Wednesday, August 7, 2013
NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 21
Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.
1. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson started from the pole at Pocono but found trouble on lap 76 when he cut a tire and hit the wall. Despite the damage, he finished 13th and actually increased his lead in the points standings to 77 over Clint Bowyer.
"I've got a lot of empathy for that tire," Johnson said, "because we both 'blow' victories."
2. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth posted a disappointing 22nd in the GoBowling.com 400 after his No. 20 Husky Chevy was collected in a lap one wreck involving Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Juan Montoya. Kenseth dropped one spot in the points standings to seventh, 134 out of first.
"What do you call drivers who cause a wreck on lap one of the GoBowling.com 400?" Kenseth said. "Pinheads."
3. Kasey Kahne — Kahne zoomed past Jeff Gordon with two laps to go to win the GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono, his second win of the year. Kahne solidified his Chase For the Cup standing and is now eighth in the Sprint Cup points standings, 160 behind Jimmie Johnson.
"Those restarts were nerve-racking," Kahne said. "As one would expect in the GoBowling.com 400, I was on pins and needles.
"What a run by the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet. It insured victory, and was at a premium. The pit crew made all the right adjustments. As a result, we had the field covered."
4. Kyle Busch — Busch was the top Toyota finisher at Pocono, finishing eighth for his 12th top-10 finish of the year. He is seventh in the points standings, 130 behind Jimmie Johnson.
"Normally," Busch said, "you can find a Toyota in the top five. Not on Sunday. There were no cars from Japanese automakers there. In other words, there was a case of 'Oriental hooky' at Pocono."
5. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. — Earnhardt led two laps and finished fifth at Pocono, posting his fifth top-five result of the year. He is fifth in the points standings, 116 behind Jimmie Johnson.
"Pocono Raceway is in the vicinity of Pennsylvania Dutch country," Earnhardt said. "Combine that fact with the smell of a Junior Nation tent after three days in the infield and you've got yourself a 'dutch oven.'"
6. Clint Bowyer — Bowyer remained winless on the year with a 14th at Pocono as Michael Waltrip Racing teammate Martin Truex, Jr. finished close behind in 15th. Bowyer is still second in the point standings and trails Jimmie Johnson by 77.
"I'm still without a win this year," Bowyer said. "That could change this Sunday at the Cheez-It 355 at the Glen. In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb and predict a win. If I'm wrong, I'll certainly complain about it. That would make Watkins Glen much like Sonoma — whine and Cheez country."
7. Kevin Harvick — Harvick finished 17th at Pocono on a topsy-turvy day for Chase front-runners. After a run of nine consecutive top-10 finishes, Harvick has posted finishes outside the top 15 in the last two weeks.
"How I wish I could have waited until Sunday to announce my departure from Richard Childress Racing," Harvick said. "What better place than the GoBowling.com 400 to announce a 'split.'"
8. Brad Keselowski — After winning the Nationwide Series race in Iowa on Saturday, Keselowski took sixth in the GoBowling.com 400 on Sunday. Last year's Sprint Cup champion holds the 12th spot in the Sprint Cup point standings, four points ahead of Kurt Busch in 13th.
"There are many that don't believe I'll even make the Chase," Keselowski said. "And there are just as many that believe I will. I'm just glad some people are willing to come to my 'defense,' because I may not be."
9. Jeff Gordon — Gordon used a late caution to snatch the lead from Kasey Kahne, but after another late caution, Kahne got past Gordon with two to go to win the GoBowling.com 400. Gordon finished second and moved up one spot to 10th in the point standings.
"Sunday was my 42nd birthday," Gordon said. "I didn't exactly have my birthday wishes come true, but I did get a spanking from Kasey."
10. Carl Edwards — Edwards finished 11th at Pocono, one spot behind Roush Fenway teammate Greg Biffle. Edwards is third in the points standings, 84 behind Jimmie Johnson.
"Danica Patrick wrecked Travis Kvapil for the second time in three races," Edwards said. "Let's not go so hard on Danica. She will be a good driver one day. For now, though, she's just an accident waiting to 'happen.'"