Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.
1. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson finished 38th at Phoenix, 28 laps down, his day ruined by a penalty for passing the pit car during a pit stop.
“That’s a penalty I really don’t understand,” Johnson said. “I think I’ll ask for some clarification from NASCAR. Then again, maybe I won’t. Getting a straight answer from NASCAR is ‘exhausting,’ because all they do is blow smoke up your behind.”
2. Kyle Busch: Busch finished second at Phoenix to qualify for the Chase finale based on points. Busch was involved in a late restart crash that knocked Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth out of the lead and cost him a spot in the final four at Homestead.
“I’m happy to make the final,” Busch said, “but I feel terrible that I may have played a part in knocking Matt out. I hate to talk sponsors at a time like this, but it would be a great time for Mars to introduce a new ‘M&M’s Bittersweet’ product.”
3. Carl Edwards: Edwards finished 19th in the Can-Am 500. Edwards will join Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, and Kyle Busch at Homestead, where the Sprint Cup champion will be determined.
“I’m happy for Kyle,” Edwards said, “But I really feel bad for Matt Kenseth. I’d like to comfort him by putting my arm around his neck. But it would be wise for me to be careful. There’s a fine line between a shoulder to cry on and a headlock.”
4. Joey Logano: Logano won the Can-Am 500 at Phoenix to secure his spot in the Chase finale at Homestead.
“Ironically,” Logano said, “Matt Kenseth’s spin allowed me to win the race and advance to the finale. I guess the saying is true, ‘What goes around, comes around,’ especially when it’s the back end of Kenseth’s car.”
5. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin finished seventh at Phoenix and failed to advance to the final round of the Chase For The Cup.
“I look at the Sprint Cup standings,” Hamlin said, “and I no longer see that ‘C’ by my name, indicating I’m ‘in the Chase.’ That means I’m on the outside looking in, and I don’t like what I ‘C.’”
6. Matt Kenseth: Kenseth had victory in sight, and a spot in the Chase finale, before a caution led to a restart, where disaster struck. Kenseth was spun by Alex Bowman after Bowman and Kyle Busch made contact in Turn 1. Kenseth finished 21st.
“And Joey Logano won instead of me,” Kenseth said. “I guess I deserved that. You could say I got my ‘just desserts in the desert.’”
7. Kevin Harvick: Harvick finished fourth at Phoenix but was eliminated from contention for the Cup title at Homestead.
“I’ve dominated at Phoenix over the years,” Harvick said, “but just didn’t have enough this time. We put ourselves in a hole early in the Chase and couldn’t recover, and we’re very sad about it. If you add ‘too little’ and ‘too late,’ you get ‘forlorn.’”
8. Kurt Busch: Needing a win to advance, Busch finished a disappointing fifth at Phoenix. Like Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick, Busch fell short in making the Chase finale at Homestead.
“It’s very difficult,” Busch said, “starting a race while knowing you have no chance whatsoever of winning the Sprint Cup championship. I admire Danica Patrick because she manages that feeling 36 times a year.”
9. Brad Keselowski: Keselowski finished 14th at Phoenix as Penske Racing teammate Joey Logano took the win.
“I’ll do everything in my power to help Joey win the Sprint Cup championship,” Keselowski said. “I would go as far as saying I will accept ‘team orders’ to benefit Joey. In other words, if the team orders pizza, I’ll be happy to go pick it up.”
10. Martin Truex Jr.: Truex finished 40th at Phoenix, 40 laps down, for his worst finish of the season.
“Tony Stewart will race in Sprint Cup one last time at Homestead,” Truex said. “Tony’s passion for the sport will be missed, and so will his ornery behavior. Tony puts the ‘ass’ in ‘ambassador.’”