Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.
1. Kyle Busch: Busch started sixth at Phoenix and took the checkered flag in the Can-Am 500 to advance to Homestead with a chance to win his second Cup championship.
“Kevin Harvick got in when Denny Hamlin knocked out Kurt Busch and Chase Elliott,” Busch said. “Either Kurt or Chase could have played the spoiler, and the last thing Harvick needed is another troublesome spoiler.”
2. Kevin Harvick: Harvick started on the pole at Phoenix and finished fifth after an early flat tire scare.
“Our goal was to start on the pole,” Harvick said, “build a big lead, and pray we didn’t ‘get caught.’ I guess two out of three ain’t bad.”
3. Martin Truex Jr.: Truex finished 14th at Phoenix and advanced to Homestead on points.
“I’ll have to go through three other drivers to remain Monster Energy Cup champion,” Truex said. “And if need be, I’ll literally ‘go through’ Joey Logano to get there.”
4. Joey Logano: Logano blew a left rear tire early, leading to a spin. He finished 37th.
“It’s me,” Logano said, “and Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex Jr. at Homestead. I’m in trouble because now all three of those guys have vowed not to let me win.”
5. Kurt Busch: Busch was running second late in the race before he was taken out by an overly aggressive move by Denny Hamlin. Busch finished 32nd.
“I’m not sure what Denny was thinking,” Busch said. “But I’m pretty sure who Kevin Harvick was thanking.”
6. Chase Elliott: Elliott started second at Phoenix but was collected in a crash when Denny Hamlin spun Kurt Busch late in the race. Elliott finished 23rd, three laps down.
“It sucks that I don’t have a chance to become the Monster Energy Cup champions,” Elliott said. “But I’m looking forward to just being a spectator at Homestead. And Lord knows NASCAR needs as many of those as possible.”
7. Aric Almirola: Almirola finished fourth at Phoenix.
“I needed a win to get to Homestead with a chance to be NASCAR champion,” Almirola said. “I didn’t get the job done. I came up a little bit ‘short;’ ironically, my championship hopes said ‘so long.'”
8. Brad Keselowski: Keselowski finished second at Phoenix.
“I’m pulling for my Penske Racing teammate Joey Logano to win the championship,” Keselowski said. “Mostly because Roger Penske told me I had to. It’s the closest you’ll get to ‘team orders’ in NASCAR.”
9. Kyle Larson: Larson finished third in the Can-Am 500, posting his 12th top five of the year.
“It’s the ‘Big 3’ and ‘Sliced Bread’ in the finale,” Larson said. “Here’s a little-known fact: a young Tony Stewart was also known as ‘Sliced Bread.’ Then he got heavy and his nickname changed to ‘Doughy.'”
10. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin finished 13th at Phoenix.
“If not for me and my reckless driving,” Hamlin said, “Kevin Harvick wouldn’t be among the Final 4 at Homestead. I drive a Toyota Camry; Harvick now says I drive a Dodge ‘Bullet.'”