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Graphic courtesy Dylan Bauerle Racing

Graphic courtesy Dylan Bauerle Racing

Chase Eliott - No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet - WINNER:

After the rough race at Texas, you guys kind of needed something like this. Walk me through those final two laps, the push from Erik Jones.

“Yeah, first, how about these fans, man? That's unreal. Moments like that, you have to really cherish. You guys are what makes this special to me. So thank you sincerely. I really appreciate it. Yeah, it was a wild last couple laps. I wasn't super crazy about being on the bottom. Fortunately I got just clear enough off of two to slide up in front of Erik. He gave me some great shoves. Obviously a Team Chevy partner there. Yeah, just had a good enough run to get out front, then I was able to stay far enough in front of Ryan here at the line to get it done.

“These things are so, so hard to win. You got to enjoy 'em. Just appreciate everybody's effort today. NAPA, Chevrolet, all of our partners that make this happen. Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports, the engine shop. The boss is here, so excited to celebrate with him. Get ready to go to the Roval and try to grab another one.

“Thank you guys so much for coming out. Great crowd, great show.

You have had a rough Playoff. Darlington, Texas last week. How will this change the momentum for the 9 team?

“It gets you through the next one. That's all you can ask for, is to have more opportunities. That's really what this is about. We got six more Playoff points to go with that win today. That's a big deal.

“We're excited for these final handful of events. Hopefully we can make it out to Phoenix and give them a run.”

You won in front hometown fans at Atlanta and now Talladega.

“Yeah, north Georgia is not far from here, so it definitely makes it feel like a home race. Again, always special. Never take that for granted. Thank you so much.”


Ryan Blaney - No. 12 Menards/Dutch Boy Ford - Finished Second:

Can you talk about the final restart?

“I was fine lining up bottom or top, honestly, working with Ross there for a while. I knew he pushed good and I knew obviously Michael could push really good, too. So, I didn’t really care where we were gonna be lining up. I got a good push there and was able to get too good of a push on the restart and got the 9 clear and then he was able to lead the top lane. I had a couple chances to move up to the top and cover it and I was just getting nervous about getting hung in the middle with the 9, the 43 and the 1 lined up. I just didn’t feel comfortable going up there and trusting, I trust Chase, but not that much to where he wouldn’t have hung me out for the greater good of his group, so just chose to stay on the bottom with Michael. We had a great chance at winning the thing, but we got disconnected in the middle of three and four. I don’t know if the 11 laid off of him, but we disconnected and let the 9 and 43 get a big run. Mine was just kind of a little bit too late. I’ll look at it probably pick at a few things I probably should have done different, wish I would have done different, but it’s easy to say that now. Overall, it was a decent day. It just stinks to be that close to our first win of the season.”

What would you have done differently?

“I think the only thing I probably would have done different is, one, realize that the 11 was laying off the 34 in the middle of three and four and faded back with them. It just happened really quick and then I probably would have coming to the checkered – if we would have won or not, I don’t know – but got back to the bottom – kind of do the fake high, go low, but he was watching and I was kind of far back. I think it was gonna be too little too late anyway, but a couple things.”

What were you able to do at the end of the first stage to win it?

“The middle lane was pretty good and it worked out to where I had the 2 behind me and just got connected at the right spot. He pushed me all the way down the frontstretch and no one blocked it. I just got a really good pusher behind me at the time with good forward momentum to where we were able to carry it all the way to the start-finish line, so that was nice to win that stage. That was big, especially after not getting any stage points in the second one after I bailed thinking I was gonna get wrecked multiple times – not by anyone’s fault, but not a bad day.”

Any concern when you bailed that you wouldn’t be able to get back to the front?

“I definitely knew it was gonna be hard to get back up front in that stage, especially they just get too wide and it’s hard to get track position anymore. I knew once we made our bed there and then we pitted and then got shuffled after the pit stop I was like, ‘OK, I’m bailing. I’m riding in the back,’ and never saw a wreck. There were no big wrecks all day, which was good to see, but we did a really good strategy to get us some track position there in the second stage of cycling us to the lead on the green flag stop, and then we were able to keep it. That was a really good job by those guys.”

The race seemed intense all day. Were you surprised that there wasn’t a big wreck?

“Honestly, yeah, with how hard we were pushing each other and some big shots there. I mean, I was full cross arm locked a couple times. I think everyone’s gotten better at this speed of taking pushes and what to expect. I think everyone’s gotten more skilled and knowledgeable about it. You still have to be careful what you do, but it just shows that we can push real hard and not really cause any big wrecks, even though I thought we should have had some today. It’s good we didn’t. We had one early, but it was never a big one.”

