NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 5
March 27, 2013 by Jeffrey Boswell • Print Story •
Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.
1. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. — Earnhardt posted his third top-five result of the year with the runner-up in the Auto Club 400 and took over the top spot in the Sprint Cup point standings. He leads Brad Keselowski by 12.
"I'm keeping this in perspective," Earnhardt said. "We're only making one t-shirt design commemorating this moment. Sales will be brisk, and much like me atop the rankings, they should be gone in a week."
2. Kyle Busch — Busch avoided the Denny Hamlin-Joey Logano disaster in front of him on the last lap and drove to the win in the Auto Club 400. Busch is now sixth in the point standings, 36 out of first.
"For those that don't think I know how to avoid controversy," Busch said, "take that. I went right around it. Thanks are in order to my former teammate Logano. In this case, he gave me a going-away present."
3. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson finished 12th at California as the Joey Logano/Denny Hamlin wreck unfolded in front of him on the final lap. Johnson remained third in the point standings, and trails Hendrick teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by 16.
"Obviously," Johnson said, "Logano and Hamlin have some history. And Tony Stewart and Logano have some 'language.' And I'm sure all three will be summoned to the NASCAR hauler for social studies."
4. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski struggled late at Fontana 1.5-mile oval, finishing a disappointing 23rd in the Auto Club 400. He dropped out of the lead in the point standings and is now second, 12 behind Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
"Joey Logano is quickly becoming the most-hated driver in NASCAR," Keselowski said. "It seems that everybody wants a piece of 'Sliced Bread.' I have millions of followers on Twitter. Logano has only one follower — controversy."
5. Carl Edwards — Edwards finished fourth in the Auto Club 400, earning his third top-five finish of the year. He improved three places in the point standings to fourth, 35 out of first.
"I hear Kyle Busch is scheduled to appear on 'Anger Management' with Charlie Sheen," Edwards said. "I'll tell you who needs anger management — Tim Richmond, because he's not alive today to hang out with Sheen. Let's hope Sheen doesn't pressure Busch into snorting cocaine off the hood of the No. 18 Toyota. That would be called an 'engine blow.'"
6. Greg Biffle — Biffle's No. 16 Fusion was one of three Fords in the top 10 at California, recording a sixth in the Auto Club 400. He is now fourth in the point standings, 35 out of first.
"I think Tony Stewart was wrong to go after Joey Logano," Biffle said. "How dare he attack someone nearly 1/2 his age, and nearly 1/3 his weight."
7. Paul Menard — Menard led the Richard Childress Racing charge at California, finishing eighth as teammates Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton finished outside the top 10.
"Ho hum," Menard said. "Another NASCAR 'fight' in which no meaningful punches were landed. Punches in NASCAR fights are like spoilers — they catch air."
8. Joey Logano — Logano led 41 laps at California, but not the last one, as he and former teammate Denny Hamlin scrapped in Turn 4, sending Hamlin hard into the inside wall while Kyle Busch slipped by for the win. Logano survived to finish third, his first top-five of the year.
"Don't forget," Logano said, "I also tangled with Tony Stewart after the race. He claimed I blocked him on the restart. And I guess if Tony Stewart says you blocked, then you blocked. I may only be only 22, but Stewart seems to be the immature one. That's why I tossed a water bottle at him — I was giving him a 'baby' shower."
9. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin finished 25th in the Auto Club 400 after his last-lap tangle with Joey Logano that send Hamlin's No. 11 Toyota hard into the infield wall. He suffered a compression fracture of his L1 vertebrae.
"Mark my words," Hamlin said, "I'll be 'back.' And once I return, Logano should 'brace' for retaliation."
10. Kurt Busch — With brother Kyle scoring a dramatic win, Kurt took fifth in the Auto Club 400, his second top-five result of the season.
"I can relate to what Joey Logano must be feeling," Busch said. "I know exactly what it's like to be attacked by Tony Stewart. My advice is to turn the other cheek. Why? Because you have two of them, just like that 'ass.'"