April 12, 2024

What drivers said after Denny Hamlin’s victory at Richmond Raceway

Here’s what the drivers had to say after Sunday’s Cup race at Richmond Raceway:

Denny Hamlin – Winner: “I’ve had the best pit crew all year. I liked our chances. We still had Martin (Truex Jr.) – he was the deserving race winner there, but give these pit crews a chance – that’s what it’s all about. You have to have your whole team together, and they just killed that today.”

Denny Hamlin wins for the fifth time at the circuit in his hometown.

Joey Logano — Finished Second: “I had a chance. I couldn’t get a good restart. I really wanted to put pressure on them in (Turn) 1 and force them to work up Truex, but I spun my tires there trying to stay with them and that ultimately cost me being close enough to do anything. Don’t know. It feels good to be at the front again. We haven’t had a run like this in a while, but it also hurts to be so close and not take advantage of the win. I think I have mixed feelings. We had a very good car, a car that was capable of winning when we were at the front, but we didn’t perform well enough elsewhere to get there.”

Kyle Larson — Finished Third: “I just spun around the front there. Luckily I didn’t get completely turned around and only lost one or two spots there. My pit crew did a great job all night to get those few spots back on pit road so we could come in fourth and get one spot out of it. Proud of the #5 HendrickCars.com Chevy team. I’m very happy with the execution all night long. My pit crew continued to put us in position to have a chance to win, so I can’t say much more.

Martin Truex Jr. – finished 4th: “Yes, it’s a shame. Unfortunately, this has happened a few times over the years. We were in a great spot and had a great Auto-Owners Toyota Camry all night. The boys did a really good job all evening. We got knocked out of the pits and then – I don’t know. He jumped at the start and then used me in the first corner. Absolutely sucks, but a good solid day and a car capable of winning, so we’ll just have to come back next week and try to get them then.

Chase Elliott – Finished 5th: “I probably got the best out of that in the end. I honestly never felt like our UniFirst Chevy was that bad. The caution came up in the middle of that one-stop-two-stop strategy, and it put us a bit behind. I had a few bad restarts in a row there, and after that it was like everyone was the same. We ran around there and walked about the same pace. I felt like we found a bit of pace there on the last two runs and were actually able to pass a few cars under green. We put ourselves in a position there to have a good pit stop there at the end. I put a little short in my box. I think we could have been one place better there outside the pit lane, but still had a good restart and got ourselves a top five.”

NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400

Denny Hamlin scored his 53rd career Cup win.

Christopher Bell — finished 6th: “To come out here with a top 10 is something that ultimately turned out to be a very good day. It was such a disappointing mistake on pit road (speeding on pit road). I was there hunting and it was going to be a green flag race there so I’m disappointed but happy I had a good showing for this Mobil 1 Camry. It hurts to have a car so quickly and make a mistake with it.”

William Byron — Finished 7th: “It was a grind today. I think in the end we got the car running really well, we just needed a little more. However, I am proud of my boys for persevering and turning the tide when things weren’t going well in the beginning. We’ll take what we learned tonight and build on it for next weekend.”

Brad Keselowski – finished 8th: “That was respectable. I don’t think we had the speed to win the race, but we did have the speed to run in that eighth to twelfth heat and we did that most of the night. We ended up executing at the end to get an eighth, so it was respectable. We took a little step back, but we will learn from it and get better.”

Chris Buescher — finished 9th: “That’s certainly not what we were hoping for. I was very excited to come back here. We had a good day, but nothing great to write home about. We’re definitely going to dive in and try to figure out what’s changed and see where we can improve on the next go-around.”

Josh Berry — finished 11th: “It was a solid night. We had a very good car and very good training. We didn’t qualify like we should have, but we were able to get through that and regain some track position. It was just little things. We lost a bit of track position and got stuck in the back half of the top 10, but all in all it was a really good night. We have a lot to be proud of. It was a good points night and we’re going to Martinsville.

Noah Gragson — Finished 12th: “We were just a little too disconnected from the start of the race compared to (Saturday) in practice. I felt like we had a really good car but just lost it. I don’t know if going to night was the difference, but I’m super proud of these guys. We actually lasted all day. We started 17th and finished 12th and could never get the car under control, but no one gave up. We have kept our heads up and I appreciate this opportunity.”

Erik Jones — finished 14th: “Not a bad day. We started very far away and got better throughout the day. We had some good spots and we brought home the Dollar Tree Camry in the top 15. We needed a good week. Times have been tough the last few races. We took a day that I didn’t love and turned it into something decent. We have to keep working. There is still a lot we can get better at.”

Chase Briscoe — Finished 18th: “It definitely wasn’t our best night. I feel like this was by far our worst race of the season. I think it’s somewhat encouraging that we were still able to run in the top 20, even if that’s not really the goal. We struggled all weekend. We could never really get the balance the way we wanted and could never get the front to turn and then we would just loosen the rear, so it was just a frustrating weekend trying to get it to do what we wanted. Honestly, I thought, the weather probably helped us a bit. We were able to skip some guys there and when we didn’t have the best night on pit road with green flag pit stops. It was just an up and down night for us, so we definitely have a lot of work to do, which is a bit head-scratching considering how good we’ve been in the past. We were always in the mix, so we just have to go back and try to do our homework and come back better.

Kyle Busch — finished 20th: “It was a battle all night in our No. 8 Rebel Bourbon Chevrolet at Richmond Raceway. We started the race on wet weather tires and had no grip at the first fire. It felt like it took forever for the tapes to arrive. Crew chief Randall Burnett and all the guys on the team worked hard all night to make adjustments, but we were just too tight in the middle and too loose on entry and exit. They’ve had some pretty big swings, but unfortunately couldn’t find the balance where it needed to be. We will regroup and bounce back next week at Martinsville Speedway.

Austin Dillon — Finished 24th: “We had a very good car tonight. Our No. 3 BREZTRI Chevy was fast. We just messed up coming to pit road. The car was in the pit box and if you’re a lap down here in Richmond it’s hard to get it back. It’s a shame, but we’re going to get back to work and get ready for Martinsville next weekend.”

John Hunter Nemechek — Finished 25th: “P25 with our Safeway Toyota Camry. Long day. We fell behind on wet roads. We fell behind on the first run and went into a lap down, but never got it back. Long day. On to Martinsville.’

Ty Dillon — Finished 29th: “Overall, a disappointing evening for our No. 16 Chevy Accessories Chevrolet. We had great speed, but unfortunately didn’t qualify as well as we could have and got stuck on pit road due to circumstances beyond our control. All in all, even though things didn’t go our way, this team did a lot of things well and I’m happy to get back in the car soon.”

Kaz Grala — finished 31st: “We were busy with driving behavior throughout the race. Once the green flag pit stops start you can easily get overtaken a lap or two later and from there it starts to snowball if you don’t make big progress. I think we learned a lot and hopefully we can find something that will work better for us before we come back in August.

Justin Haley — finished 32nd: “Our No. 51 Walmart Health and Wellness Ford Mustang Dark Horse was very good during the day. We struggled under the lights to find the right balance and just couldn’t find the right adjustments to get it closer to where it needed to be. Our pit strategy on the second stage was thrown off by that caution, so maybe it wouldn’t have been that bad, but it was still a tough race. If we come back and the sun is shining, at least we’ll have something to work with.”

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