Low on car count, can Toyota end Talladega slump?

Denny Hamlin — Winner: “Just a lot of attrition. We just played the strategy and the numbers game to run in the back until we were locked in. Just things worked out. We finally got one back. This one was unexpected to say the least, but proud of this whole FedEx team, Toyota and everyone at JGR for bringing great race cars. Today we’re obviously thinking about JJ Damato (JGR executive) and his two kids. Really excited about this win. This was unexpected for sure. They were crashing in front of us. Obviously, I got forced down there just like the 21 (Matt DiBenedetto) and others did. There were a bunch of us that all crashed down there.”

Erik Jones — Finished 2nd: “It was good. Obviously, wish we could have won it there at the end. We had to throw a big block and got in the wall, but still came back and finished second there. Good day. The car was strong. The Sport Clips Camry had good speed and we led a lot of laps. Just didn’t totally play out at the end. You can’t ask for a lot more. We were there and coming to the line with a shot to win.”

Ty Dillon — Finished 3rd: “It feels great. I’m sure everyone is aware our team announced it’s selling and has been sold.  The relationship between myself and GEICO and Germain Racing and all the 47 employees at Germain Racing is coming to an end. We all promised each other when it was announced we would all give everything we had till the end.  This was a statement for our team. I can’t thank everyone enough at Germain Racing, Bob Germain, Larry Rogers, all the people at GEICO, all the people that worked there over my four years that helped me throughout my four years here.  I’m thankful for the opportunity and hopeful for the next opportunity. And hopefully some of us can get to work again, work together again. Hopefully this propelled some of us to get new opportunities next year as we’re all searching.”

William Byron – Finished 4th: “It’s tough not to get the win today but to finish fourth is good. It’s just unfortunate. We had a really good run there on the final lap and I got a good push from (Denny Hamlin) in (Turns) 1 and 2 that set that up. I was able to get to (Chris Buescher) and push him and then found some daylight on the bottom to have a run at(Matt DiBenedetto. Unfortunately, he blocked us there and put us below the yellow line. Fortunately, though we were able to save it and still finish in the top five. Today was a good run for us. We really needed to finish a race after the last couple weeks and it’s good to have a result like today.”

Tyler Reddick — Finished 7th: “That was a crazy race at Talladega Superspeedway, but I’m proud of my No. 8 Cat Next Gen Dozers team for rallying all day long. They worked really hard to keep me in the game when we got into some trouble, and I really appreciate it. We got caught up in a wreck on Lap 1 that changed our game plan a little bit when we got some nose damage from the No. 95, but my team was able to make all the repairs quickly enough to get us back on our normal strategy by the time the competition caution came out. It was a lot about survival today with all the wrecks that were happening. I was able to squeeze through a couple big ones, but also got caught up in a couple others. Luckily, nothing was bad enough to take us out of the race completely. We just stayed focused, fixed what we needed to each time and kept fighting for every spot we could. It was a wild race today, so I’m happy we are able to come home with a seventh-place finish.”

JOHN HUNTER NEMECHECK — Finished 8th: “We managed to stay out of trouble the whole day, but that last caution forced us to pit for fuel – otherwise, we would have had a better shot at the win. We still came away with a nice top-10 finish.”

Ryan Preece – Finished 10th: “What a race today at Talladega Superspeedway. To be able to bring home a top-10 finish in our No. 37 Kroger Chevrolet after the season we have had feels like a win. I wish we didn’t have as much damage there at the end and we could give a little bit of a better push, but ultimately we needed fuel for the final NASCAR Overtime and needed to pit from the front anyway. I’m really proud of our Kroger team to be able to fix the damage that we did have and keep us there at the front at the end. We’ve got five races to continue finishing out this season strong and I’m looking forward to ending the season on a high note.”

Austin Dillon — Finished 12th: “This team has a never-give-up-attitude, and that is how we were able to finish so solid today in the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Off Road/E-Z-GO Chevrolet. Last week was a real bummer, but we kept fighting and only lost eight laps changing a belt. Tonight, we changed an oil cooler behind the wall and only lost two laps, so this RCR team is special. They are true professionals. Today was a fun race. We got our stage points in the first stage even with a little bit of damage. In the second stage, we just couldn’t keep up with the damage we had gotten, but to come back to 12th says a lot. This car is killed. I had a huge run down the backstretch at the end of the race. I pushed Brandon Poole way up there. Once I shoved him, I got to the bottom and then I don’t know what happened. The No. 2 car came across my nose and we lost a couple more spots at the end. It was probably a wild race for the fans to watch. I hope that we can make something happen at the Roval. We’re a little too far back in points, but we’ll see what we can do.”

Alex Bowman  – finished 14th: “This group of guys worked their butts off on pit road – very thankful for their hard work. Our Truck Hero Camaro, with Patriot Foundation on the side of it, was not really where we wanted it be to start the race. We made some changes, got it better and then I became a Ford sandwich there getting off turn two. I got pushed into the 10 (Aric Almirola) there – that was a bummer. If that was my fault, apologies to the 10. I felt like I got shoved into him, but it’s one of those deals you never want to be in that situation and crash somebody or cause a crash like that. So, bummed out about that.”

Brad Keselowski — Finished 18th:  “I hope Tony Stewart is watching because he would be proud. We wrecked every car in the field and I wrecked four times in somebody else’s mess. This rules package just has everybody so on top of each other. Runs are just so fast and everybody wants to block and the runs are too fast to block and causes a lot of wrecks, but we made it through somewhat okay, I guess. We finished 18th and scored a lot of stage points, got a decent points cushion going into the Roval, but that’s gonna be a madhouse because there are a lot of cars next week that are gonna need a big race.  Hopefully, we just get through there with a solid day with the Discount Tire Ford and move on.”

