What Cup drivers said after the NASCAR Las Vegas playoff race

What drivers said during and after Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Round of 8 playoff race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where Joey Logano won to advance to the championship round:

Joey Logano — Finished first: “We’re racing for a championship. Let’s go! Man, what a great car. Penske cars were all fast. All of them were really fast today. Oh, man, all you want to do is get to the Championship 4 when the season starts and race for a championship, and we’ve got the team to do it. I don’t see why we can’t win at this point. Things are looking really good for us. Awesome Mustang, this bad boy, and man, just a lot of adversity fought through the last 50 laps or so. I thought we were going to win and then we kind of fell out and then had the tires, and racing Ross was fun. He was doing a good job air-blocking me, and just trying to be patient, and eventually, I was like, I’ve got to go here. Just great to win out here in Vegas again, and it means so much getting to the championship.”

Ross Chastain — Finished second: “That was all we had. There was a clear difference in tires there, so we fully believed that we could hold him off and win the race on the tires we had, and Joey did a good job of getting through the field. At the end there, I hope I’m racing that guy for a really long time, and like we’ve been saying all year, this is the arrival of Trackhouse, and I wouldn’t want to be doing it with anybody else. (Could you have done anything different with Logano?) “Yeah, I don’t know. Just instinct takes over and it’s all camera based. (Spotter) Brandon McReynolds is up in my ear from the top and just giving me information and coaching me, but I’m the one making my decisions and my moves. I’m sure I can go back and find a few things, and to run the top there and let him get inside of me, I thought I had one more corner to do that, and he just got positioned on me there on the frontstretch , and we were just really tight.”

Kyle Busch — Finished third: “Just kept fighting in it and digging hard all day long. We had a really fast Camry anyway. Not as good as the Penske guys. They really have a hold of this place. We worked on ours all day long and got it better. Certainly, a top-five car and a good third-place finish. Just salvaged what we could there after a lot of ups and downs. Thanks to the guys. They had good pit stops all day. I left a little early on that one so we had a loose wheel, but all in all, we had a good recovery. It keeps us a good finish here and hopefully try to get back in the top 10 in points. That’s where it’s at.”

Chase Briscoe — Finished fourth: “At the beginning of the race, I definitely didn’t think we were going to be able to be in contention. I honestly thought we had a motor laying down. We were so slow in the corner. Johnny did a really good job getting the car driving better as he always does. We put ourselves in position and I wish that when I was running second and Justin (Haley) was in the lead, that run would have gone to the end. I feel like I was probably going to get by him in the next five laps. We had such a big gap compared to everyone else. Nobody else had tires. We were all on equal tires. On that last restart, I just didn’t get the job done. (Haley) stalled me out and let Ross put us three wide which put me in a really bad spot into three. When you give up the lead you are kind of just stuck. Who knows? Those guys were coming on tires and I doubt I would have been able to hold them off but I would have felt better about it if I had the opportunity. We kept ourselves in the ballgame and still have a lot of work to do but we still have a chance. We are running the best we have all year long and that is about all you can ask for.”

Denny Hamlin — Finished fifth: “I don’t know we had a winning car. I struggled on restarts. I couldn’t hold my position. Yeah, just needed to be faster, honestly. The competition has stepped up. My car drove pretty decent. Certainly a lot better than yesterday coming from 31St and fifth in the second stage, fifth in the race. It’s an OK day. We were kind of mediocre hung around third to seventh all day and luckily had a really good restart. We just need to get a little faster and I need to be better on restarts. It’s up to me and the engineers and Chris Gabehart to figure out how we can come off the truck better (for qualifying). We tested Homestead. We have a baseline there so we know we aren’t going to venture too far from there. Same with Martinsville, we tested there. Now that we’ve created some more data points we can lead into next year. We just need a little more potential in the car to have more speed. In qualifying, all of us were kind of off. It’s just something we have to work on. Right now, I don’t believe we’re the heat by any means, but we’re executing well, and that’s something we didn’t do well early in the season. I love (Homestead) for sure. We unloaded best, but the field caught up to us (at the test). It’s a track I love racing at, the driver can make a difference with so many options. In the end, have to execute and not make any mistakes.”

