Wednesday, June 11, 2014

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 14

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Jimmie Johnson — In search of his third straight win, Johnson finished sixth at Pocono despite an accident on pit road with Marcos Ambrose that left the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet with right-side damage. Johnson now sits fourth in the points standings, 23 behind Jeff Gordon.

"We failed at pulling off the 'triple,'" Johnson said, "as did a certain horse. For this native of El Cajon, 'California Chrome' is what I call my trophy room. I'm a six-time Sprint Cup champion, so, in a sense, I've got two 'triple crowns.' That's what is known as the 'Jimmie Hat.'"

2. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. — Earnhardt passed Brad Keselowski with five laps to go and won the Pocono 400. It was Earnhardt's second win this season and first at Pocono's 2.5 mile tri-oval. He is now third in the points standings, 22 behind Jeff Gordon.

"What was that on Keselowski's grill?" Earnhardt said. "I'll tell you. The same thing that's littering the infield of any NASCAR track — white trash.

"Now that's a tough fate to befall a former Sprint Cup title winner. I guess that's what you call a 'paper' champion."

3. Jeff Gordon — Gordon finished eighth at Pocono and regained the Sprint Cup points lead as Matt Kenseth struggled to a 25th-place result. Gordon now leads Kenseth by 16 points.

"That's three straight wins for Hendrick Motorsports," Gordon said, "and five total on the season. Some say Rick Hendrick's deep pockets are the reason we're so dominant. There may be some truth to that. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won because of a white piece of paper. But in most cases, a Hendrick win can be attributed to paper that is green.'"

4. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski led with five laps to go at Pocono, but lost the lead to Dale Earnhardt as Keselowski tried to clear a piece of debris from his grill. It was Keselowski's second runner-up finish in a row, and left him fifth in the points standings, 50 out of first.

"Done in by a piece of paper that surrounds a hot dog," Keselowski said. "In the business, that's called getting 'Vanilla Iced,' because we got served by a 'white wrapper.'

"I was trying to use Danica Patrick as a pick. Just call me 'GoDaddy.com,' because I was trying to exploit her."

5. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth finished a disappointing 25th in the Pocono 400 and remained winless on the year. He dropped out of the top spot in the points standings and is now in second, 16 behind Jeff Gordon.

"Pocono is just not one of my favorite tracks," Kenseth said. "This 'square' doesn't like triangles, and has a hard time finding 'circles,' namely 'Victory.'"

6. Joey Logano — Logano suffered his worst finish of the year, a 40th at Pocono, the result of engine failure with 10 laps to go.

"A hot dog wrapper? A grill?" Logano said. "Sounded like a perfect occasion for some Miller Lite. But it was not to be.

"I'll say it again. NASCAR is safer than the NFL. Why, you ask? Because men of color are just trying to break barriers, not other players."

7. Carl Edwards — Edwards was collected in a late crash initiated when Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch made contact. Edward's day was done on lap 143, and he finished 41st. He is seventh in the points standings, 57 out of first.

"Greg Biffle is set to sign an extension with Roush Fenway," Edwards said. "Biffle's never won a championship in his long tenure here. So, it's no surprise he's not 'going places.'

"Of course, my future here is a lot like a good back flip — up in the air. And speaking of 'hang time,' I don't have any, because none of my teammates want to 'hang' with me.

8. Kevin Harvick — Harvick finished 14th at Pocono, as Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won, joining Harvick, Joey Logano, and Jimmie Johnson in the two-win club.

"I can certainly empathize with Brad Keselowski," Harvick said. "I too know what a worthless white piece of paper is. In my case, it was several — when I ripped up my Richard Childress Racing contract."

9. Kyle Busch — Busch came home 12th at Pocono, posting a solid finish despite making contact with Kasey Kahne on lap 142 and losing considerable track position. Busch is sixth in the Sprint Cup points standings, 55 out of first.

"Tough break there for Brad Keselowski," Busch said. "If you've got trash all up in your grill, try some dental floss."

10. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin started on the pole at Pocono and brought home a fourth-place finish, leading the Joe Gibbs Racing charge. He is eighth in the Sprint Cup points standings, 78 out of first.

"Is Carl Edwards headed to Joe Gibbs Racing?" Hamlin said. "On the surface, it seems 'Cousin Carl' would be a great addition to the team. But, let's face it, I'm not the only with who feels no amount of 'kinship' with Edwards."

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