NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 10
May 7, 2014 by Jeffrey Boswell • Print Story •
Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.
1. Jeff Gordon — Gordon ran up front much of the day at Talladega before he was collected in the "Big One" on lap 137. He finished 39th, his worst finish of the year, 32 laps down, but held on to the lead in the Sprint Cup points standings.
"Brad Keselowski really made a mess," Gordon said. "Sure, it was the 'Big One,' but a lot of drivers think Brad is the 'Biggest One.'
"Hey, the new season of '24' starts soon. I haven't won a Sprint Cup title since 2001, so I'm longing for the old season of '24.'"
2. Joey Logano — Logano was collected in a lap 175 wreck when Jimmie Johnson got loose and triggered a pileup that knocked Logano from the race. Logano finished 32nd, and is now sixth in the points standings.
"Johnson and Brad Keselowski wiped out half the field, it seemed," Logano said. "Their reputations may precede them, but accidents seem to follow them.
"Sure, NASCAR fined Marcos and Ambrose for fighting. But I think NASCAR wants this type of conflict. The 'Boys have at it' has become the 'Fine and Dandy' mentality."
3. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth finished a disappointing 37th after sustaining damage in a lap 137 crash triggered when Brad Keselowski spun, affecting 14 cars. Kenseth is second in the points standings, three behind Jeff Gordon.
"That was a mind-boggling move by Keselowski," Kenseth said. "That's said with just a hint of sarcasm. And, as we all know, 'mind-boggling' leads to 'head-shaking,' which, in turn, can lead to 'neck-throttling.' Brad's taken knockout qualifying one step further to knockout racing."
4. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. — Earnhardt hung back in an effort to avoid the inevitable late carnage at Talladega. He succeeded, but in doing so was too far back to make a run to the front. He finished 26th, and is now fourth in the points standings, 19 behind Jeff Gordon.
"I played it safe," Earnhardt said. "Sure, maybe I wasn't giving my all to win, which is a violation of NASCAR's '100 percent' rule. But I was following the '80 percent' rule. '100 percent' minus '80 percent' equals '20 percent,' also known as '40 proof' to the fans of Junior Nation."
5. Kyle Busch — Busch finished 12th at Talladega as Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin scored the victory. Busch is now third in the points standings, four behind Jeff Gordon.
"That was a great run by Denny," Busch said. "He really made a statement today, and you can see it in his attitude. Now, that sparkle in his eye isn't a piece of metal."
6. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski ran into trouble on lap 14 when he made contact with Danica Patrick, which sent the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford sliding down the track and into the infield grass. Later, on lap 137, he lost control and caused the 'Big One,' collecting 14 cars. Keselowski eventually finished 38th, 28 laps down.
"It was a tough day for the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford," Keselowski said. "I can't get out of here fast enough. I packed everything. I'm even taking blame and responsibility.
"But I plan to bounce back at Kansas. Hopefully, that 'bounce' won't be off several cars, as was the case at Talladega."
7. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson struggled in the Aaron's 499, finishing 23rd after a lap 175 spin that knocked out Joey Logano, among others. Still winless on the year, Johnson is seventh in the points standings, 43 out of first.
"I just lost it," Johnson said. "I can't apologize enough to those affected. But how many apologies are enough? Most say six is more than enough. Not me. I'm aiming for a legendary number of apologies."
8. Carl Edwards — Edwards had a strong run in the Aaron's 499 cut short when he cut a tire with six laps to go and started a wreck that took out several cars. Edwards eventually finished 30th, six laps down.
"You may have seen me warn the cars behind that I had a flat," Edwards said. "I did that by waving my hand out of my window. I'm surprised anyone understood, because that's four more fingers than most drivers are used to seeing out of the window of a NASCAR driver."
9. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin out-dueled Kevin Harvick on a restart with two laps to go to take his first win of the season, the crash-filled Aaron's 499 at Talladega.
"Joey Logano notwithstanding," Hamlin said, "I can honestly say I was happy to see 'yellow' coming at me."
10. Kevin Harvick — Harvick led with two laps to go at Talladega, but was passed by Denny Hamlin. With no draft help, Harvick faded to seventh, his fourth top-10 result of the year.
"I couldn't get a push from anyone," Harvick said. "Certainly not from Casey Mears. After what went down in Richmond, he's afraid to 'push' anyone."