Were you making sure you had a good points day?

“I had that thought before the restart and then we got going green and you turn into race win mode. For a moment I was like, ‘It would be good to line up on the front row and see what we can get. I just don’t want to get turned.’ But, I forgot all about that. I just wanted to win the race.”


Michael McDowell - No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops Ford - Finished Third:

“It’s tough to be that close. I felt like I probaby should have backed off of the 12 a little bit sooner when the 11 got off of me, but I was trying to make sure a Ford was gonna get to Victory Lane and we kept that momentum up. I wish I could get a re-do, but I’m proud of everybody at Front Row Motorsports on this Love’s Travel Stops Ford Mustang. We’ve got Peak Performance on the car this weekend, so it’s a great day to get a top five finish, but when you’re only a car length away from winning the race, obviously, it’s disappointing. I’m proud of the season we’ve had and the run that we put together and everyone did a great job on pit road executing today and getting us track position when we needed it. It’s good to be there at the end and have a shot at it, just disappointed.”


Ross Chastain - No. 1 Jockey Chevrolet - Finished Fourth:

You’re 28-points to the good going into the ROVAL next weekend. How about that run? You had a lot of time at the front today.

“Yes, sir. It’s really good to come out of Talladega (Superspeedway) with a top-five. We raced up front most of the day. This No. 1 Jockey Camaro ZL1 was so fast. I could push people so well and take pushes better than we have in the past. We made no handling adjustments, aero adjustments or anything on the car all day. I didn’t ask for anything, they just left it alone, and that’s a testament to Trackhouse Racing.

“We won here in the spring, but we truly made our Chevy better coming back here. It didn’t quite work out; I made a few too many mistakes. I just needed to stay in the middle lane throughout the entire race. We really didn’t need to go back to the bottom. We gave up two or three spots, but we were there at the end.”


Denny Hamlin - No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota - FInished Fifth:

What more did you need in stage three to contend for the victory?

“Not much really, it’s just so hard to pass and I know you’ve all heard that. It’s just a train of two lines. You really can’t run three-wide with this car so you just have to sit behind whoever is right there in front of you and hope you can push that line a little bit forward. Hopefully, they switch lanes and you can leap forward. That’s kind of what we’ve got right now so I feel like we executed a pretty good day. Our goal going into the day was five stage points and we got more than five the first stage and not in stage two and then tried to go and get a good finish and that’s what we did. Overall, a good day. I was able to give Chase (Elliott) a push right there and I thought about, should I go with him and force three wide. But I’m on the bottom and I know I’ve always got someone coming up behind me. Then I’d be in the middle and just the risk wasn’t worth going back to 15th and getting stuck in the middle. To me, this is a three-race season that we have and we’re points racing.”

How do you feel being 21 points above the cut line heading to the Roval next weekend?

“We accomplished what we were trying to do. What other guys did, we couldn’t change that. Would I like to have more, yes. We executed the day that we wanted to better than what we started the day. We’ll take it.”

What could you have done in those closing laps to get the win or was there anything?

“I didn’t need much more. It’s a lot more difficult to make maneuvers with this car. You can’t run three-wide. You’re stuck in two different lanes and I chose the bottom lane, I was committed to it. When I pushed Chase (Elliott) to the top lane there, I thought about going with him, but it would have put me middle with the 43 (Erik Jones) and I didn’t think the risk of going back to 15th or 20th was worth it. I just stuck bottom and rode it out and ended up with a top-five. We executed the day we wanted to honestly. We came in here trying to get 30 points and we executed that.”

What is your confidence level going into the Roval next weekend?

“Certainly, this week’s results didn’t give us any comfort for next week. The Roval is always crazy and obviously we need to get our program really good on road courses, but it gives us somewhat of a cushion there to survive the day and make sure we do the things we know how to do and don’t get in trouble. We should be fine, but you never know. You could have a winner from the bottom four and everything changes. We’re going to do everything we can to fight. Live to race another day.”

With all the talk about safety this week, why do you think the field didn’t race conservatively?

“Yeah, we tried to. We pushed as hard as we could. There were a few moments where I didn’t want any harder pushes than what I was giving. I typically don’t slam draft. I typically slow down and push. I think the track is pretty bumpy too down in turn three and it makes it really, really violent and you see a lot of cars getting out of shape. These cars are pretty stable as long as you’re square. You’re not going to get us to back down much, especially when checkered flags and points are on the line.”

Were you surprised that there was no wreck in the closing laps and in overtime?

