What drivers said at Auto Club Speedway

Kyle Busch scored his first win of the 2023 season Sunday, leading the final 21 laps to win the 400-mile race at Auto Club Speedway.

The win was the first for Busch at Richard Childress Racing.

Chase Elliott, Ross Chastain, Daniel Suarez and Kevin Harvick followed Busch to the finish line.

Here’s what drivers had to say Sunday at ACS, which hosted the final race on its 2-mile oval:

Kyle Busch — Won: “I think it’s just phenomenal. I can’t thank Richard and Judy (Childress) enough. I can’t thank Austin (Dillon) for calling me and getting me talking and getting me this opportunity to be able to come over here to RCR and be a part of Chevrolet and be able to race this Lucas Oil Camaro today, to be able to put it up front like that, man. The guys did a great job, Randall (Burnett, crew chief), everybody that has worked so hard during the off-season. We’ve done a lot of sim stuff, we’ve done a lot of testing in general just with trying to get up to speed, systems and all that sort of stuff. But man, there’s nothing more rewarding than being able to go to Victory Lane. I think it ranks high just because it ranks to the fact of I can do it. I never doubted myself, but sometimes you do. You kind of get down on it, you wonder what’s going on and what’s happening and you put yourself in a different situation and you’re able to come out here and reward your guys. It’s not about me always winning, but it’s about the guys. I’ve been with a lot of great people that have given me a lot of great opportunities in my career, so it’s awesome to be able to reward them. I’m going to enjoy it for sure, and hopefully there’s many more left to go.”

Chase Elliott — Finished 2nd: “Just really proud of our team. We obviously didn’t run very good there toward the end of the year last year, and just everybody really went to work hard over the winter to try and get better. Appreciate everybody on our NAPA team for just sticking with it and sticking with each other. Obviously, I think we still have some work to do, but it was really nice to just see a lot of that hard work pay off and have the car driving like we were wanting it to do. So that’s always a good thing. Congratulations to Kyle. For him to leave and then to go get the job done like that is pretty cool. He’s always been really good to me, so happy for them and looking forward to getting to Vegas and hopefully competing for some more wins.”

Ross Chastain — Finished 3rd: “Our balance was building loose most of the day, so I thought we did everything right. We kept up with it. It would just feel pretty loose late in the runs, and at times it was enough, and at times they got way better. I felt like we were the steady force, our Kubota Chevy was. For everybody at WWEX Racing, Advent Health, Jockey and the Moose, to start off this year the way we have is a total 180 from last year when it was not like this, so as much as it stings, as much as it does hurt, hats off to Chevrolet for top four there, and pumped to be in this position with Trackhouse, and for our first crack at the big tracks here, it’s all we can ask for, and we will regroup and study and be back next week.”

Kevin Harvick — Finished 5th: “Our Gearwrench Ford Mustang was really good on the long runs. I just really struggled on the restarts with the front end. In the end, we had a chance, but I couldn’t put us in the right position on the restarts to guard our track position like we needed to. It was still a great day. The guys did a great job on pit road all day and kept us up in the front. The track conditions were fine. I didn’t really see any weepers, and it was just really dirty every run. The second half of the race it cleaned up, but it was hard on the windshields. In the end, they did a great job preparing the track, and we were able to put on a good race.”

Denny Hamlin — Finished 6th: “Such a great race track – such a fun track. Wish we had a little more speed overall with our Sport Clips Camry, but still a solid day. I thought our balance was pretty good — just needed a little speed there and I thought we would be there in contention. I felt like we were a third-place car or so, so we just came up a little short of that. A decent day.”

Brad Keselowski — Finished 7th: “We didn’t have a great start to the race — wasn’t driving really good, and I wasn’t really happy with it. Matt (McCall) and the crew just kept working on it. We had a couple of good adjustments there, got spun out and then recovered it. It was good to be able to recover. Just need a little more speed. Not quite where we need to be, but we weren’t terribly far off.”

Joey Logano — Finished 10th: “It looks like we were in the hunt. We weren’t the best car, and we needed to make an adjustment to get better. I was falling off hard and was hoping we’d get back on track — just couldn’t. It fell off at the end even more. Running top five all day, finishing 10th, doesn’t feel that great. Overall, the momentum is there, we fought hard and got some stage points. So, it was still a decent day. Go back and look at the data. I didn’t do anything. I just rolled it and went like everyone was anticipating it. It’s part of the new restart zone – it’s bigger. So, you can’t anticipate as much as you used to without getting into trouble. I went late in the zone because the car to the inside of me was laying back, so I was waiting for him to get up next to me before I went. I didn’t brake-check anyone. It might look like it, but you can go back and look at it and see it’s not there.”

Chris Buescher — Finished 13th: “We started off really bad. It took us a good amount of time and some big adjustments to get dialed in. I’m proud of this Pela Casino Mustang. We really got a lot closer toward the end there. We’re not where we want to be – still. But, we’re much, much closer. It’s nice to see that gain throughout the day. I think we would’ve discovered some of that if we would have had practice, but obviously nobody did. We’ll just keep working on it – getting a little bit closer, so we can be in the hunt towards the end.”

Todd Gilliland — Finished 17th: “This is something for us to build on. It was the best mile-and-a-half car we’ve had. There’s still work to do, but that was something to definitely work from. I’m proud of the effort by all my guys.”

Chase Briscoe — Finished 20th: “We definitely had high hopes going into here. This is one of my better racetracks, and we just completely struggled all day long from a lot of different issues. That’s not how we wanted to run, obviously. We’ve got a lot of work to do going into next week, but I feel like we can learn from it and move on.”

Christopher Bell — Finished 32nd: “Yeah, just the same thing that everybody already said – you can’t see what’s going on. You are just going off the guy in front of you and all of sudden he slows down and I got into him, and other guys got into me.”

Ryan Preece — Finished 33rd: “It’s kind of stupid, to be honest with you, on a professional level and we all wreck on a restart. I don’t know what happened, but just a victim of circumstances. It sucks. I was racing around Aric, and we were just trying to be smart and get to the end of the race. Something like that, you’re not expecting everyone to wreck coming to the restart line. It’s unfortunate. That adjustment could have gotten us a lot better and we could have kept on making little gains. That was our goal, not to beat ourselves and just be there in the last 50 or 60. That’s why we stayed out that run, to see what our car would do in clean air and if we needed to work on it, which we did, and I felt like we just kept on making it better and better.”

Tyler Reddick — Finished 34th: “I saw it stacked up pretty bad. I saw the car behind me kind of laid off to get a really big run, so I kind of elected to make the decision to go to the bottom and get around it. Unfortunately, I think Ryan (Blaney) had the same idea. We just got collected and went through the grass and the right front of The Beast Unleashed Toyota Camry TRD was broke.”

Aric Almirola — Finished 35th: “I took off on the restart and went from second to third gear, and all of a sudden everybody in front of us just stopped. I think the leader was just playing games, trying to prevent the runs coming from behind, and they stopped in the middle of the restart zone — right about where they should have been accelerating. It was just a huge accordion effect. We were back in 16th, so everybody just started stacking up and you can’t stop on a dime. It’s disappointing to get wrecked out of the race like that on a silly Mickey Mouse restart, but I should have known better.”

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What drivers said at Auto Club Speedway originally appeared on NBCSports.com