Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.
1. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin chased down Bubba Wallace over the closing laps, but couldn’t get close enough to make the pass, instead settling for his second-consecutive runner-up finish.
“Congratulations to my 23XI Racing driver,” Hamlin said. “If I could have gotten a little closer, I was getting ready to make a ‘boss’ move.”
2. Chase Elliott: Elliott finished 11th in the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas.
“We needed a solid performance,” Elliott said, “and we got it. I wasn’t happy with my performance at Darlington. By ‘backing it into the wall,’ I left my back against the wall.”
3. Ryan Blaney: Blaney finished ninth at Kansas.
“Congratulations to Bubba Wallace on his win,” Blaney said. “That’s two straight wins by non-playoff drivers. I’m just the opposite: a non-winning playoff driver.”
4. Christopher Bell: Bell finished third at Kansas and clinched a spot to the second round of the playoffs.
“This takes a lot of the pressure off of me,” Bell said. “I don’t need to win; there are a lot of drivers who do. So, while they’re going ‘balls to the wall’ at Bristol, my balls will be in a much safer place.”
5. Joey Logano: Logano started second at Kansas and finished 17th, one lap down.
“North Wilkesboro will host the 2023 All-Star Race,” Logano said. “I think it’s great because NASCAR is going back to its roots. The only roots in Los Angeles, where last year’s race was held, are those being dyed in the hair of those L.A. posers.”
6. Kyle Larson: Larson finished eighth in the Hollywood Casino 400.
“I’m 27 points above the playoff cut line of 12th place,” Larson said. “So, barring a disaster, I should advance. I’m really excited to defend my championship, because trust me, defending a championship is much better than defending yourself.”
7. William Byron: Byron finished sixth at Kansas.
“The Bristol Night Race is going to be huge,” Byron said. “It’s on a Saturday, and some playoff drivers need a win just to advance to the next round. It’s going to be intense, and must-see TV. As the driver of the car with the ‘Liberty University’ paint scheme on his car, I can promise you fans will be watching as intently as Jerry Falwell, Jr. watches his wife and the pool boy.”
8. Ross Chastain: Chastain solidified his playoff standing with a seventh at Kansas.
“That’s right,” Chastain said, “I’m a good bet to make the second round of the playoffs. Personally, I’m thrilled that I’ll be able to make an impact in the second round. There are at least 11 other drivers that feel otherwise.”
9. Kyle Busch: Busch finished a disappointing 26th at Kansas a spin on Lap 130 resulted in two flat tires, leaving him a lap down.
“I’m headed to Richard Childress Racing in 2023,” Busch said. “They made a deal with me, so now they have to deal with me.”
10. Kevin Harvick: Harvick’s day ended early at Kansas when he slammed the wall after getting loose while racing in tight quarters with Ross Chastain and Bubba Wallace. Harvick finished last in 36th.
“That’s a finish of 33rd and 36th for me in the playoffs,” Harvick said. “The bad news? I’m the coldest driver in the playoffs. The good news? I’m not ‘on fire.'”
“In regards to what happened at Darlington, I’m surprised Busch didn’t create a new marketing campaign around the slogan, ‘You got a light?'”