“I’m not surprised. We went green here in the spring. This is the type of speedway racing that we have and this car will not run three wide. It’s only a two-lane car. You can’t put drag on two sides of it so you have to be on the inside lane or the outside lane and when you don’t have three wide or four wide, it’s just a less likelihood that you’re going to have wrecks. As a car owner, I love it because I had a $200,000 bill here in the spring. It may be less eventful watching, but there’s a lot going on that we’re all trying to fight. You saw with the pushing, we’re all trying to get as aggressive as you could, but it’s all about the line that you’re in at that point.”


Erik Jones - No. 43 FOCUSFactor Chevrolet - Finished Sixth:

“We had a good day today at Talladega. Our FOCUSfactor Chevy was fast all weekend. We were able to push and be pushed when needed and stay up front most of the race. I thought we had a good shot at the win and put ourselves in the right position on the final restart but unfortunately, the guys behind us had some issues and we didn’t get the push we needed on the final restart. Frustrating ending for sure, but we’ll take it and move on. I’m proud of the progress this 43 team and everyone at Petty GMS has made this season. It’s fun to drive cars like this and have a shot at the win.”


Todd Gilliland - No. 38 Georgia Peanuts Ford - Finished Seventh:

“It was great to have Georgia Peanuts on board today. They’re a smaller company out of Georgia and we’re kind of close to home here in Talladega, but I’m just really happy to come home with a top 10. Race car drivers are greedy. I wish I could have gotten a couple more there, but it was still a really good day. We ran up front most of the day and my car handled really well, so, overall, there are definitely a ton of positives to take out of this.”

The race looked really comfortable for you running up front. Was it?

“It really did. I feel like our superspeedway stuff is pretty good. It’s still scary when we qualified 34th, but to have that kind of speed in the draft is a good thing. It’s really nice to have Ford teammates out there. I worked a lot with Kevin Harvick and a lot of different Fords. I was really happy to work with a great manufacturer like that.”


Daniel Suarez - No. 99 Tootsie’s Chevrolet - Finished Eighth:

“Thanks to Chevrolet, CommScope and everybody that helps us to be here. We got very lucky today man. The engine blew up with 15 laps to go and I was barely hanging in there. On that restart, I couldn’t go and the 24 (William Byron) helped me a lot to get going, but the engine was killed. So I guess we had a little bit of luck today because it was definitely killed and we were about to not finish that race.”

At the end, you were just hoping to hang on?

“The vibration was so loud and the engine was holding on. I think the engine was fine, but we didn’t have any power. The 24 (William Byron) was pushing me and if it wasn’t for that, I wasn’t going to be able to stay there.

“A decent day for the No. 99 Tootsies Orchid Lounge Camaro ZL1 team. We were able to get a couple of points. We are looking forward to the ROVAL.”

How do you feel about your chances to advance at the ROVAL?

“I feel very good about it. My goal today was to at least break even. I haven’t seen the points to know, but I think we did that. Heading to the ROVAL, I feel very confident that we can contend for it.”


Austin Cindric - No. 2 Discount Tire Ford - Finished Ninth:

The first stage was a big part of your day.

“Absolutely. Stage points are a big deal. Obviously, helping the 12 car get a stage win was big and recovery from the wreck, damage control and driving back up through the field, I think when everybody kind of scatters to try and do what’s best for them, it’s very important to be decisive and I was able to make some good moves and be able to be in some lanes that moved. Call it 50/50 decisiveness and 50 percent luck, but, overall, it certainly puts us in a good spot to race for a spot in the Round of 8 at the Roval, so we’ll put our best foot forward and have some fun next week.”

What didn’t go right in the second stage?

“The leaders kept snaking back and forth and we had that damage on the front end. I was really slow, to be honest, and slower than I probably realized. I even pitted with the Chevy’s just to make sure I could stay in the middle of everybody and I still lost the draft, so I was pretty committed just issuing a warning to myself in the middle of the field. It was very important to do that to get a good result today and have a shot at the end. I don’t really know why the top stacked up as bad as it did. I thought we would have had a better shot to maybe have a clearer hole or at least be able to get into the top five, but, overall, a top 10 isn’t too bad.”

How bad was the crash damage?

“Bad enough for us to lose the draft. We had crash damage the last time we were here that unsealed the air box and that was probably worse. Even in the pack I just lost the draft, so today I was just slow because the damage caved in on the front – enough to where I was plenty good behind three cars, but not leading anybody, that’s for sure.”


Chase Briscoe - No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford - Finished 10th: It seemed like a very tame race by Talladega standards.

