think we’ve got a really good setup for the next fe…

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