Wednesday, April 9, 2014

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 7

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Jeff Gordon — Gordon took the lead on a late two-tire pit stop, but was unable to hold off Joey Logano, with four tires, down the stretch at Texas. Gordon's runner-up finish, his second of the year, moved him to the top of the points standings.

"I still like our two-tire strategy at that point," Gordon said. "If you put on four Goodyear tires there, the odds of one of them exploding is doubled.

"Texas Motor Speedway has a 12-story high HD video screen. If it displays a picture of Jeremy Mayfield, would that be considered "high" resolution?"

2. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet suffered early damage as debris from Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s wreck damaged the front of his car, including the windshield. Johnson eventually finished is 25th, two laps down, and is now sixth in the points standings.

"Talk about 'dirty' air," Johnson said. "I'm so vanilla, this is the closest anyone's come to getting the dirt on me. Usually, when there's mudslinging, there's a Busch brother involved, often followed by a right hand to the face. But there's a fine line between SOB and SOD."

3. Carl Edwards — Edwards finished 14th in the Duck Commander 500 while Roush Fenway teammate Greg Biffle took sixth. Edwards is now third in the points standings, 12 behind Jeff Gordon.

"The whole Duck Dynasty Robertson clan was at the race," Edwards said. "They've created an empire out of good old-fashioned hard work and homophobia. But my car owner is not a fan. In fact, he's banned all references to the show. Some may consider it an overreaction, but Mr. Roush disagrees. It's a natural reaction after someone says 'Hey Jack!' to you for the millionth time."

4. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth finished third at Texas on a solid day for Joe Gibbs Racing, and Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin came home third and 13th, respectively. Kenseth is now second in the Sprint Cup points standings, four out of first.

"Did I hear correctly?" Kenseth said. "Did a duck give the command to 'Start your engines?' Of course, why should I be surprised? It's the Duck Commander 500; I should expect a 'duck call.'"

5. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski lost a shot to win the Duck Commander 500 when he was nabbed for speeding on pit road during the race's final caution. Instead of his second win of the year, Keselowski went home with a 15th.

"My hood got blown up by a jet dryer," Keselowski said. "That's two races in a row in which my hood wouldn't stay down. If it happens again, I might have to write a book about it, from the perspective of a misplaced hood. The book, which will be endorsed by NASCAR's 'Drive For Diversity' program, will be called 'Tales From the Hood.'"

6. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. — Earnhardt blew a tire after going too low on the apron into the soft, rain-soaked infield at Texas Motor Speedway. The No. 88 smacked the wall and caught on fire before Earnhardt escaped unharmed. He finished 43rd, and tumbled two spots in the Sprint Cup points standings to sixth.

"It was a mistake on my part," Earnhardt said. "I put the nose of the No. 88 car in the grass, and the results were disastrous. That's not always the case with Junior Nation. Ask one of my fans about a 'faceplant' in the infield, and many will tell you it's a good thing.

"There's not a lot of margin for error with the Goodyear tires. Apparently, my tire was punctured by a blade of grass."

7. Joey Logano — Logano charged past Brian Vickers and Jeff Gordon on a green-white-checkered finish to win the Duck Commander 500 at Texas, earning his first win of the year. Logano is now fourth in the points standings, 28 behind Jeff Gordon.

"The 'Bread' is sliced," Logano said, "and Vickers and Gordon were diced. It's an honor to win such a prestigious race. It was an historic win, also. It was the first race in NASCAR history in which the winner's trophy outweighed the winner."

8. Kyle Busch — Busch started 29th and led 10 laps on his way to a third-place finish at Texas. He holds the fourth spot in the Sprint Cup points standings, 28 behind Jeff Gordon.

"Luckily," Busch said, "tire wear was not much of a factor in the Duck Commander 500. Thank heavens for that, because it prevented someone from calling the race the 'Rubber Ducky 500.'"

9. Brian Vickers — Vickers posted his best win of the year with a fourth in the Duck Commander 500.

"Those jet dryers wreaked havoc at Texas Motor Speedway," Edwards said. "It was a welcome relief for NASCAR officials. Finally, something else was responsible for blowing hot air. By the way, do jet dryers run on jet fuel? I bet Michael Waltrip can answer that."

10. Kyle Larson — Larson finished fifth at Texas, the best finish among rookies in the Duck Commander 500. It was his second top-five of the season, placing him two short of Juan Montoya's total from last season in the same No. 42 car.

"I'm NASCAR's only Japanese-American driver," Larson said. "I may be a rookie, but I fear no one or no thing, not even Godzilla, whose image is sure to adorn a car with the release of the new Godzilla movie upcoming. I'm guessing it will be on a Toyota."

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