Wednesday, November 12, 2014

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 35

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Kevin Harvick — Harvick led 264 of 312 laps at Phoenix and won the Quicken Loans Race For Heroes 500, qualifying for the Chase finale at Homestead.

"Just call me 'Mr. Unexcitement,'" Harvick said, "because I took all the drama out of Sunday's race."

2. Joey Logano — Logano came home sixth at Phoenix and easily clinched one of the four spots for the Chase For the Cup final at Homestead.

"Sadly," Logano said, "Brad Keselowski won't be joining me as eligible. Luckily, he only got 'knocked out' for having too few points."

3. Jeff Gordon — Gordon finished second at Phoenix, but missed making the Chase final four by a single point. Gordon was edged out by Ryan Newman, who finished 11th.

"One second I was in," Gordon said, "then, in the blink of an eye, I was out. I'm devastated. I'd like to quote Kurt Busch and say 'I need a hug.'"

4. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin started on the pole and finished fifth to secure his eligibility in the season's final race at Homestead.

"Interestingly enough," Hamlin said, "Sunday's race at Homestead is called the Ford EcoBoost 400. Maybe the fuel will be clean, but I've got a feeling 'things' could get dirty."

5. Ryan Newman — Newman bullied his way past Kyle Larson to finish 11th and edge Jeff Gordon for the fourth and final Chase spot heading to Homestead.

"Sure," Newman said, "I may have been a little aggressive racing the No. 42. But I'm racing for a championship, Kyle's not. Let's face it, no one's gonna miss a 'Target.'"

6. Carl Edwards: Edwards finished 15th in the Quicken Loan Race For Heroes 500.

"I needed a win to make it to Homestead," Edwards said. "Obviously, I didn't get it. In fact, it wasn't even 'close,' which is also the kind of relationship I'm expecting with my new teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing next year."

7. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth took third at Phoenix and finished seventh in the points standings, missing the Chase finale.

"Third place was a good finish," Kenseth said, "but it wasn't good enough. It's bittersweet, much like attacking Brad Keselowski and not drawing blood."

8. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski finished fourth at Phoenix, but it was not enough to punch his ticket to the championship at Homestead.

"There was still some fight left in me," Keselowski said. "This time, I was the one that beat it out of me."

9. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. — Earnhardt finished eighth at Phoenix, joining Hendrick teammate Jeff Gordon in the top 10. Gordon failed to qualify for the final at Homestead, meaning no Hendrick driver is eligible to win the Cup.

"What do myself, Jimmie Johnson, and Ryan Newman have in common?" Earnhardt said. "We all helped keep Jeff Gordon from making the Chase final. As it our, our 'team orders' are to go out and win the race."

10. Kyle Larson — Larson finished 13th at Phoenix, and unknowingly had an impact on the Chase. Ryan Newman powered by Larson on the final lap, a move which put Newman in the final and left Jeff Gordon out.

"I don't fault Newman for racing me like he did," Larson said. "He was on a mission. That rendered Gordon on an 'omission.'"

Contents copyright © Sports Central 1998-2017