Wednesday, September 4, 2013
NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 25
Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.
1. Kyle Busch — Busch took the lead in the pits during the final caution at Atlanta and sped away on the restart to win the AdvoCare 500. It was Busch's fourth win of the year, tied with Jimmie Johnson and one behind Matt Kenseth.
"How about Trucks Series driver Max Papis getting slapped by a woman after the race in Ontario on Saturday," Busch said. "Max is a veteran of open-wheeled racing, and now is a veteran of open-handed slapping. No one was more offended by this than my brother Kurt — he's no fan of bitch-slapping."
2. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth fell a lap down midway through the Advocare 500, but recovered to finish a solid 12th for Joe Gibbs Racing, as teammate Kyle Busch took the win. Barring a win by Jimmie Johnson or Busch next week in Richmond, Kenseth will be the top seed when the Chase For the Cup begins.
"We'll definitely start at the top of the Chase," Kenseth. "I'm just thrilled to be in it. You know, there are five Chase spots still open, so there will be a lot of clinching at Richmond, particularly among the buttocks of the drivers vying for those five spots."
3. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson finished 28th at Atlanta, four laps down, after sustaining damage in a restart on lap 32 when Jeff Gordon spun his tires, backing up those behind him. It was Johnson's third consecutive finish outside the top 28, a situation made more palatable by his four wins this year.
"I've had the same engine problem for the last three weeks," Johnson said. "It seems to be stuck in reverse. Luckily, I have four wins, because I surely need something to 'fall back' on."
4. Clint Bowyer — Bowyer was leading on lap 193 when his engine let go, relegating him to a 39th-place finish in the AdvoCare 500, his worst result of the year.
"We were running an experimental engine package," Bowyer said. "I like to call it 'The Clint Bowyer Experiment.' That was also the name of my country and western band; unfortunately, it never 'blew up.'"
5. Kevin Harvick — Harvick posted his 13th top-10 finish with a ninth at Atlanta, leading the way for Richard Childress Racing in the Jimmy Johns No. 29 Chevrolet.
"Most importantly," Harvick said, "I clinched a spot in the Chase. I was so excited, I called Tony Stewart and said, 'I'm in!'"
6. Carl Edwards — Edwards led 68 laps at Atlanta, but fell a lap down late and finished 18th, just behind Roush Fenway teammates Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in 15th and 16th, respectively.
"I had a spirited battle with Jeff Gordon for the lead midway through the race," Edwards said. "I'm not sure why Gordon is so angry. I know his hauler caught on fire on its way to Atlanta, and I know it had to get hot in there. Maybe he's still 'steamed.'"
7. Joey Logano — Logano's No. 22 Penske Ford was the dominant car at Atlanta, leading 78 laps, but lost the lead in the pits during the final caution. With only 12 laps to catch Kyle Busch in the lead, Logano fell short and settled for second.
"It was a good day for me," Logano said, "but not a good one for my teammate Brad Keselowski. He lost two cylinders, three if you count the Sprint 'Cup' as a cylinder."
8. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. — Earnhardt finished eighth in the AdvoCare 500, posting his 14th top-10 result of the year. Still winless on the season, Earnhardt looks for a final chance for victory at Richmond.
"It's 'crunch' time for me at Richmond," Earnhardt said, "therefore a great time for Nestle to pay me for an endorsement. Now, I need to finish 32nd or better to clinch a spot in the Chase. Luckily, I don't need a victory to qualify for the Chase. 'IN' is practically the same as 'WIN,' it just lacks a 'W,' just like me."
9. Martin Truex, Jr. — Driving with a broken wrist sustained last week at Bristol, Truex battled his way to a third in the AdvoCare 500. He is 13th in the points standings and currently holds one of the two wildcard spots for the Chase.
"My cast melted during the race," Truex said. "And if things don't go right for me at Richmond, I could be a 'cast off' from the Chase."
10. Kasey Kahne — Kahne finished 36th at Atlanta after traffic backed up on a lap 32 restart, damaging the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevy. He has clinched at least a wildcard spot in the Chase, and looks to better his seeding with a win in Richmond.
"I'm not sure what I'd do if I was slapped by a woman," Kahne said. "I'm sure my decision would be made easier were she wearing leather and chains, though. Like most drivers who want to be the best, I'm into domination."