Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.
1. Kyle Larson: Larson used a quick late pit stop to take the lead at Phoenix, and held on to win and claim his first Cup championship.
“I owe it all to my pit crew,” Larson said. “On that last stop, I came in fourth and left in first. I call that ‘service with a smile,’ with the smile being mine.”
2. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin finished third at Phoenix, again coming up short in his quest to win his first championship.
“It just wasn’t to be,” Hamlin said. “Maybe I’m just cursed. That’s a real possibility because if you took a poll of NASCAR fans, about 85% of them would say they have ‘cursed’ me, often more than once.”
3. Chase Elliott: Elliott finished fifth at Phoenix.
“I was going for my second Cup championship in a row,” Elliott said. “So, I was going for the repeat. Kyle Larson has spent the last two years trying not to ‘repeat.'”
4. Kyle Busch: Busch finished seventh at Phoenix.
“NASCAR told me I have to take sensitivity training,” Busch said. “That came after I used the ‘R’ word after Martinsville. Fortunately, they told me I only have to take it, and not necessarily pass it.”
5. Martin Truex Jr.: Truex came up just short at Phoenix, finishing second to race winner and Cup champion, Kyle Larson.
“It stings to come this close,” Truex said. “I finished less than a second behind Larson, yet I feel like I was five laps behind him. I guess what I’m saying is it sucks to feel like Quin Houff.”
6. Joey Logano: Logano finished 11th at Phoenix.
“Three of the championship drivers’ crew chiefs were ejected for multiple inspection failures,” Logano said. “NASCAR is a competitive sport, so you really have to cheat to win. And you have to deal with the consequences, which is being called a cheater. That doesn’t bother most drivers. We have very thick skin, especially on our wrists, which get slapped all the time.”
7. Ryan Blaney: Blaney finished fourth in the Xfinity 500 at Phoenix.
“Next year,” Blaney said, “I’m dedicating myself to winning the championship. Up until that point, I’m going to try really hard to convince myself to believe that.”
8. Brad Keselowski: Keselowski finished 10th at Phoenix.
“This was my final race for Penske Racing,” Keselowski said. “It would have been nice to go out with a win. But I didn’t. So, I didn’t go out with a bang. Instead, I went out with a ‘Dang!'”
9. William Byron: Byron finished 17th at Phoenix.
“If Kyle Busch has to take sensitivity training,” Byron said, “should everyone else be required to take training on how not to be like Kyle Busch?”
10. Alex Bowman: Bowman finished 18th in the Xfinity 500 at Phoenix.
“I was born in Tucson, Arizona,” Bowman said. “So, this is my home race. And that made Denny Hamlin an enemy of the state.”