Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.
1. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin had a sloppy late restart that likely cost him the win at Kansas. He still finished second and is in great shape to advance to the next round of the Playoffs.
“I just signed a contract extension with Joe Gibbs Racing,” Hamlin said. “I’m very fortunate to remain with a great team and remain financially secure for the rest of my life. My cup runneth over. Unfortunately, the Cup runneth away.”
2. Kyle Larson: Larson won Stage 1 at Kansas and finished fourth.
“I’ve already locked up a spot in the next round of the Playoffs,” Larson said. “So the pressure was off. I was racing under the motto, ‘Winning isn’t everything, it’s just another thing.'”
3. William Byron: Byron spun on Lap 63 and eventually finished 15th at Kansas.
“Not a great finish,” Byron said, “and not a horrible finish. I’m in a great position to advance to the Round Of 12, as long as I don’t have to pass an inspection.”
4. Tyler Reddick: Reddick charged to the win on an overtime restart to claim the Hollywood Casino 400 victory and a spot in the next round of the Playoffs.
“I don’t know how to react,” Reddick said. “I don’t know if I should celebrate, or let out a big sigh of relief, or throw my helmet at Austin Dillon. I know that last one doesn’t make sense, but it also didn’t make sense when Austin threw his helmet at my car, even though I didn’t even touch him.”
5. Christopher Bell: Bell started on the pole at Kansas and finished eighth.
“That’s my fifth pole of the year,” Bell said. “And I was unable to win any of those races. I have to learn to ‘close the deal,’ or I won’t be able to ‘close the deal’ when it’s time for a contract renewal.”
6. Ross Chastain: Chastain finished 13th in the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas.
“I would love to win the Cup championship,” Chastain said. “Then I could happily drop watermelons on the heads of all my doubters. And trust me, that would take a watermelon farm’s worth of watermelons to do.”
7. Ryan Blaney: Blaney finished 12th at Kansas and is sixth in the points standings, 25 points above the Round Of 12 cut line.
“I don’t think anyone sees me as a real threat to win the Cup championship,” Blaney said. “But I’d like to prove those people wrong, especially since I am one of those people.”
8. Chris Buescher: Buescher blew a right-rear tire late at Kansas and finished 27th.
“That was a tough race,” Buescher said, “with an outcome I’m not happy with. But that’s in the past. As they say, ‘We’re not in Kansas anymore.’ After Bristol, I might be saying, ‘We’re not in the Playoffs anymore.'”
9. Joey Logano: Logano finished fifth at Kansas.
“How about Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 Ford?” Logano said. “It was primarily sponsored by Sunny D. Is Sunny D orange juice? Is it a soft drink? Who knows? All I know is that I don’t know what it’s made of, and it’s not good for your health. It’s like the Martinsville hot dog of drinks.”
10. Martin Truex Jr.: Truex blew a tire on Lap 4 at Kansas and slammed the outside wall, ending his day and handing him a painful last-place finish.
“I recently signed a contract extension to remain with Joe Gibbs Racing through 2024,” Truex said. “I’m 43 years old, so this early retirement at Kansas seems very out of place.”