Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.
1. Martin Truex Jr.: Truex won Stage 2 at Las Vegas and later passed Kevin Harvick for the lead with 20 laps to go. Truex then eased to victory and secured his place in the next round of the playoffs.
“In this case,” Truex said, “what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas. It follows you all the way to the second round of the playoffs.”
2. Kyle Busch: Busch fell two laps down early, but charged back to the lead lap at Las Vegas before a collision halted his ascent. He finished 19th but is still fourth in the Monster Energy points standings.
“That collision was with Garrett Smithey,” Busch said. “Who is Garrett Smithey? He must be the new kid on the block.”
3. Kevin Harvick: Harvick led 47 laps and took the runner-up spot in the SouthPoint 400 at Las Vegas.
“I was leading,” Harvick said, “and ran into some traffic. That’s when Truex pounced and went from ‘Martin Truex, II‘ to ‘Martin Truex I.’ But I’m thrilled to start the playoffs with a runner-up. And my team would second that emotion.”
4. Joey Logano: Logano captured Stage 1 of the Southpoint 400 at Las Vegas, but ran into trouble in Stage 2 when contact with Daniel Suarez caused significant damage to the No. 22 Penske Ford. Logano recovered to finish ninth.
“I think Daniel Suarez really screwed me,” Logano said. “So I gave him the middle finger. I hate to point fingers, so I didn’t point my middle finger. It was aimed straight up at the sky.”
5. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin finished 15th at Las Vegas as Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. sailed to the win.
“Beside Martin,” Hamlin said, “JGR drivers struggled. I finished 15th, Kyle Busch finished 19th, and Erik Jones may just be finished.”
6. Brad Keselowski: Keselowski finished third at Las Vegas.
“Former NFL superstar Marshawn Lynch drove the pace car in Sunday’s race,” Keselowski said. “Marshawn was known for going ‘Beast Mode,’ which makes sense here, because, after all, this is the Monster Energy Cup series.”
7. Chase Elliott: Elliott enjoyed a solid start to the playoffs with a fourth-place finish at Las Vegas.
“I’m happy we got off to a good start in the playoffs,'” Elliott said. “Some others weren’t so lucky, like Kyle Busch. He had some issues with a couple of ‘backmarkers.’ Just to clarify, ‘backmarkers’ aren’t ‘tramp stamp’ tattoos on the lower back of NASCAR fans; ‘backmarkers’ are cars that have been lapped. Most drivers don’t want to see either.”
8. Kurt Busch: Busch cut a tire and slammed the wall hard on lap 187, ending his race at Las Vegas. He finished last.
“Of course it’s not how you want to start the playoffs,” Busch said. “I was the first driver out of the race. So my day came to an abrupt ending. You might as well call me ‘Curt Busch.'”
9. Ryan Blaney: Blaney finished fifth at Las Vegas and is now 10th in the points standings.
“The temperature was 100 degrees when the race began,” Blaney said. “Ask any respectable NASCAR fan what’s the best way to deal with heat like that, and they’ll tell you, ‘warm beer.'”
10. William Byron: Byron started 14th and finished seventh at Las Vegas.
“If case you didn’t hear it,” Byron said, “Paul Menard announced his retirement. In case you did hear it and forgot, Paul Menard announced his retirement.”