NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 22

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Carl Edwards — Edwards finished a solid 12th at Watkins Glen, Roush Fenway Racing's top finisher in Monday's Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen. Edwards is now tied with Kyle Busch for the lead in the Sprint Cup point standings.

"Should I be worried that I no longer sit alone atop the point standings?" Edwards said. "Of course not. I'm NASCAR's resident pretty boy, and like it or not, I even look good in a 'tie.'"

I hear Boris Said has it out for my Roush Fenway Greg Biffle. Boris said one day soon, a driver will show up at the race track with a black eye. I tend to believe him. Stranger things have happened. Heck, twice a year, a driver shows up at the track with an afro!"

2. Kyle Busch — Busch led 49 of 92 laps at Watkins Glen and was leading on the race's final restart with two laps to go. But both Brad Keselowski and Marcos Ambrose slipped by on the restart, and Ambrose muscled his way to the win. Busch finished third, his series-best 11th top 5 of the year, and is now tied with Carl Edwards atop the point standings.

"M&Ms may simply melt in your mouth," Busch said, "but apparently, leads evaporate altogether in my hands."

How about poor Denny Hamlin, losing his brakes on lap 66 and crashing hard into the turn one wall? He's okay, but with brake issues on top of all the engine problems he's experienced this year, you have to believe there will be some changes with that team. I say it's time for Viagra to return to NASCAR sponsorship, and Hamlin's No. 11 car would be a perfect fit for a product with a proven solution to equipment failure."

3. Jimmie Johnson — After a week of feuding with Kurt Busch, Johnson finished 10th at Watkins Glen, scoring his 13th top-10 finish of the year. Johnson is now third in the point standings, trailing Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch by six.

"So Kurt Busch says he's 'in my head?'" Johnson said. "Well, he's out of his mind. Now he needs to get out of mind. Anyway, I finished 28 places better than he, which just goes to show that Kurt's a punk, and karma's a bitch."

4. Kurt Busch — After winning Saturday's Nationwide race subbing for Penske teammate Brad Keselowski, Busch found the going much rougher during Monday's rescheduled Sprint Cup race. Busch spun out on lap four, then blew a tire and slammed the turn five tire barrier on lap 49. He finished a disappointing 38th, and dropped two places to sixth in the point standings, 40 out of first.

"It's nice to know," Busch said, "that I can get in Keselowski's car and win a race. Especially since I, the former driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, have witnessed Brad get into my car and win. Twice."

At the Glen, I barely made it to the halfway point of the race. You could say I couldn't 'break a sweat,' which, incidentally, is exactly what Jimmie Johnson said about my fighting ability."

5. Kevin Harvick — Harvick finished sixth at Watkins Glen, posting his first top-10 result since Daytona on July 2nd. Harvick is now fourth in the Sprint Cup point standings, 14 behind Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch.

"I'm certainly pleased with the result," Harvick said. By no means am I a road course ringer. Now, if I would have been in Boris Said's shoes, I would have been a road course wringer, because somebody would have been choked."

You may have seen me throw out the first pitch at the Angels/Yankees game in New York last week. One thing's for sure: that baseball won't get a ticket for speeding on pit lane. My incident with Kyle Busch at Darlington, coupled with my pitching skill, just goes to show that his right arm can't hit a target, moving or otherwise."

6. Jeff Gordon — Gordon led six laps at Watkins Glen on his way to a 13th-place finish in the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen. He remained seventh in the point standings and is 52 behind Carl Edwards.

"What I finish," Gordon said. "That last lap was a lot like a Kurt Busch radio tirade, because all 'hell' broke loose. And David Reutimann was much like Indy Car driver Will Power at New Hampshire — they both flipped. Of course, Power's middle finger salute to the race officials drew a fine. I guess that's the 'Power' of 'one.' You would never see a Sprint Cup driver flip off NASCAR officials. Not because our manners are any better than Power's, but NASCAR officials don't have a problem not throwing a caution. And they don't need any rain to do it."

7. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth suffered an early setback at Watkins Glen, running out of gas midway through the race, but fought back to come home 14th. He moved up one spot to fifth in the point standings, and is now 28 out of first.

"Thanks to Greg Biffle for the push back to the pits after I ran out of gas," Kenseth said. "According to Boris Said, that's the only 'push back' Biffle's good for. If Biffle does show up for an upcoming race with a black eye, then he'll be the only 'Said head' who's not a member of Boris' fan club."

8. Tony Stewart — Stewart finished 27th, the last car on the lead lap, after his No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil Chevy spun and was hit by another car. Stewart fell one spot in the point standings to tenth, and is 25 ahead of Clint Bowyer in 11th.

"I wouldn't classify my finish as 'Heluva Good,'" Stewart said. "I would, however, classify Boris Said's challenge to Greg Biffle as a 'heluva goad.'"

9. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski nearly captured his second-consecutive win of the year, leading with one to go at Watkins Glen before Marco Ambrose bulled past him. Keselowski settled for second and further solidified his wild card chances.

"Ambrose is the first Australian to win a NASCAR race," Keselowski said. "I say that's 'Aus-some.' He's establishing quite a few milestones. Last year, he became the first Australian to stall his engine while leading the race."

10. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. — Earnhardt finished 15th in the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen, joining Hendrick teammates Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon in the top 15. Earnhardt improved one position in the Sprint Cup point standings, and is in ninth with four races before the Chase opener.

"I like my chances to make the Chase For the Cup," Earnhardt said, "if the Chase started tomorrow. Hopefully, I can survive these next four races and maintain my position. One thing's for sure: I won't be winning my way into the Chase."

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