Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on Darlington Raceway and the Round of 16: "We had a really fast car last time before we had trouble. The first round has a lot of really good tracks for us. Darlington (Raceway), Kansas (Speedway) and Bristol (Motor Speedway). Those are honestly three of my best racetracks. I really like that round and hopefully we can do well in it and get some wins and get some bonus points. I have always run really well at Darlington, but have not gotten a win there yet. I finished second three times in a row before this year, so would love to be one spot better there and finally get that Darlington win that I have been close to getting."
Cliff Daniels, crew chief of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on the challenge of setting a car up for Darlington: "It drives me crazy trying to set the car up but Darlington (Raceway) is hands down my favorite track on the circuit with Bristol (Motor Speedway) probably close behind that. Darlington is such a challenge. The track itself, how to race it, how to run your own race, executing the pit stops and the green-flag strategy. Everything around Darlington is a true, gritty, racer-type feel to the track and race – it just has that aura. I enjoy it but I am pulling my hair out every second of the day trying to get it right, have a good plan and have a good car to do the things we need to do but that is part of what makes it fun."
Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on this weekend’s "DESI9N TO DRIVE" paint scheme and program: "Partnering with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has been going on for about five years now, but last year was the first year we kind of brought it to life on track. That came through an opportunity with NAPA AUTO PARTS, which is my primary sponsor and has been a great partner. When you have a partner that is willing to give up its race to let someone design the car, get behind the foundation and try to make a difference in the community, I think that really says a lot. You don’t see that very often. I’m looking forward to having Dani, the young lady that designed the car, and her family at the track this weekend and hosting them. I’m hoping everyone loves that paint scheme as much as I do."
Elliott on kicking off the playoffs in Darlington: "Darlington (Raceway) is the beginning of a long road ahead. A lot can happen in 10 weeks. A lot can happen in one race weekend, much less 10. So, you know, it’s baby steps and one weekend at a time. Darlington is that first stop and you want to try to get off on a good note and see where it takes you. We’re happy to have those 15 bonus points. We’ve never been in a position to have many bonus points going into the final 10. Hopefully, we can take those points we’ve accumulated and help us get through these rounds. Hopefully, we don’t need them, but if you do have a bad day, you have a little bit of something to fall back on which is always nice. I’m looking forward to getting going and seeing where we stack up this first week and where we need to go from there."
William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on his thoughts for the first race of the playoffs: "I’m optimistic heading back to Darlington (Raceway) for the second time this year. We had the speed we needed in the spring to be in the lead when it mattered. The fall race is always a challenge though when it comes to heat and the transition throughout the race. I’m confident in Rudy (Fugle) and my team, though, that we’ll be prepared for every scenario. Getting off on the right foot for the first race of the playoffs is crucial so you’re not feeling like you are trying to play catch-up throughout the round. If we put together solid races and control the factors we can control, I think we can end the race with a win or at least a good result, which will set us up well for the next two races."
Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on what he expects from Sunday’s race: "We ran well in the spring race at Darlington (Raceway) but this weekend’s race will be about as different as can be. It’s a longer race for starters, so there will be a bigger emphasis on strategy, especially with how high tire fall off is there. Sunday’s race is going to be much hotter than it was earlier this year. I do think we have some good notes to work off of since this race starts in the daytime. The biggest thing will be making changes to keep up with the track as it transitions from day to night. I think whoever keeps up with those changes the best will be the ones who find themselves running up front towards the end. Hopefully that’s the No. 24 team and we can kick off the first race of the playoffs with a good run."
Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on making the playoffs for a fifth consecutive year with Hendrick Motorsports: "I am super happy to make the playoffs again and I think it shows the strength of our organization. We have a lot of really smart people working on our cars and giving me the best equipment each weekend to go out there and compete for wins. Greg (Ives) and myself have made the playoffs every season we have been together, and I am looking forward to getting another shot to compete for a championship."
Greg Ives, crew chief of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on going into his last playoffs as a crew chief: "It’s bittersweet for me. Obviously, I have had a lot of success in the past, but this is my last shot to get a Cup Series championship. I think we have the team capable of contending every weekend and a driver that can get it done. We just have to continue to work hard, stay focused on each weekend and capitalize on every opportunity we get. I have enjoyed my career as a crew chief, and I will take in every moment as I close out this season."