Wednesday, May 14, 2014

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 11

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Jeff Gordon — Gordon took the lead with eight laps to go and held off the hard-changing Kevin Harvick to take the checkered flag at Kansas. It was Gordon's first win this season and third career win at Kansas Speedway.

"My pit crew really came through with a great stop," Gordon said. "In this sport, it's all about the 'seconds.' Just ask Mark Martin.

"Winning a race is a weight off my shoulders. Now, I've got to take that wait off my shoulders, because it's been 13 years since my last Cup title."

2. Joey Logano — Logano took third in the 5-Hour Energy 400, posting his sixth top 5 of the year. He is sixth in the points standings, 48 behind Jeff Gordon.

"The lights went out on the backstretch during the race," Logano said. "I guess NASCAR's "Drive For Diversity" program is working, because it just got darker."

3. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth finished 10th at Kansas, the best finish among Toyota drivers. Kenseth is second in the Sprint Cup points standings, 15 behind Jeff Gordon.

"I didn't see the light," Kenseth said. "And, I also didn't see the 'Lite.' That's because Brad Keselowski was driving the No. 2 car with the Würth paint scheme. If you'll notice, in the word 'Würth,' the are two dots over the 'u.' On a related note, I'd like to give Keselowski two dots in his 'i.'"

4. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. — Earnhardt posted his sixth top-five finish with a fifth at Kansas as Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon took the win. Earnhardt is fourth in the points standings, 26 out of first.

"Another problem with the lights for NASCAR," Earnhardt said. "I guess this gives new meaning to the term 'night racing.' But let's not be too alarmed. There are hundreds of blackouts in every NASCAR race, most in the infield, and nearly all involving fans of Junior Nation."

5. Carl Edwards — Edwards led six laps and finished sixth in the 5-Hour Energy 500 at Kansas. He moved up one spot to fifth in the points standings, and trails Jeff Gordon by 27.

"After the lights went out," Edwards said, "NASCAR officials asked the drivers if they could see well enough to continue. You could say, for once, that NASCAR started on the 'poll.'"

6. Kyle Busch — Busch finished a disappointing 15th at Kansas, as Matt Kenseth was the top Joe Gibbs Racing finisher, in 10th. Busch is still third in the points standings, 21 out of first.

"Despite driving the No. 18 Snickers car," Busch said, "I'm not satisfied."

7. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson led 24 laps at Kansas, but was no match for the faster cars of Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick. He faded to ninth at the finish, and remains winless on the season.

"I heard Danica Patrick got a big thrill passing me," Johnson said. "Give her a pat on the back. Usually, when Danica passes a Sprint Cup champion, the only thing back is her lap."

8. Kevin Harvick — Harvick led a race-high 119 laps, but was beaten out of the pits on the final caution by Jeff Gordon. Harvick couldn't catch Gordon down the stretch and settled for second.

"We just didn't get it done on the pit stop," Harvick said. "It's one thing to get caught speeding on pit lane; it's another to get caught 'sleeping.'"

9. Ryan Newman — Newman finished 11th in the 5-Hour Energy 400 at Kansas, just missing out on his fourth top-10 result of the year. He is, however, in the top 10 in the points, in eighth, 62 behind Jeff Gordon.

"Clint Bowyer's mother gave the command to start the engines," Newman said. "She really gave it a nice personal touch. You could say she put her own 'spin' on it."

10. Greg Biffle — Biffle finished 16th at Kansas in the No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Toyota. He is ninth in the Sprint Cup points standings, 66 out of first.

"It was an eventful race," Biffle said. "Between the threat of storms, cars on fire, and malfunctioning lights, NASCAR is probably saying 'Glad we're not in Kansas anymore."

Contents copyright © Sports Central 1998-2017