Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.
1. Martin Truex Jr.: Truex, with his ticket already punched to the championship round, finished sixth in the AAA Texas 500.
“I’m feeling no pressure,” Truex said. “My spot in the finale is guaranteed. Heck, not only am I sitting pretty, I’m laying pretty. And in a quick plug for a former sponsor, I’m laying pretty on a Denver Mattress.”
2. Kevin Harvick: Harvick started on the pole and won the AAA Texas 500 to earn a spot in the championship finale at Homestead.
“I overcame a penalty in the pits for having equipment over the wall too soon,” Harvick said. “I warned my crew to keep their ‘equipment’ properly holstered. Otherwise, this race could have become the ‘XXX Texas 500.'”
3. Joey Logano: Logano finished fourth at Texas and sits fourth in the playoff points standings.
“Tensions will be high at Phoenix,” Logano said. “If Denny Hamlin and I are racing for a spot in the finale and we crash, you can best believe there will be a confrontation. And it’s gonna take more than just one of my crewmen to pull Hamlin off of me.”
4. Kyle Busch: Busch finished seventh at Texas.
“I’m going to Phoenix with the intention of winning,” Busch said. “I’m not going to guarantee a win, because I don’t want to end up putting my foot in my mouth. I’d rather put my foot on a pedal on my floorboard because I’m gonna be ‘clutch.'”
5. Denny Hamlin: An early spin ruined Hamlin’s day at Texas, resulting in a 28th-place finish. Hamlin is fifth in the points standings and will likely need a win at Indianapolis to advance.
“The pressure will be immense at Phoenix,” Hamlin said. “Stomachs will be in knots. So, the desert will bring the dry heat, and the dry heaves.”
6. Kyle Larson: Larson finished 12th at Texas and is currently seventh in the playoff points standings.
“Bubba Wallace may have spun himself intentionally,” Larson said. “And that really screwed me. I don’t understand why Bubba is intentionally spinning when it happens enough accidentally.”
7. Alex Bowman: Bowman finished fifth at Texas, posting his seventh top-five of the season.
“The Formula 1 Grand Prix Of The United States was going down in Austin,” Byron said. “So, for a day, Texas was the racing capital of the world. As for traffic and parking issues, there was a ‘mess in Texas.'”
8. Ryan Blaney: Blaney took eighth in the AAA Texas 500.
“I’ll likely need to win at Indianapolis to make it to Homestead,” Blaney said. “I’m somewhat confident I can do it. I just need a little extra motivation. So I’m reading ‘The Little Engine That Could,’ because I think I can, I think I can.”
9. Brad Keselowski: Keselowski crashed in Stage 1 at Texas and finished a disappointing 39th in the AAA Texas 500.
“I got a little greedy,” Keselowski said, “and as a result, I collected Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. This is all new for both of us because I’m not used to being out of the championship hunt and Ricky’s not used to being in a crash in which he wasn’t to blame.”
10. Chase Elliott: Elliott finished 32nd at Texas after an accident ruined his chances of a solid finish.
“I brushed the wall 9 laps into the race,” Elliott said. “Now, I’m really behind the 8-ball, which means I have to win. Well, I guess that’s my ‘cue.'”