Kevin Harvick — Finished 20th: “We tried to take care of our Jimmy John’s Ford Mustang most of the day and wound up starting fourth on one of the restarts toward the end and wound up part of the attrition for the day.  Looking up and down pit road it doesn’t look like there’s very many cars that don’t have damage.”

MATT DiBENEDETTO — Finished 21st: “It’s just a crazy finish. I haven’t been able to really process it. I just really want to get this thing in Victory Lane. This Tuscany Faucets team. I feel like this is the same story a lot of times, just heartbreak. My wife and I have had a stressful week again just with the uncertainty — always fighting for my life — but I’m so appreciative of this team.  The Wood Brothers, I want this 100th win for the Woods so bad. Our alliance with Team Penske, Ford — I appreciate them putting me in this car. It’s so much fun to drive and have a shot to win. Denny did a great job. Deja vu. Holy cow.  Denny deserves all the support in the world. He’s an incredible racer. He was my biggest threat. I tried to block all I could. This is tough.”

Martin Truex Jr. — Finished 23rd: “It was textbook, as perfect as Talladega could go for us. Just nowhere to go obviously in that last wreck. Proud of the effort, strong car. We wanted to get stage points and we got a stage win, that was a nice little bonus. Had fun up until the crash. Just wrong place, wrong time. Wish we could have ran until the end.”

Bubba Wallace – finished 24th: “I don’t really know – I haven’t seen a replay yet. It was a big learning curve day for me. I think I came down on the No. 37 (Ryan Preece) there and started that whole deal, so that’s on me. It’s just unfortunate. It was a really good day for us in our Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 World Wide Technology Camaro ZL1 1LE. We’ve got a lot to look over and review, which is good. We led some laps and had a really solid car. Hats off to my guys for a really solid effort – getting it fixed there at lap one. It was definitely a hard hit, but all-in-all, we’re good. We’ll try to take what we can from today. I love coming to these plate races. It’s showing, but we didn’t get the finish that we deserved today. All-in-all, we’ll go to the Roval and have some fun.”

Ryan Blaney – finished 25th: “Certainly not the day we wanted. A big thank you Todd Gordon and the Menards/Pennzoil crew doing a great job repairing our Mustang to where we could be competitive. Stinks we don’t have the results to show for, but we’ll move on to the Roval next week.”

Joey Logano — Finished 26th: “We had a lot of speed in our Shell/Pennzoil Mustang car. It was fast and it was up towards the front the whole race, leading a lot of laps. We were right where we wanted to be at the end of the race and (Chase Elliott) had a huge run. I probably shouldn’t have tried to block it. He was so fast and I lost a lot of momentum when I tried to block that, and that gave the 24 a big run and then I got in the middle and then I got in the soup and the next thing that happens is they all crashed, so it’s gonna be a tough week next week.”

Kyle Busch — Finished 27th: “The car was just real slow due to all of the damage, obviously, so I’m just holding up the line. I was trying to draft off the guys in front of me and I’m pushing too much backwards on the guys that are trying to push me forwards and it creates a wreck. Oh, well. The M&M’s Camry guys did a great job and just wish there was more for it. I just hate it when I’m right.”

Cole Custer — Finished 31st: “Our HaasTooling.com Mustang was fast and they just all started pushing real hard on the bottom or the middle and then they started spinning. I was like, ‘Hopefully, I can make it past it,’ but we didn’t.  It sucks. I thought we had a really fast car.  All the guys at SHR built some fast cars coming here, but we’ll move on to the next one.  It was fun racing up there, it just didn’t work out there at the end.”

Kurt Busch — Finished 32nd: “Yeah, it was a wild ride. That’s the nature of this sport. You’re on top one week with a win and everything’s fantastic. And then this week here at Talladega, we were hoping for a nice, smooth run and to gain some points. I was just doing my job as a Chevy helper running top-five and next thing you know, I’m going for one of the wildest rides I’ve ever been in.”

Clint Bowyer — Finished 33rd: “You’ve got to go. You’ve got to push him.  The 22 and the 21 were trying and obviously they gave up on it for some reason. As soon as I got to (Jimmie Johnson), I push him in the front and the whole rear of the car went down and I was like, ‘Oh my God,’ and before I know it he was tank swapping all over the place. I don’t know if that was how they had their cars built or whatever, but as soon as you got close to him he was all over the place. Obviously didn’t mean to wreck him, but you’re going hard and three-wide and people are behind you pushing.  I was hoping he would save it, but he didn’t and we all wrecked.”

Daniel Suarez – 34th: “That was definitely not the way we were hoping to end our day. You never know what’s going to happen at Talladega and Daytona because so much is out of your control, but we had another good Team USA Toyota today, like we did at Daytona. We just needed to get to the end of the race so we could fight for a good finish and we got caught up in something. It is what it is. Now we go to the road course at Charlotte and we’ll hope to make the most of our day there next week.”

Michael McDowell — Finished 36th: “Man, what a shame. We had such fast Love’s Travel Stops Ford Mustang; it was really, really fast. Unfortunately, we had a trackbar extension from another race car come through the grille and knocked all of the water out of the radiator. I’m thankful to everybody at Love’s Travel Stops and Luber-finer for their continued support. We had a really fast race car and it’s just really unfortunate that we weren’t able to make it to the end. It just wasn’t our day.”

ARIC ALMIROLA — Finished 37th: “I got hit from behind and turned in the outside fence. It’s such a shame. We had such a fast Smithfield Power Bites Ford Mustang. I’m just disappointed. We were doing everything we needed to do. We were closing in to the end of stage one and it looked like we were gonna score a lot of points there, which is exactly what we needed to do.”