William Byron — Finished 13th: “I think it was the right call (to pit with 19 laps to go). You never know what’s going to happen there. Could have had a better restart. Ultimately just struggled all day with the same thing. Just kind of balancing. I’d run the middle OK the middle of the race, but as soon as the bottom and top came in, I wasn’t great in either one of those. I hate we got loose under (Ryan Blaney), that definitely wasn’t my intention. I couldn’t get it on the bottom all day. I couldn’t make it work. Ultimately, kind of struggle of a day. So have to go to work for Homestead and try to get it better.”

Justin Haley — Finished 14th: “The caution came out, and the tires cycled way too tight to stay in the lead. Heck of a call by Trent Owens. It’s cool to run up there and battle for the lead in the closing laps. The speed of this Kaulig Racing team is kind of coming around. We had a rough summer, but with AJ working with us, a lot of sim time at GM, we’re starting to make forward progress. It’s so hard to build a race team from the ground up. It takes time. Super proud of everyone at Kaulig Racing. Got AJ in the top 10. Good runs. We keep building this into the offseason and hopefully next year will be really good.”

Chase Elliott — Finished 21st: “I did a really bad job all weekend. Not driving the car like it needs to be driven. Not being able to give good information to fix it. All-around poor effort on my behalf. When you perform that poorly, you get poor results. That’s how it works. We’ve got to get home and digest everything from today. We’ll see next week. I’ve got to do a lot better job driving the vehicle to have a chance for it to even matter.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 28th: “Got loose, hit the fence, that’s about it. It was nice we were fast today. Unfortunate the way it ended but thought we had a decent test at Miami a few weeks ago. Hopefully, speed carries over. Stinks to not capitalize on a fast car today, making a driver error but got two more of them to try to make it up and see what we can do.”

Christopher Bell — Finished 34th: “Just Bubba (Wallace) got run into the wall and obviously, retaliation on his side. We got the short end of the stick. The good thing is I feel better about winning (at Homestead or Martinsville) than I did winning the Roval. We’ve just had really, really strong Camrys – really all year long. We will see if we can pull another rabbit out of the hat. It’s disappointing because our performance is capable of racing for the championship, and it doesn’t appear that we’re going to get to. Just disappointing.”

Kyle Larson — Finished 35th: “I obviously made an aggressive move into (Turn 3); got in low, got loose and chased it up a bit. (Bubba Wallace) got to my right front, and it got him tight and into the wall. I knew he was going to retaliate. He had a reason to be mad, but his race wasn’t over until he retaliated. It is what it is. Just aggression turned into frustration and he retaliated. I think with everything that’s been going on here lately, with head injuries, fractured ligaments and all that, I don’t think it’s probably the right thing to do. We’ve all done it – maybe not all of us – but I have. I’ve let the emotions get the best of me before, too. I know he’s probably still upset. I’m sure with everything going, he’ll know that he made a mistake in the retaliation part and I’m sure he’ll think twice about that next time. … I saw him walking over, so I figured he would do something. Like I said, he had every right to be upset. I would rather him do that than tear up our cars in a dangerous manner. It is what it is.”

Bubba Wallace — Finished 36th: “When you get shoved in the fence, deliberately like (Larson) did, trying to force me to lift – the steering was gone, and he just so happened to be there. I hate it for our team. We had a super-fast car – not on short run speed, we were kind of falling back there, and Larson wanted to make it a three-wide dive bomb. He never cleared me. I don’t lift. I know I’m kind of new to running up front, but I don’t lift. I wasn’t even in a spot to lift, he never lifted either and now we are junk. Piss-poor move on his execution.” (At this speed, is retaliation acceptable?) “Stop fishing.” (What is the message you wanted to send to Larson by going to him after the incident?) “(Kyle Larson) knows. He knows what he did was wrong. He wanted to question what I was doing, and he never cleared me.” (What is your reaction to Christopher Bell being involved in this?) “Sports.”

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