Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.
1. Kyle Larson: Larson won Stage 2 and passed Kevin Harvick late to win at Bristol for his sixth win of the year.
“I got a really good run on Harvick with three laps to go,” Larson said. “I saw an opening and went for it. Ironically, in the Bristol Night Race, I saw daylight.”
2. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin won Stage 1, finished 2nd in Stage 2, but faltered in the final stage when contact with Kyle Larson left Hamlin with a flat right-front tire. Hamlin still finished ninth and starts Round 2 of the playoffs seeded third.
“Luckily,” Hamlin said, “my spot in the next round was already clinched. So my heart rate was pretty calm according to my Whoop fitness tracker. Let me tell you, that ‘beats’ not knowing if I’m headed to the next round.”
3. Martin Truex Jr.: Truex started on the pole at Bristol and finished seventh.
“I’m still not sure what formula NASCAR uses to determine the pole sitter,” Truex said. “My guess it’s the same method they use to determine whether a debris caution is necessary—a coin flip.”
4. Kevin Harvick: Harvick led late at Bristol before being passed by Kyle Larson, who had a little help from Hendrick teammate Chase Elliott, who previously suffered a flat tire after contact with Harvick. Elliott and Harvick confronted each other after the race.
“Like I said in post-race interviews,” Harvick said, “I wanted to ‘rip somebody’s head off.’ I’ll amend that to say I wanted to ‘put a shoe up someone’s behind,’ because it’s an absolutely perfect tie-in to Subway’s ‘foot-long’ menu.”
5. Ryan Blaney: Blaney led 45 laps at Bristol and finished fourth. He will start the second round of the playoffs in fourth.
“Next year’s ‘Clash’ will be run at the Los Angeles Coliseum,” Blaney said. “In NASCAR circles, they’re calling L.A. ‘The Next To Last Coliseum.'”
6. Chase Elliott: Elliott suffered a flat right-front tire while battling Kevin Harvick for the lead late at Bristol. After pitting for tires, Elliott found himself three laps down and finished 25th. Elliott and Harvick had a heated discussion after the race.
“Did I intentionally block Harvick when he was trying to hold off Kyle Larson?” Elliott said. “Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t. But I probably did. And, as the driver of the No. 9 Hooter’s Chevy, the closest I’ll come to apologizing to Harvick is to say, ‘Tough titty.'”
7. Joey Logano: Logano overcame a slow first pit stop to post an 11th at Bristol.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how this Chase Elliott-Kevin Harvick feud plays out,” Logano said. “So far, I give the edge to Chase, if for no other reason than he wasn’t the one wearing prescription eyeglasses while engaged in a heated argument.”
8. Kyle Busch: Busch suffered a flat tire with 44 laps to go and fell two laps down. He finished 21st, one lap down, and will start the playoffs in fifth.
“I encouraged the fans at Bristol to boo me at driver introductions,” Busch said. “And they happily obliged. Now, is anyone really surprised that NASCAR fans respond favorably to ‘hate speech?'”
9. Alex Bowman: Bowman finished fifth at Bristol and clinched a spot in the next round of the playoffs.
“I’m in!” Bowman said. “All I can say is ‘Woo hoo!’ Actually, considering how close it was, I should say ‘Whew hoo!'”
10. William Byron: Byron grabbed the final transfer spot with a clutch third-place finish at Bristol.
“I think everyone was entertained by both Kevin Harvick’s and Chase Elliott’s accusatory post-race interviews,” Byron said. “But come on guys, you’ve got to give the fans what they want, and what they want is not for you to throw shade, but to throw hands.”