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Quotable: Drivers talk after Kobalt 400

Kevin Harvick

Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet

First

“It’s so cool to win here in Las Vegas, and (starting) this West Coast swing off this way is pretty awesome. Just to be in front of all these fans I’ve raced in front of since about the mid-’90s. It’s pretty special to win here.”

Martin Truex Jr.

Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Chevy

Second

“I was proud that we fought the way we did. We were off a bit at the start of the race and got better throughout the day. At the end of the day, we were the best that we were all day. Those guys (Harvick) have been really strong for a year, and we are just getting our stuff rolling. Hopefully, we’ll get our Chevrolet tuned up and be able to run with them soon.”

Ryan Newman

Richard Childress Racing No. 31 Chevy

Third

“We improved throughout the entire race, and I’m satisfied only because we’re improving. I’m not satisfied because we didn’t win.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevy

Fourth

“We think we’ve got the cars better than we had last year. Hendrick, overall, has great speed. The engine department is doing awesome, and we’re going to get one. I want to win. We’re going to get there.”

Denny Hamlin

Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota

Fifth

“Daytona we ran fourth, Atlanta we probably should have run fourth if I didn’t wreck, and here we were fourth to fifth. So I think we know where our program is at right now. We’ve just got to get a little bit more speed and we’ll be able to race these guys, but right now we just need to optimize our weekends, finish where we’re supposed to and execute.”

AJ Allmendinger

JTG Daugherty Racing No. 47 Chevy

Sixth

“Feeling like this is probably one of our best races we have had. Something, hopefully, we can keep building off of.”

Brad Keselowski

Team Penske No. 2 Ford

Seventh

“We played the strategy there at the end hoping to catch some kind of break and maybe steal a win. It just didn’t play out. I thought we were probably about a second- or third-place car at times.”

Kyle Larson

Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevy

Eighth

“We can definitely build off this. The first two weeks we were strong, but didn’t get the finishes (34th at Daytona and 26th at Atlanta) we deserved. I’m happy that we could recover from that and get a top-10 finish here in Vegas.”

Joey Logano

Team Penske No. 22 Ford

10th

“That was a poorly executed race on my behalf. I didn’t do a good job. I did a good job of screwing up any time I could. The speeding on pit road – I found that. I put us in a hole. Not that we were going to win the race either way because we weren’t fast enough, but I maybe cost us two or three positions with what I did.”

Paul Menard

Richard Childress Racing No. 27 Chevy

12th

“My guys worked hard all day to get the car where we needed it, and by the end of the race it was a fast Quaker State/Menards Chevy. We definitely learned some things today we will remember for the next couple of races.”

Greg Biffle

Roush Fenway Racing No. 16 Ford

14th

“Handling was a battle today. We were clinging to that lead lap all day long and trying to play some strategy there. At the end of the day, I don’t think anybody had anything for the No. 4 (Harvick) today.”

Brian Vickers

Michael Waltrip Racing No. 55 Toyota

15th

On this being the first race after heart surgery in December

“It’s incredible. It feels so good to be back in a racecar — so happy, so thankful. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be here again.”

Regan Smith

Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevy

16th

“I made a mistake on pit road, and to get top 10s and top fives in this stuff, you can’t make mistakes. That was on me today. Just proud of the effort and proud of these guys sticking with it.”

Kasey Kahne

Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 Chevy

17th

On being bumped out of contention by Carl Edwards

“It would have been a lot of fun to at least try to race him (Harvick) there at the end. See if we could catch him. It would have been interesting. He was really, really good and won today. But I feel like we had the second-best car, and we were really close.”

Jeff Gordon

Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevy

18th

On this being the third race in a row the car was damaged

“I just can’t believe the way these days are going.”

Ryan Blaney

Wood Brothers No. 21 Ford

19th

“Our racecar was pretty good toward the end. We will go to Texas, our next race, and hope to take what we learned here to that.”

Austin Dillon

Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Chevy

20th

“We had a fast Dow Energy and Water Chevrolet today, and that just shows how hard RCR has worked during the offseason. We had a bit of bad luck, but we will get it turned around.”

David Ragan

Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota

22nd

“It was certainly unfortunate to just get behind from the get-go, and our M&M’s Crispy team made some really good adjustments early on, and we helped the Camry a tremendous amount. But when you’re that far behind the eight-ball to start, it’s tough to beat everyone.”

Sam Hornish Jr.

Richard Petty Motorsports No. 9 Ford

24th

“We finished better than what we probably should have. There are a lot of times when I should have won races that I finished 30th, so the fastest car doesn’t always win. You just have to make the best out of it on days like today so you learn to optimize on days you have an opportunity to run up front.”

Trevor Bayne

Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 Ford

28th

“We fought hard today. The handling on our AdvoCare Ford kept changing throughout the race. ”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Roush Fenway Racing No. 17 Ford

29th

“Seemed like every time we pitted, the caution would come out a few laps later, never allowing us to get our laps back. We struggled this weekend, so we will go back and look at everything. As an organization, we are working hard on getting our cars back to where we need to be to compete with the other top-tier teams.”

Jimmie Johnson

Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet

41st; trouble with tires forced him out for 31 laps

“I’m disappointed. We certainly had an awesome racecar. I wish we could have won this Kobalt race in this Kobalt car, but we’ll come back next week.”

Carl Edwards

Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota

42nd

On pushing Kahne into the wall

“It’s not just frustrating, it’s pretty stupid. I just should have been a little calmer, but it’s kind of fun racing up front like that and it got me going, and I just got a little over-aggressive.”

COMPILED BY MARK ANDERSON/LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

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