Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.
1. Kyle Larson: Larson started on the pole, took Stage 1, and finished 10th at Las Vegas.
“I feel confident that I can win the Cup championship,” Larson said. “It’s all about keeping focus. And I want a Cup title to be the thing by which people remember me. A championship would be the first step in erasing the E-Racing.”
2. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin won Stage 2 and held off Chase Elliott down the stretch to win at Las Vegas and secure his spot in the Round Of 8.
“I’ve really been on a roll lately,” Hamlin said. “I’m not sure what happened, or when it happened, but if all of my former girlfriends could please bash me on Twitter before having their accounts disabled, I can keep this hot streak going.”
3. Martin Truex Jr.: Truex finished fourth in the South Point 400.
“It was important to get a solid finish at Las Vegas,” Truex said, “especially with Talladega and Charlotte’s ROVAL next on the schedule. Trust me, I’d rather gamble in Las Vegas than Talladega or Charlotte.”
4. Chase Elliott: Elliott’s late charge in pursuit of Denny Hamlin fell short, and he settled with the runner-up spot at Las Vegas.
“Kevin Harvick really didn’t factor into this race,” Elliott said, “but that doesn’t mean I’m not concerned about him. I’ve gotta have eyes in the back of my head where Harvick is concerned. Not necessarily because I fear and expect retaliation, but mainly because he’s usually running behind me.”
5. Kyle Busch: Busch, in his 600th Cup series start, finished third in the South Point 400.
“I’m a Las Vegas native,” Busch said, “so I actually have fans cheering for me. That’s why I love my parents.”
6. Ryan Blaney: Blaney ran strong at Las Vegas on his way to a fifth-place finish in the South Point 400.
“The Las Vegas race started at 7 p.m. Eastern time,” Blaney said. “That meant viewers on the East Coast had to stay up until about 10:30 to catch the ending, assuming the race hadn’t already put them to sleep.”
7. Kevin Harvick: Harvick came home ninth in the South Point 400 at Las Vegas.
“Nobody ever said ‘What happens at Bristol stays at Bristol,'” Harvick said. “So, I haven’t forgotten about Chase Elliott. I’ve got my eyes on him, all four of them, in fact.”
8. Joey Logano: Logano finished 11th at Las Vegas.
“Las Vegas is known as ‘Sin City,'” Logano said. “The infield at Daytona is known as ‘Seven Deadly Sins City.'”
9. William Byron: Byron started third and finished 18th at Las Vegas.
“We’re headed to Talladega and the pressure is on a lot of drivers,” Byron said. “You can imagine the worry that’s caused when you mention ‘Talladega’ and ‘crunch time’ in the same sentence.”
10. Alex Bowman: Bowman finished 22nd at Las Vegas and now sits 11th in the standings, 13 below the cut line.
“I’ve got work to do at Talladega,” Bowman said. “And the potential of being victimized by the ‘Big One’ has me worried. I don’t know what worries me more, being in a wreck, or being a nervous wreck.”