Wednesday, March 13, 2013

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 3

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson finished sixth at Las Vegas and maintained his lead in the Sprint Cup point standings. Johnson leads Brad Keselowski by 5 points.

"It's always good to leave Las Vegas on top," Johnson said. "The season is shaping up to be a two-man battle for the Sprint Cup championship. Who's going to win it, me or Keselowski? I don't have a clue, but if I was a detective, I'd have a 'lead.'"

2. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski started on the pole in the Kobalt Tools 400 and finished third, his third top-five result of the year. Keselowski now trails Jimmie Johnson by 5 in the point standings.

"It was quite an awkward moment when the Miller Lite Ford was awarded the Coors Light Pole Award," Keselowski said. "Luckily, my 'wide mouth' didn't 'vent,' thereby avoiding a 'vortex' of controversy."

3. Matt Kenseth — On his 41st birthday, Kenseth held off Kasey Kahne to win the Kobalt Tools 400, his 25th career Sprint Cup win.

"How about that race trophy I was awarded?" Kenseth said. "Toyota engine issues aside, Joe Gibbs, for once, is happy to have a wrench thrown into his operation.

"I became just the third driver to win on his birthday. Carl Edwards threatened to give me a 'spanking,' but I politely declined."

4. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. — Earnhardt posted his third top-10 finish of the year with a seventh at Las Vegas. He now trails Jimmie Johnson by 10 in the point standings.

"I'm off to the best three-race start of my career," Earnhardt said. "And I'm still in third.

"I hear they've chosen a grand marshal for the April race in Texas. His name is 'N.R. Ray,' and I understand he'll be packing a starter's pistol."

5. Denny Hamlin — An eventful week for Hamlin culminated with a 15th at Las Vegas, as Joe Gibbs teammate Matt Kenseth won the Kobalt Tools 400. Earlier in the week, Hamlin was fined $25,000 for making critical comments about the new Gen-6 car.

"There's five digits in $25,000," Hamlin said. "Unfortunately for NASCAR, they'll only see one of them."

6. Carl Edwards — Edwards backed up his win at Phoenix with a solid fifth at Las Vegas, earning his second top-five of the year. He moved up six spots to fifth in the point standings, 31 out of first.

"I hear Danica Patrick was hit in the head by a rock," Edwards said. "If it's anything like her driving, I'm sure it left a dent."

7. Kasey Kahne — Kahne No. 5 Chevy was clearly the class of the Kobalt Tools 400, but lost the race off pit road to Matt Kenseth on the final caution. Kahne tracked down Matt Kenseth but was unable to make the winning pass and settled for second.

"I'm amazed that Kenseth could hold me off on old tires," Kahne said. "And speaking of 'old' and 'tired,' how about the racing at Las Vegas. Maybe Denny Hamlin was on to something. His children may not be, but his points sure are legitimate."

8. Mark Martin — Martin finished 14th in the Kobalt Tools, as Michael Waltrip Racing teammate Martin Truex, Jr. finished eighth. Martin is sixth in the point standings, 34 out of first.

"Much like my homeboy 50 Cent to find black people at Daytona," Martin said, "I'm on a fruitless quest of my own &mdash to win a Sprint Cup championship.

9. Greg Biffle — Biffle finished 17th in the Kobalt Tools 400 as former Roush Fenway teammate Matt Kenseth took the win. Biffle is tied for seventh in the point standings, 36 out of first.

"Congratulations to Matt," Biffle said. "I knew he'd do well in the Dollar General Toyota. When you combine Matt's boring personality in a car with 'Dollar' on the side, you get a character named 'So-So Money.'

10. Kyle Busch — Busch overcame an early pit road speeding penalty to claim fourth in the Kobalt Tools 400.

"Pit road speeding is exactly what you'd expect from Joe Gibbs Racing," Busch said. "Usually, it happens when we're in a hurry to make an engine change."

Contents copyright © Sports Central 1998-2009