Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.
1. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin started second at Bristol, overcame an early pit lane speeding penalty and stormed back to win the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol.
“This was a great win for me,” Hamlin said. “If I could take this performance and put it in a bottle for future use, I would. Heck, if I could put it in a ‘Cup,’ I would, but I don’t have one.”
2. Kyle Larson: Larson ran up front all night at Bristol and finished second.
“We’ve got two Hendrick Motorsports cars in the Round Of 12,” Larson said. “It’s too bad Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman missed the Playoffs. Don’t get me wrong, they should have made the playoffs. Hopefully, they’ve learned their lessons about doing things that they shouldn’t have, like missing the Playoffs, or snowboarding, or racing sprint cars.”
3. William Byron: Byron finished ninth at Bristol and easily advanced to the Round Of 12.
“I clinched a spot in the Round Of 12 after Stage 2,” Byron said. “I didn’t get complacent, though. I refused to let myself start thinking about the next race at Texas. Why, you may ask? Because first, I have to pass inspection at Bristol. And for the No. 24, that’s never a guarantee.”
4. Christopher Bell: Bell started on the pole at Bristol and finished third.
“That was my third straight pole,” Bell said. “Of course, poles don’t mean a thing. But polls do. If you polled all drivers and asked them if they think Christopher Bell could win a race from the pole, 100% of them would say ‘No.'”
5. Chris Buescher: Buescher was solid at Bristol, posting a fourth and easily advancing to the Round Of 12.
“Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was driving the car primarily sponsored by Scott Toilet Paper,” Buescher said. “It’s certainly appropriate at this track, because ask any driver, after 500 laps at Bristol, you’re pooped.”
6. Tyler Reddick: Reddick finished 15th at Bristol.
“Michael Jordan himself was in my pit box,” Reddick said. “I asked him if he thought I was going to win the race, and he said ‘You bet.’ I replied ‘You bet?’ And he replied, ‘Yes. $100,000.'”
7. Ross Chastain: Chastain fell a lap down during Stage 2 and finished 23rd, two laps down, in the Bass Pro Shops Night Race. He advanced to the next round of the playoffs.
“I’m just trying to get to Martinsville,” Chastain said. “That’s where I can pull off another miracle and make it to the championship round. The miracle being me destroying my car as opposed to someone else’s car for the betterment of me.”
8. Kyle Busch: Busch struggled at Bristol, but did enough to qualify for the Round Of 12 with a finish of 20th.
“I just had to put myself in the right mindset to get where I needed to,” Busch said. “I just equated ‘missing the Playoffs’ to ‘spending the night in a Mexican prison,’ so there was no way I was spending the night in a Mexican prison.”
9. Ryan Blaney: Blaney struggled at Bristol and finished 22nd, but clinched a spot in the Round Of 12.
“I’m not too thrilled with the car’s performance,” Blaney said, “but at least I advanced to the next round. There are 12 drivers, so I guess I have a 1 in 12 chance of winning the championship. I like those odds, because they are way better than my actual odds.”
10. Martin Truex Jr.: Truex battled all night and ultimately secured a spot in the next round of the playoffs with a 19th-place finish at Bristol.
“I had to fight my car all night,” Truex said. “Let’s just say the handling on No. 19 Toyota was ‘half-assed.’ Now I am, because I had to work my ass off just to get the car across the finish line.”