Wednesday, July 1, 2015

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 16

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson finished sixth at Sonoma, passed by eventual winner Kyle Busch with six laps remaining. Johnson is fourth in the Sprint Cup points standings, 70 out of first.

"Maybe we should have pitted during that final caution," Johnson said. "But we had a strategy and we wanted to stick to it. I'm not one to question any decision Chad Knaus makes. If he says 'Jump,' usually I say 'How high?' Chad then says, '1/32 of an inch beyond NASCAR specifications.'

"Busch was driving like a man possessed. He really took this Sonoma 'making wine from grapes' thing to heart and 'stepped on it.'"

2. Kevin Harvick — Harvick finished fourth at Sonoma, posting his eleventh top-5 result of the year. He's on top of the points standings with a 53-point lead on Martin Truex, Jr.

"Congratulations to Kyle Busch on his win," Harvick said. "He's one step closer to making the Chase. That means that Kyle, along with his brother Kurt, will both likely make the Chase. And just when I thought I was done with the 'terrible two's.'"

3. Martin Truex, Jr. — Truex's day at Sonoma ended early when he was wrecked by David Ragan on lap 31. Truex finished 42nd, his worst finish of the year.

"Ragan just plain ran me off the road," Truex said. "He was driving that Michael Waltrip Racing No. 55 sponsored by Aaron Rents. I promise there will be revenge. Much like a sucker who rents furniture at outrageous interest rates from a place like that, there will be 'hell to pay.'"

4. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. — Earnhardt finished seventh in the Save Mart 350 as Hendrick Motorsports driver took positions 6,7, and 8. Jimmie Johnson finished sixth, Kasey Kahne took eight, and Jeff Gordon came home 16th.

"We've got Microsoft 10 sponsorship on the No. 88 car," Earnhardt said. "That just shows you how times have changed in NASCAR. My father used to call some of his rivals tiny and weak, or 'Microsoft.'

"As you know, I became engaged a couple of weeks ago. I'm sure I disappointed a lot of female Junior Nation members. But let's face it, I'm just a bit out of their league. I wouldn't touch them with a 10-Foot Coors Light Pole,' much less ask them to marry me."

5. Joey Logano — Logano finished fifth at Sonoma, posting his eight top-five result of the year.

"What a run by Kyle Busch," Logano said. "With Sonoma being wine country, and me being 'Sliced Bread,' I'd like to propose a 'toast.'"

6. Kurt Busch — Busch started second on the grid at Sonoma and finished second to younger brother Kyle Busch in the Toyota Save Mart 350.

"Kyle celebrated with a glass of wine in Victory Circle," Busch said. "And I'm so happy for him. People like it better when the Busch brothers are happy. When we're not, it's a case of fortified 'whine.'"

7. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski struggled to a 19th-place finish in the Toyota Save Mart 350.

"Brian France wants to remove the Confederate flag from NASCAR," Keselowski said. "And he's not just whistling Dixie. But let's be real. The one flag NASCAR needs to get rid of most is the yellow."

8. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth started third at Sonoma and finished 21st as Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch charged to the win.

"Now all four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers have a win this season," Kenseth said. "This time, Kyle Busch drove his tail off, as opposed to his leg. Then he did donuts in Victory Lane, and donuts are the closest he wants to get to the police these days."

9. Kasey Kahne — Kahne finished eighth in the Toyota Save Mart 350 at Sonoma, recording his sixth top-10 of the year.

"Now that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is engaged," Kahne said, "I'm now NASCAR's most eligible bachelor. But I'm in no hurry to get hitched. Let's just say I like to play the field, which means I'm currently involved with 43 women."

10. Kyle Busch — Busch won for the first time this year, and a mere five weeks after returning from a broken leg suffered at Daytona in February, taking the Toyota Save Mart 350.

"For those who doubted my ability after such an injury," Busch said, "this win in Northern California wine country should put a cork in it.

"The road course at Sonoma has more twists and turns than the Kurt Busch-Patricia Driscoll saga. I think Kurt now knows better than to get involved with an assassin. We'll see whether women will know better than to get involved with an ass."

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