Wednesday, April 15, 2015

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 7

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Kevin Harvick — Harvick finished second at Texas, earning his ninth runner-up finish in his last 10 races. He leads the Sprint Cup points standings by 26 over Joey Logano.

"Jimmie Johnson and I have won four of seven races this season," Harvick said. "Johnson's win at Texas supports the notion that the Sprint Cup championship is a two-man battle, and I 'seconded' that.

"I visited the Masters on Thursday in support of my friend Scott Harvey, who's an amateur. I took my Stewart-Haas Chevy with me. Every time Scott hit a shot, I said '4!'"

2. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson took the lead for good with 14 laps to go, passing Kevin Harvick and Jamie McMurray, to win the Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

"Nothing's more satisfying that putting on a cowboy hat and firing off a few rounds from a six-shooter," Johnson said. "It's a feeling that's hard to describe, unless you're Kurt Busch, who would no doubt say he felt like an 'assassin.' And he knows.

"But I'm not a big fan of 10-gallon hats. I prefer my volume measured in 'Cups,' and seven is the quantity I'm looking for."

3. Joey Logano — Logano led 19 laps and finished fourth in the Duck Commander 500, posting his third top-five result of the season.

"Kurt Busch won his second pole of the season," Logano said. "In Kurt's world, winning the pole again is known as getting 'reinstated' to the first starting spot."

4. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski joined Penske Racing teammate Joey Logano, who finished fourth, in the top five with a fifth in the Duck Commander 500.

"It was a very uneventful race," Keselowski said. "Unlike November's race in Texas, nothing happened. Call it a 'ho humdinger.' Even the boredom was Texas-sized. Had the race last November been called the Duck Commander 500, maybe it would have done me some good. With all the shoves and punches flying at me them, a 'duck' call surely would have helped."

5. Martin Truex, Jr. — Truex finished ninth in the Duck Commander 500, giving him six top-10s in the season's first seven races. He stands third in the points standings, 50 behind Kevin Harvick.

"There's another 'Junior' making news," Truex said. "Apparently, Danica Patrick would say 'yes' if Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. would propose. That puts Ricky in a truly awkward predicament. Now, it seems both Patrick and Stenhouse are in 'no-win' situation."

6. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. — Earnhardt came home third on a strong day for Hendrick Motorsports, which placed four drivers in the top seven. Earnhardt is seventh is the points standings, 93 out of first.

"Rick Hendrick couldn't be happier," Earnhardt said. "Unlike a Richard Childress Racing tire, Rick's ego is fully inflated."

7. Kasey Kahne: Kahne finished eighth in the Duck Commander 500 after starting fourth and leading six laps.

"Did you see Michael Waltrip standing atop Texas Motor Speedway's giant video monitor?" Kahne said. "Michael looked a little wobbly up there, but then again, when has Michael ever been that sure of his 'orientation.'

8. Jeff Gordon — Gordon finished seventh at Texas as all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers finished in the top seven. He

"I really wanted to win in Texas," Gordon said. "That would have been the perfect going away present. As it was, Jimmie Johnson won 'going away.'"

9. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin finished 11th at Texas, one spot behind Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Carl Edwards in 10th. Hamlin is seventh in the points standings.

"This race was called the 'NRA 500' in 2013," Hamlin said. "That was a scary day, especially for the No. 42 Target car.

"Michael Waltrip dropped a taco on my car before the race. It wasn't a big deal to me. It's one thing to have hot sauce on your Toyota; it's another to have hot sauce in your Toyota. Michael did; it was called 'jet fuel.'"

10. Jamie McMurray — McMurray finished sixth in the Duck Commander 500, scoring his third top-10 finish of the year.

"Wow!" McMurray said. "There were stars of the 'Duck Dynasty' show in Victory Lane. I really would have loved to win this race so I could have met the one and only Willie Robertson. That way, the 'McDaddy' could have met the 'Quack Daddy.'"

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