Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.
1. Ryan Blaney: Blaney passed Kyle Larson for second on lap 292 and held the position to claim the championship as Ross Chastain took the win at Phoenix. It is Blaney’s first Cup championship.
“I’d like to dedicate this to my father Dave,” Blaney said. “He raced for so long and never was able to win a championship. Now, he can finally say those words he longed to: ‘I’m the father of a NASCAR Cup championship.”
2. Kyle Larson: Larson was in position to win the championship late, but got loose and gave up second to Ryan Blaney, who went on to win the championship.
“I was looking for championship No. 2,” Larson said. “And ‘No. 2’ is exactly how I feel about losing the championship.”
3. William Byron: Byron started on the pole at Phoenix but didn’t have enough late to capture the championship and finished fourth.
“Being on the pole means I had my choice of pit stalls,” Byron said. “I took the first stall, because, as you and NASCAR inspectors well know, I’m always looking for an edge.”
4. Ross Chastain: Chastain ran strong all day at Phoenix and ran away with the win, his second victory of the year.
“As meaningless wins go,” Chastain said, “this one’s right up there with all of my other Cup wins.”
5. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin finished eighth at Phoenix.
“There’s a fine line,” Hamlin said, “between saying, ‘I can’t wait until next year,’ and ‘Wait until next year.'”
6. Martin Truex Jr.: Truex started second and came home sixth Phoenix.
“I really feel for my Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Christopher Bell,” Truex said. “He had all of the JGR hopes resting on his shoulders. And he disappointed. Or, I guess I should say, ‘He’s disappointed.”
7. Tyler Reddick: Reddick finished 22nd at Phoenix.
“My No. 45 Toyota featured a Star Wars-themed paint scheme,” Reddick said. “It had an Imperial TIE Fighter on it. That being said, I don’t even think NASCAR fans give a flying ‘F’ about Star Wars.”
8. Bubba Wallace: Wallace finished 10th at Phoenix, posting his 10th top-10 finish of the year.
“I wasn’t eligible to win the championship,” Wallace said, “but it was great to have the playoff experience. I’m not sure I quite have what it takes to win a championship just yet, but if I need advice, I’ll ask one of my car owners, probably the one with championships.”
9. Chris Buescher: Buescher won Stage 2 at Phoenix and finished fifth.
“This was Kevin Harvick’s final drive,” Buescher said. “He’s on to the next stage of his life, the one you don’t get playoff points for winning. Kevin didn’t win the race. He probably could have, if someone hadn’t tied a bunch of empty Busch Light cans to his bumper.”
10. Christopher Bell: Bell’s championship hopes ended early at Phoenix, when he hit the wall hard, ending his day on lap 109.
“It was a mechanical issue,” Bell said. “What rhymes with ‘issue?’ ‘Tissue,’ because I’m bawling.”