Wednesday, February 27, 2013

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 1

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson won his second Daytona 500, leading the final 10 laps and holding off a late charge from Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

"It was a historic day at Daytona," Johnson said, "especially for women. Danica Patrick pocketed $357,464 in prize money, while Erin Andrews lost 50 Cents.

"It's great to win my second Daytona 500, and first for Chad Knaus. As you may recall, Chad was suspended for my first 500 in 2006, but he was with me there in spirit, and in my rear window."

2. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. — Earnhardt's last-lap charge gave him his second consecutive Daytona 500 runner-up finish, and third in four years, as Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson took the win.

"I was a day late and a dollar short," Earnhardt said, "as opposed to a certain rapper, who was a half-dollar short.

"Finishing second at Daytona, followed by a disappointing result in the Chase, has been the story of my career. It's a case of 'so close, yet so far away.'"

3. Brad Keselowski — NASCAR's defending champion overcame early damage after being collected in an early crash and battle back to finish fourth in the Daytona 500. Keselowski led 13 laps on the day, and trails Jimmie Johnson by six points.

"As you may have heard," Keselowski said, "I was called to speak to NASCAR brass about some comments I made critical of NASCAR. I was politely told to keep my foot on the pedal and out of my mouth."

4. Greg Biffle — Biffle qualified fifth and finished sixth at Daytona, the top finisher among the Roush Fenway Racing trio, as Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. finished 12th and Carl Edwards finished 33rd.

"Stenhouse is dating the hottest driver in NASCAR," Biffle said, "while Edwards is the coldest driver in NASCAR."

5. Regan Smith — Smith, in the No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet, finished a strong seventh in the Daytona 500, leading one lap.

"50 Cent says 'He doesn't see black people,'" Smith said. "If memory serves me, there once was a wrapper named '6 Cents' who also didn't see black people, but did see dead people.

"As the driver of the car once piloted by Kurt Busch, I'm proud to say that Phoenix Racing no longer sees crazy people."

6. Mark Martin — Martin finished third in the Daytona 500, moving up with a late charge while pushing Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to a second-place finish.

"I'm now 0-29 at Daytona," Martin said, "so finishing third is nothing special. It's like 'kissing a sister,' and I want to do that about as much as Erin Andrews wants to kiss a 'brother.'

"My man 50 Cent said he didn't see any black people at Daytona. I say, look, Fitty, it's Sunday at Daytona. There's only one 'race.'"

7. Danica Patrick — Patrick started on the pole at Daytona and became the first female driver to lead a lap in the iconic NASCAR event. She eventually finished eighth, by far her best Sprint Cup finish.

"The No. 10 GoDaddy.Com Chevrolet not only had horsepower," Patrick said, "it had girl power.

"Kudos to Erin Andrews for rejecting the advances of 50 Cent. What kind of man complains about the lack of black people, then goes in for a kiss on the girl in the white 'wrapper?'

"I guess I silenced most of my critics with my performance, but not all of them. There are some creeps still monitoring the GoDaddy.com website who wish I'd show more of myself."

8. Ryan Newman — With Tony Stewart knocked out early, Newman led the charge for Stewart-Haas Racing, leading three laps and finishing fifth at Daytona.

"I hate it for Tony," Newman said. "His run of bad luck continued in the 500. Tony can't catch a break, unlike the Daytona catchfence, which catches brakes, tires, and engines. You've got to hand it to NASCAR fans for coming to the race on Sunday despite what happened on Saturday. Those fans have a commendable 'debris de corps.'"

9. Clint Bowyer — Bowyer finished 11th in the Daytona 500, one of only two Toyotas in the top 11.

"Judging by what happened early in the race," Bowyer said, "Jimmie Johnson was not the Hendrick driver I expected to win the race. After the race, I felt like I was back at Phoenix when I kept asking, 'Where's Jeff Gordon?'

"I'm just pleased my Toyota engine didn't blow up like those of the Joe Gibbs Racing cars. Those JGR engines are like milk — that expiration date will sneak up on you."

10. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. — Stenhouse, in the No. 17 Roush Fenway Ford, finished 12th at Daytona after starting 28th, joining teammate Greg Biffle in the top 12.

"It looks like Danica Patrick and I have taken our driving to another level," Stenhouse said. "It remains to be seen whether our relationship will follow. I sure hope so. Until then, though, Danica and I will collectively be known as 'Hot and Bothered.'

"I hold a unique position among NASCAR drivers. I'm the only driver who can say he's dating a 'fellow' driver and still retain his manhood."

Contents copyright © Sports Central 1998-2009