Wednesday, October 23, 2013
NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 32
Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.
1. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth survived to finish 20th at Talladega, seven spots behind Jimmie Johnson. Kenseth's 4-point lead became a four point deficit to Jimmie Johnson in the standings.
"I drove like I was expecting the 'big one,'" Kenseth said, "and it never came. So the fans weren't the only ones upset that there wasn't a big crash. I guess I should have been more aggressive. If I've been faulted for being anything, it's too 'laid back.'"
2. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson finished 13th in the Camping World RV Sales 500 at Talladega, leading a race-high 47 laps to earn two crucial bonus points. He took over the lead in the points, and holds a four-point edge over Matt Kenseth.
"I was playing 'catch' with points-leader Kenseth," Johnson said, "and I 'overthrew' him."
3. Kevin Harvick — Harvick, in the No. 29 Jimmy Johns Chevrolet, took 12th at Talladega and is fourth in the Sprint Cup points standings, tied with Kyle Busch 26 points out of first.
"This is the only way I can possibly share space with Kyle Busch," Harvick said.
"That was one of the least exciting Talladega races, despite the fact that cars were topping out at near 200 miles per hour. I guess that's why they call it 'full bore.'"
4. Kyle Busch — Busch posted his second consecutive top-five finish, taking fifth at Talladega. He is tied for third in the points standings, 26 out of first.
"I'm back in the championship hunt," Busch said. "But if I don't have a good finish at Martinsville, I'll likely be done. The last time I was 'officially eliminated,' I was taken off the road by a state trooper in North Carolina."
5. Jeff Gordon — Gordon led 19 laps at Talladega and finished 14th at Talladega, rendering unable to make up ground in the Sprint Cup points standings. He is now fifth in the Sprint Cup points standings, 34 behind Jimmie Johnson.
"Jimmie's got the lead," Gordon said. "Let's see if he can hold it. With Martinsville up next, history says he can. He's won eight races there, rewarded with a grandfather clock for each victory. It's just further proof that the five-time Cup champ's greatness is measure in 'times.'"
6. Kurt Busch — Busch came home 18th at Talladega and is now ninth in the Sprint Cup points standings, 61 out of first.
"We had Wonder Bread on the No. 78 Chevrolet," Busch said. "As if you needed more proof that I'm as white bread as they come."
7. Clint Bowyer — Bowyer finished tenth at Talladega, his first top-10 finish since a tenth at Dover. He is eighth in the points standings, 57 out of first.
"Kudos to 5-Hour Energy for their contribution to NASCAR," Bowyer said. "Like its name states, 5-Hour Energy will stay with you for a while, which is more than I can say about some of Michael Waltrip's other sponsors."
8. Greg Biffle — Biffle finished 11th in the Roush Fenway Racing No. 16 Ford, while teammate Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. took third. Biffle is seventh in the points standings, 53 behind Jimmie Johnson.
"That was a great run by Stenhouse," Biffle said. "He finished 30 places better than his girlfriend Danica Patrick. Contrary to popular belief, Danica is the one who is 'whipped.'"
9. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. — Running second on the final lap, Earnhardt's bid for victory at Talladega ended when the caution flew on the final lap, allowing Jamie McMurray to coast to victory. Earnhardt's second was the best result among Chase drivers, and moved him up to sixth in the points standings.
"I've made second a habit at Talladega," Earnhardt said. "And speaking of 'habits,' I've got as many wins this year as that lady wearing the habit — none."
10. Ryan Newman — Newman started 17th and finished ninth at Talladega, earning his 16th top-10 of the year.
"That was the most incident-free race at Talladega I've ever seen," Newman said. "Take it from me, that race was turned upside down."