NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 19
July 16, 2014 by Jeffrey Boswell • Print Story •
Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.
1. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski dominated the Nationwide race on Saturday and duplicated that feat on Sunday, leading 138 of 301 laps to win at New Hampshire.
"Once again," Keselowski said, "it's time for the celebratory champagne. But there's a big difference in breaking out the champagne and breaking open the champagne.
"The No. 2 Penske Ford featured the Redd's Apple Ale paint scheme. So, at least for one race, I bleed 'Redd.'"
2. Jeff Gordon — Gordon led late at New Hampshire but ran out of gas, settling for a 26th. He remains on top of the Sprint Cup points standings with a 12-point lead over Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
"This win really solidified Brad Keselowski's status as a title contender," Gordon said. "Of course, that was also evident at Kentucky a few weeks back, where Brad sliced his hand open before declaring his readiness for the playoffs by saying, 'Let's cut to the Chase.'"
3. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson suffered two flat tires early in the Camping World RV Sales 301, the last of which sent him into the wall, ending his day after just 11 laps. He finished 42nd and is now fifth in the points standings, 72 behind Jeff Gordon.
"Goodyear says we had our tires under-inflated," Johnson said. "I say Goodyear has their egos overinflated.
"Obviously, there were a lot of tire changes in Sunday's race. But nobody needs to 're-tire' more than Morgan Shepherd."
4. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. — Earnhardt placed 10th at New Hampshire in a race dominated by Brad Keselowski. Earnhardt was the only Hendrick Motorsports driver in the top 10, and is now second in the Sprint Cup points standings, 12 behind Jeff Gordon.
"Brad Keselowski was awarded a New England lobster for the win," Earnhardt said. "What has claws, a tail, and horns? Teresa Earnhardt."
5. Carl Edwards — Edwards finished 13th at New Hampshire as Roush Fenway teammate Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. took ninth. Edwards is sixth in the Sprint Cup points standings, 96 out of first.
"You've probably heard about the formation of the Race Team Alliance," Edwards said. "For heaven's sake, don't call it a 'union.' If you dare say 'union' at most NASCAR events, you may find yourself choked by a Confederate flag."
6. Matt Kenseth — Still in search of his first win this season, Kenseth took fourth at New Hampshire, leading 12 laps. He is fourth in the points standings, 49 out of first.
"After Hendrick Motorsports won four straight races," Kenseth said, "Ford has now won the last four. Toyota hasn't won a race since Talladega back in May. I'm not sure what Toyota's are searching more for, speed or answers."
7. Joey Logano — Logano was running second with less than 100 laps to go when 72-year-old Morgan Shepherd made contact with Logan's No. 22 Penske Chevy. Logano finished 40th, 90 laps down, while Shepherd took 39th.
"I don't think Shepherd even knew I was there," Logano said. "Heck, I'm not sure he even knows where he is. That must be why they call him the 'Ageless Wander.'
"Shepherd is old enough to be my grandfather, and dumb enough to be my father."
8. Kyle Busch: Busch started on the pole, setting a Loudon track record of 138.130 miles per hour in Friday's qualifying. He was fast on Sunday as well, finishing second behind Brad Keselowski. Busch is eighth in the points standings, 103 out of first.
"I finished as runner-up to Brad Keselowski twice at New Hampshire," Busch said. "And there's nothing wrong with that. Let me put that into perspective by quoting my brother Kurt when I say, "It's okay to be second-best."
9. Ryan Newman — Newman posted his second top-5 finish of the year with a fifth at New Hampshire. He is seventh in the points standings, 97 behind Jeff Gordon.
"I'm not so sure about the formation of this 'RTA' deal," Newman said. "I'll say the same thing about that as I did to Rusty Wallace when I begrudgingly became his teammate: 'I want no part of this race team alliance.'"
10. Kyle Larson — Larson came home third in the Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire, posting his fourth top-5 result of the year.
"Some say Morgan Shepherd is too old to be racing," Larson said. "I think I'm in agreement. Shepherd may his Sprint Cup debut back in 1970, and although his age has increased, his speed hasn't. So, when Shepherd takes to the track in 2014, it's just like 'old times.'"