Wednesday, March 18, 2015

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 4

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Kevin Harvick — Harvick started on the pole at Phoenix and won as expected, rolling to his fourth consecutive win at Phoenix International Raceway. He sits high atop the Sprint Cup points standings, 22 ahead of Joey Logano.

"You can call me 'Happy,'" Harvick said, "but you might as well call me 'Tarp,' because I had the field covered.

"I've got four top-two finishes to start the season. No one has done that since Richard Petty in 1974. And speaking of 'Kings,' I rule."

2. Joey Logano — Logano finished eighth at Phoenix after starting second on the grid and leading 35 laps. He is second in the points standings, 22 behind Kevin Harvick.

"No one can catch Harvick," Logano said. "As such, it looks like the Chase has started early this year.

"I won the Xfinity Series race on Saturday. That race was called the 'Xalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200.' It wasn't much of a race, but it did have something that no other race in NASCAR history had, and that's punctuation."

3. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson finished 11th at Phoenix as Kevin Harvick dominated, leading 224 of 312 laps. Johnson is seventh in the points standings, 58 behind Harvick.

"Harvick has been on a tear," Johnson said. "They say this level of dominance hasn't been seen since Richard Petty in 1974. I say it goes back further than that, to a time in racing when dirt tracks were the norm, because everyone is eating dust."

4. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. — Earnhardt blew a right rear tire on lap 180 at Phoenix and slammed the wall, ending his day with a last place finish.

"The No. 88 Hendrick Chevrolet was fast," Earnhardt said, "but the surface at Phoenix is really tough on rubber. So, there's a fine line separating 'Hell on Wheels' from 'Hell on Tires.'"

5. Martin Truex, Jr. — Truex continued his solid start to the season with a seventh at Phoenix, giving him four top-10s in four races this year. He is fourth in the points standings, 27 behind Kevin Harvick.

"We've been consistent," Truex said, "but we won't be satisfied until we win. Some say that we can't. On that note, Furniture Row offers upholstery in several patterns, but none in 'checkers.'"

6. Kasey Kahne — Kahne took fourth in the Campingworld.Com 500 on Sunday, posting his first top-five result of the year. He sits fourth in the points standings, 50 behind Kevin Harvick.

"I finished just ahead of Kurt Busch," Kahne said. "Kurt was all over me, and, depending on who you ask, there may have been contact.

"Is it right that no domestic abuse charges were filed against Kurt? Who am I to say? I can say this: I don't mind racing against the 'Outlaw,' but I surely wouldn't want him as an inlaw."

7. A.J. Allmendinger — Allmendinger placed 17th at Phoenix and is now sixth in the Sprint Cup points standings, 55 out of first.

"We didn't get the finish we wanted," Allmendinger said, "but I still had a great time. Grammy-nominated band Tonic played a pre-race concert, and boy, did that really get my blood pumping. Talk about a 'band stimulant.'"

8. Jeff Gordon — Gordon finished ninth at Phoenix as Hendrick Motorsports cars took three of the top 11 spots.

"I'm on a quest for my fifth championship," Gordon said. "Kevin Harvick appears well on his way to his second. Just a few words of advice for Kevin: before you can be 'three-time' or 'four-time,' you have to be 'two-timed.' And I have, on and off the track."

9. Ryan Newman — Newman finished third in the Campingworld.Com 500, recording his second straight third-place finish.

"Kevin Harvick was unstoppable," Newnam said. "There was a time in my career when I wished I could be just like Harvick and join Richard Childress Racing. Now, I want to be even more like Harvick and leave RCR, because that's when the wins and championships happen."

10. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski finished sixth in the Campingworld.Com 500 in Phoenix, joining Penske Racing teammate Joey Logano, who finished eighth, in the top 10.

"After a slow start to the season," Keselowski said, "we're back on track. I've got three top-10 finishes in a row after finishing 41st at Daytona. But to keep up with Kevin Harvick, we're really gonna have to 'push.'

"My crew chief Paul Wolfe was placed on probation for an entire season. NASCAR should try putting the whole sport on probation, just to make sure it's being 'watched.'"

Contents copyright © Sports Central 1998-2017