Wednesday, September 18, 2013

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 27

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth passed Kyle Busch on a restart with 27 laps to go and held on to win the rain-delayed Geico 400 at Chicagoland. Kenseth leads Busch by 8 points in the Sprint Cup point standings.

"That was what you call an uneventful win," Kenseth said. "Unlike incriminating radio chatter, I do things quietly."

2. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson led 40 laps at Chicagoland and came home fifth in the Geico 400. He is third in the points standings, 11 behind Matt Kenseth.

"We survived a broken jack in the pits," Johnson said. "That left us with a hill to climb, a hill known as 'Broke Jack Mountain.'

"Right now, Kenseth has the upper hand, which makes him vulnerable, because it's a position to which he's not accustomed. Just the saying of the words 'upper hand' makes Matt cower and keep an eye peeled for Carl Edwards."

3. Kyle Busch — Busch finished second to teammate Matt Kenseth as Joe Gibbs Racing took the top two spots at Chicagoland. Busch is second in the points standings, eight behind Kenseth.

"After winning the Trucks and Nationwide races," Busch said, "I just missed the Chicagoland sweep. I did two burnouts during the weekend, and that surprised a lot of people, because many are expecting a 'flame-out.'

"I nearly fell out of my truck during my victory burnout after my Trucks win on Friday night. It's one thing to get thrown out of a truck; it's another to get thrown out of the Chase."

4. Carl Edwards — Edwards finished 11th at Chicagoland, just missing out on his 14th top 10 of the year. He is fifth in the points standings, 23 out of first.

"Sunday's race was sponsored by Geico," Edwards said. "Much like Aflac, they are an insurance firm that covers accidents. And that explains why Clint Bowyer is sponsored by neither."

5. Kevin Harvick — Harvick finished third in the Geico 400 on a long, rainy day in Joliet, Illinois. He is fourth in the Sprint Cup points standings, 15 out of first.

"Such scandalous behavior in NASCAR," Harvick said. "Jeff Burton would be appalled, and he'd tell you that, if only someone would interview him."

6. Clint Bowyer — Bowyer finished ninth at Chicagoland, posting his 14th top-10 of the year. He is eighth in the points standings, 28 out of first.

"It was quite a week for me," Bowyer said. "I was in front of cameras so much, I felt like an actor. I'm not dumb, I just play it on television."

7. Kurt Busch — Busch finished fourth for Furniture Row Racing, the only single-car team in the Chase For The Cup. He is sixth in the Sprint Cup point standings, 23 out of first.

"Did you see Junior's engine let go?" Busch said. "There was 'fire' and 'Smoke," which sounds an awful lot like the Ryan Newman situation at Stewart-Haas Racing."

8. Ryan Newman — Newman, who was added to the Chase field earlier in the week, finished 10th in the Geico 400.

"I'm just happy that NASCAR did the right thing and added me to the field," Newman said. "I believe NASCAR may have been the only one to do the right thing at Richmond."

9. Jeff Gordon — Gordon battled back from a lap down to pull out a sixth-place finish at Chicagoland, a solid start to the Chase for the four-time champion. He moved up to seventh in the points standings, 24 behind Matt Kenseth.

"I was a late entry into the Chase field," Gordon said, "courtesy of NASCAR in the wake if the Clint Bowyer scandal. It was my first 'win' of the year.

"Now, I think Joey Logano got what was coming to him with the engine failure. Incidentally, Logano is a big Game Show Network fan. Incidentally, his favorite shows are Let's Make a Deal and The Price is Right."

10. Joey Logano — Logano started on the pole at Chicagoland and finished 37th after his engine failed with 91 laps to go at Chicagoland. He is now 12th in the points standings, 52 behind Matt Kenseth.

"Some would say I deserved engine failure," Logano said. "I guess they would call that 'bad car-ma.' But hopefully, fans won't define me by this deal-making that took place at Richmond. In other words, I hope they'll 'give me a pass.'"

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