NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 20
August 1, 2012 by Jeffrey Boswell • Print Story •
Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.
1. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson led 99 of 160 laps at Indianapolis, powering to the win in the Brickyard 400, his fourth career Brickyard triumph. He remained fourth in the Sprint Cup point standings, 27 behind Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
"That ties me with Jeff Gordon for most Brickyard wins," Johnson said. "And I'm getting awfully cozy with the bricks. One more win at Indy, and they'll have to start calling me the 'Brick-layer.' And much like a brick, my championship aspirations have been 'solidified' in concrete."
2. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. — Earnhardt posted his ninth top-five finish of the year with a fourth at Indianapolis, and ascended to the top of the point standings. He leads Matt Kenseth by 14 as the series heads to Pocono for Sunday's Pennsylvania 400.
"It's great o finally be atop the point standings," Earnhardt said. "To quote Jeremy Mayfield, 'I can't get any higher.'
"Lately, there's been a lot of talk about A.J. Allmendinger's 'A' sample and 'B' sample. But let me tell you about some other samples that, like Allmendinger's, always turn out positive. Those are the urine tests of the people of Junior Nation, whose 'E' samples never fail."
3. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth finished 35th in the Brickyard 400 after getting caught up in a late accident that left him 28 laps down. He fell out of the Sprint Cup points lead and now trails Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by 14.
"I was wiped out by Joey Logano," Kenseth said, "whom I may very well be replacing at Joe Gibbs Racing next year. On both subjects, Logano's driving skill and my impending move to JGR, I'll hold my tongue. 'Mum's the word.' Or, in Logano's case, 'Dad's the word.'"
4. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin started on pole at Indianapolis, leading 27 laps before finishing sixth, his 11th top-10 of the year. He remained fifth in the point standings, 64 out of first.
"As a driver who's never won a Sprint Cup championship," Hamlin said, "I guess starting on pole is as close as I can come to saying I 'went out on top.'
"But not having won since April, I'm primed for another win. And I'm always solid in the Pocono's. I'm no Dale Earnhardt, Jr., but you could say I'm 'Mountain Due.'"
5. Tony Stewart — Stewart finished a solid 10th at Indianapolis, his 10th top-10 finish of the season. He is eighth in the point standings, 79 out of first.
"The Chase is shaping up to be a battle between Jimmie Johnson and myself," Stewart said. "There are eight championship titles between us. It will be a battle of epic proportions. And I'm sure this is one time when Jimmie doesn't mind being categorized as a 'heavyweight' along with me."
6. Greg Biffle — Biffle was the lone bright spot for Roush Fenway Racing in the Brickyard 400, finishing third while teammates Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth finished 29th and 35th, respectively. Biffle held on to third in the point standings, and trails Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by 22.
"Kenseth may be leaving Roush Fenway," Biffle said, "but Edwards is staying. Jack Roush isn't the only one who believes Edwards is 'going nowhere.'"
7. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski led 22 laps at Indianapolis and finished ninth, one day after winning the Nationwide Indiana 250. He is ninth in the Sprint Cup point standings, 82 out of first.
"Thanks to NASCAR for penalizing Elliot Sadler on the final restart Saturday," Keselowski said. "Apparently, NASCAR supports my use of Twitter and social media, because they gave me one more follower."
8. Kyle Busch — Busch finished a distant second to Jimmie Johnson, posting his sixth top-five finish of the year. Busch's runner-up result boosted his Chase hopes as he moved up two places in the point standings to 11th.
"Jimmie Johnson opened up a four second lead on me," Busch said. "Take it from someone who knows what it's like to go insanely fast: the only way I could have caught Johnson was with a blue light."
9. Kevin Harvick — Harvick finished 13th in the Brickyard 400 and still remains winless on the year. He is sixth in the Sprint Cup point standings, 78 out of first.
"Fatherhood has put life into perspective for me," Harvick said. "I'm calmer, more grounded, and less ornery. Trust me, everyone's praying that the Busch brothers' parents get grandchildren soon."
10. Martin Truex, Jr. — Truex finished a solid eighth at Indianapolis, posting his 10th top-10 result of the year. He is tied for sixth in the point standings and trails Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by 78.
"Congratulations to Dale Earnhardt, Jr.," Truex said. "I know he's spent years trying to live up to his dad. And I think he's on the way with the No. 1 spot in the points. Finally, Junior's got seniority."