Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.
1. Kevin Harvick: Harvick overcame a commitment line penalty to finish seventh at Richmond.
“My win at Darlington already advanced me to the next round,” Harvick said. “So I was racing at Richmond with no pressure. Trust me, it’s not often you can say ‘I was loose all day’ and it means a good thing.”
2. Brad Keselowski: Keselowski won Stage 2 at Richmond and controlled the race thereafter, taking the win in the Federated Auto Parts 400 and a spot in the next round of the playoffs.
“I made it look easy,” Keselowski said. “But looks can be deceiving. Not in this case though, because it was easy.”
3. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin won Stage 1 at Richmond, but was nabbed for speeding on pit road during subsequent pit stops. He scrapped his way back to a 12th place finish.
“Despite that,” Hamlin said, “I still qualified for the next playoff round. That means I can go to Bristol and gun for the win. I can’t wait to get there. But I have to make sure I don’t get ahead of myself. In other words, ‘not so fast.'”
4. Chase Elliott: Elliott finished fifth in the Federated Auto Parts 400, posting his 11th top five of the year.
“Except for competition cautions,” Elliott said, “the entire race was caution-free. My standing in the points is such that I can race at Bristol ‘caution-free.'”
5. Martin Truex, Jr.: Truex battled up front all night at Richmond and came home with the runner-up finish.
“I’ve finished fourth or better in nine of the last 10 races,” Truex said. “That’s a losing streak most, if not all, drivers would love to have.”
6. Joey Logano: Logano finished third at Richmond as Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski secured a dominating win.
“Brad all but predicted a win,” Logano said. “That’s called ‘reverse psychology,’ because he ‘backed it up.'”
7. Ryan Blaney: Blaney finished a disappointing 19th at Richmond, and now likely needs a win at Bristol to advance to Round 2 of the playoffs.
“I had to make an unscheduled pit stop for a loose wheel during Stage 1,” Blaney said. “I’ll tell you what else is ‘not secure’—–the job of one of my tire changers.”
8. Alex Bowman: Bowman finished ninth at Richmond and is eighth in the points standings, 27 points ahead of 13th.
“Jimmie Johnson is headed to Indy Car next year,” Byron said. “Jimmie’s been looking for more speed all year; apparently, he had to leave the sport of NASCAR to find it.”
9. Kyle Busch: Busch finished sixth at Richmond and is in solid position to advance to the Round Of 12.
“I’m happy with the result,” Busch said, “considering we started at the back after failing two inspections. Apparently, as long as the No. 18 car is moving, it earns a passing grade.”
10. Aric Almirola: Almirola finished eighth at Richmond as Stewart-Haas Racing placed three cars in the top 10.
“I’m seven points above the playoff cut-off line,” Almirola said. “That’s an uncomfortable margin, mostly because it’s too close for comfort.”