NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 22
August 13, 2014 by Jeffrey Boswell • Print Story •
Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.
1. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. — Earnhardt finished 11th at Watkins Glen after an untimely late caution cost him any chance of winning. He passed Jeff Gordon to take over the lead in the Sprint Cup points standings, and now leads Gordon by 4.
"Let me point out," Earnhardt said, "that at this point, points don't mean much. Have I made my point?
"It was a crazy day at Watkins Glen. A.J. Allmendinger proved that a one-car team can compete with the multi-car teams. Chances are that the 'Dinger' will be with a big-time team in the future. Instead of losing a ride, he'll be pimping one."
2. Jeff Gordon — Gordon won the pole at Watkins Glen but faltered late after electrical issues sabotaged his chances. He eventually finished 34th and now trails Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by 4 in the Sprint Cup points standings.
"There's only one word to describe how you feel sitting in a car suffering from electrical issues," Gordon said. "Powerless.
"The weekend started on a high note. I won the pole on my son Leo's birthday, and he couldn't be happier. And can you blame him? What other adolescent has a Coors Lite Pole Award in his bedroom? Besides Kurt Busch?"
3. Brad Keselowski — A promising start at Watkins Glen soured for Keselowski after brake issues relegated him to a 23rd-place finish, five laps down.
"I'd rather have trouble stopping," Keselowski said, "than trouble 'going,' which is a problem 72-year-old Morgan Shepherd deals with on a daily basis. At least that's what Joey Logano tells me."
4. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson had a solid finish in sight before a spin on a lap 80 restart sent him hurtling back in the field. He finished a disappointing 28th.
"Sunday's race was stopped twice so repairs could be made after accidents," Johnson said. "Chad Knaus radioed me during the delays and asked, 'How's the track look?' I replied, 'It's fixed.' And I fully expect that statement to be taken out of context."
5. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth finished ninth in the Cheez-It 355 at the Glen and remains winless on the year. He is third in the points standings, 70 behind Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
"Unless I can find a win in the next four races," Kenseth said, "I'll be starting at the bottom when the Chase For The Cup starts. Where my wins total is concerned, 'V' is for 'void.'
6. Joey Logano — Logano finished sixth at Watkins Glen, recording his 12th top 10 of the year.
"Allmendinger ran a heck of a race," Logano said. "I guess the competition was a lot like drug problems — he put it behind him."
7. Carl Edwards — Edwards finished fifth at Watkins Glen, posting his fifth top-five result of the year. He is sixth in the points standings, 115 out of first.
"I had a good view of the A.J. Allmendinger/Marcos Ambrose battle," Edwards said. "Allmendinger obviously knew the track well. He's certainly done his homework. There's probably only one circuit he knows better than Watkins Glen, and that's the road to recovery.
"It was a great day for the Cheez-It brand. They sponsored the race, as well as my No. 99 car. If the race in Sonoma is attended by the 'wine and cheese' crowd, then fans at the Glen should be called the 'wino and Cheez-It' crowd."
8. Ryan Newman — Newman crashed heavily with 34 laps to go at Watkins Glen, smashing a fence and causing the race to be stopped for over an hour while repairs were made. Newman finished 41st, 35 laps off the pace.
"Race officials raised more red flags than the Mayfield family," Newman said. "And I'm not happy with safety at the Watkins Glen track. It seems track official need a crash course in safety."
"My former teammate Rusty Wallace was recently inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame. I don't know who told Rusty to 'go to Hall,' but it sure as hell wasn't me."
9. Kevin Harvick — Harvick finished seventh at Watkins Glen, posting his 11th top-10 result of the year.
"Was God on A.J. Allmendinger's side at Watkins Glen?" Harvick said. "It certainly looked that way. If He was, A.J. should change his name to 'Amendinger.'"
10. A.J. Allmendinger — Allmendinger repelled the challenges of Marcos Ambrose on two late restarts to win the Cheez-It 355 at the Glen. The win guaranteed Allmendinger a spot in the Chase For the Cup.
"Kimberly-Clarke Corporation renewed their sponsorship of my car," Allmendinger said, "making the weekend even more satisfying for car owner Brad Daugherty and myself.. Kimberly-Clarke produces the Kleenex, Scott, Viva, and Cottonelle brands, and that means Sunday was a great day for white paper and black hillbillies.
"Of course, this doesn't mean I'm a 'paper' champion. It does mean I'm well equipped to wipe up the competition."