“I mean, it was tame in the sense there was no wreck, but I think that was the most racy race from start to finish. We barely ever ran single-file and these cars it’s so hard to make up ground. It seems like track position is such a big deal and you’ve got guys pushing so hard, just trying to maintain the lane that they’re in. I guess from my side of things it was really racy because you’re never really riding around. You’ve got to go so hard all the time and shove the guy in front of you. We never really got single-file around the top, but I was surprised we didn’t see a wreck. I was figuring with how out of control these cars are when you get pushes from the back, especially the big ones we were having there towards the end I figured something was gonna happen. I’m glad there wasn’t anything happening, but it was kind of a surprise to me.”

Any reason why?

“I think this place is a little bit easier than Daytona as far as being able to kind of keep it under control, but I the teams have done a really good job of getting the cars to drive way better. I think we all learned a lot at Daytona as far as what we need to do to our race car to be able to be pushed. They’re still out of control being pushed. I didn’t feel like I was as out of control as I have been the first three races, but they’re still a handful to drive when somebody is shoving you. I was definitely surprised we didn’t see a big wreck.”


William Byron - No. 24 Raptor Tough Chevrolet - Finished 12th:

“I just struggled there to get to the front. When we would be up there, we would kind of maintain, but we just struggled to get towards the front and were just kind of boxed in there at the end. So, yeah, ended up where we did, and it was unfortunate because I felt good coming in here and felt like we had a good opportunity. We just never could get the track position to stay up near the front.”


Christopher Bell - No. 20 SiriusXM Toyota - Finished 17th:

How was your race overall? Not the result you wanted.

“Just a very disappointing finish. Needed to score a lot of points and unfortunately, we didn’t get enough today. So we’ll have to go to the Roval and do our best. I feel okay about our chances there. I think we’ll be competitive and just have to go there and try to win.”


Kyle Larson - No. 5 Chevrolet - Finished 18th:

“We were able to get some stage points, so that was good. Stage two was working out. We almost got the Stage win; we fell into third, but we were OK with that. In the final stage, the pit cycle worked out well. I just got squirrely off of (turn) two once and lost a little bit of track position. I made one bad lane decision and pretty much ended our race.

“I’m bummed at myself for doing that. I thought it was going to be the right move, but it ended up being the wrong move.”


Ty Dillon - No. 42 Sunseeker Chevrolet - Finished 23rd:

“Uneventful day on our Sunseeker Camaro. We tried to play it smart and stay out of what I thought would be the inevitable big one, but it just never happened. That’s like the first time in about eleven superspeedway races that we haven’t had a big one. But, I’ve been successful being smart in these races. Eventually, it’s going to getcha, but I’ll play that game more times than not.”


Joey Logano - No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford - Finished 27th:

What were you battling during the race?

“Not a whole bunch. We just wreck all the time so we thought, ‘Boy, we’ve got a big points lead, let’s just be smart and don’t wreck and we’ll be able to get out of here with a top 10 assuming they would wreck because they always do. That was the only time I’ve ever stayed in the back, ever, was today and they didn’t wreck. We gave up a bunch of our points lead. We’re still plus-18, which is a decent spot to be, but, the goal was to race for stage points and then drop to the back and wait for the crash. I hate racing that way. I’ve gotten beat many times from people that do that then I tried it and it didn’t work.”


Harrison Burton - No. 21 DEX Imaging Ford - Finished 36th:

Was it just a bad push?

“I guess so. I haven’t seen it yet. I know he hit me and as soon as he did I was crossed up and going side-to-side. I don’t know what to do different. I pulled up kind of conservatively to give him time to prepare and I’m not sure why. He gave me a pretty hard shot for sure, but I don’t know if it was off line, where he was when he hit me, or if I was moving while he was moving. I haven’t seen anything yet.These things happen so fast and all of a sudden you’re sideways. You know you got hit and you don’t understand what really caused it. It’s unfortunate for us. I felt like we had a good DEX Imaging Ford Mustang. We were gonna go and try to make a move to get out front and try and control track position and all of a sudden you go sideways. It’s pretty sad. I hope it didn’t affect any of our Team Penske alliance playoff guys. I don’t think they got any damage or anything. We’ll just try and keep it going and get some momentum going in the right way.”


Ty Gibbs - No. 23 Monster Energy Toyota - Finished 37th:

What was your vantage point of the accident that ended your day?

“Definitely just sucks to be a part of that. I was working with Bubba (Wallace) there and following him. I thought we had some good teamwork going there and I let him in. We were trying to get the top rolling. I think the 21 (Harrison Burton) just got a bad push and wrecked. There was just nowhere for me to go. It definitely sucks, but it could be a blessing in disguise. We’ll just move on to the Roval and go hammer down there.”