Wednesday, October 2, 2013

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 29

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth finished 7th at Dover, failing in his quest to become the first driver to win the first three Chase For the Cup races. Kenseth leads Jimmie Johnson by eight points in the standings.

"The No. 20 Toyota sported the 'Let's Do This' logo at Dover," Kenseth said. "That's opposed to Clint Bowyer's No. 15, which read 'I Did This.'"

2. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson captured a big win at Dover, taking the AAA 400 as Joe Gibbs Racing rivals Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch finished 7th and 5th, respectively. Johnson trails Kenseth by eight in the Sprint Cup points standings.

"Kenseth won't have this championship handed to him on a silver platter," Johnson said. "Why? Because that platter is full, because I just served notice on it."

3. Kyle Busch — Busch led 30 laps and finished fifth at Dover, posting his 14th top-five of the year. He is third in the point standings, 12 behind Matt Kenseth.

"I'm tired of playing second fiddle to Kenseth," Busch said. "I'm used to being called a 'tool,' not an 'instrument.'

4. Jeff Gordon — Gordon finished fourth at Dover as Hendrick Motorsports took three of the top four spots, with Jimmie Johnson winning. Gordon is fifth in the points standings, 39 out of first.

"I'd say I'm doing pretty good," Gordon said, "considering I was a wild-wild card addition to the Chase.

"My odds are slim and my chances are fat. It appears that for my fifth Sprint Cup championship, the 'wait' is on."

5. Kevin Harvick — Harvick finished sixth in the AAA 400 at Dover, recording his 15th top 10 of the year. He is fourth in the Sprint Cup points standings, 39 out of first.

"Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, and Kyle Busch are slugging it out at the top," Harvick said, "while I'm merely an afterthought. I, along with others, am what you call a 'sleeper.' That's because if I win the Cup, someone will have to wake me up, because I was obviously dreaming."

6. Greg Biffle — Biffle took ninth at Dover, the top finisher among Roush Fenway Racing drivers. He is sixth in the point standings, 41 out of first.

"I heard Clint Bowyer did yoga before Sunday's race," Biffle said. "Ironically, I find myself in a similar position, because it's a 'stretch' to believe either one of us has a chance to win the Cup."

7. Clint Bowyer — Bowyer finished 10th in the AAA 400 after starting 23rd and leading one lap. He is eighth in the points standings, 51 out of first.

"Luckily," Bowyer said, "5-Hour Energy will remain as the primary sponsor of the No. 15 car. I guess I talked them in to staying. You could say I put a positive 'spin' on the situation."

8. Kurt Busch — Busch finished 21st in the AAA 400, three laps off the pace. He is now ninth in the points standings, 55 out of first.

"We had four new pit crew members at Dover," Busch said. "You could say Furniture Row Racing 'benched' some guys. It didn't seem to make much of a difference, though, because our chances to win the Cup have been put to bed."

9. Ryan Newman — Newman finished eighth at Dover and is now seventh in the points standings, 48 behind Matt Kenseth.

"Quicken Loans is following me to Richard Childress Racing," Newman said. "Unlike Stewart-Haas Racing, they didn't leave me hanging."

10. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. — Earnhardt started on the pole and finished second to Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson at Dover. He is 10th in the points standings, behind Matt Kenseth.

"I won the pole with a record lap at Dover," Earnhardt said. "It was a historic moment for Junior Nation, because they had good reason to do a pole dance and a lap dance.

"I thought my four tires would catch Johnson's two. Four is usually better than two. Likewise, five is always better than zero."

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