Wednesday, September 9, 2015

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 25

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Kevin Harvick — Harvick led 44 laps and finished fifth in the Bojangles Southern 500 at Darlington, posting his 18th top-five finish of the year.

"It's great to see the Darlington race back on its traditional weekend," Harvick said. "I think fans would agree. Ironically, sitting through a four-hour and 29-minute marathon on Labor Day weekend is truly 'work.'"

2. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski started on the pole at Darlington and led a race-high 196 laps. However, Keselowski was beaten out of the pits on the race's final caution by Carl Edwards. Edwards held on for the win, and Keselowski was left with a disappointing runner-up finish.

"I'm a big fan of the low downforce package we ran at Darlington," Keselowski said. "As I said before, it separates the race car drivers from the pretenders. .902 seconds separates the winner from second place.

"I was sporting the 'Miller High Life' paint scheme at Darlington. They call 'High Life' the 'Champagne of Beers.' The difference between winning and losing is known as 'Champagne or Beers.'"

3. Kyle Busch — Busch finished eighth at Darlington and officially clinched a spot in the Chase.

"It's a great day," Busch said. "Usually, when you hear the word 'official' mentioned along with a Busch brother, something's going on in the NASCAR hauler."

4. Joey Logano — Logano finished fourth at Darlington, as Penske Racing took two of the top 4 spots at "The Track Too Tough to Tame."

"It was 'throwback' weekend at Darlington," Logano said. "With one race left before the Chase, and only three Chase spots up for grabs, Richmond could be 'throw punch' weekend."

5. Carl Edwards — Edwards took the lead late at Darlington, using a quick pit stop to beat Brad Keselowski on the race's final caution. Edwards pulled away to grab his second victory of the season.

"I went in third and came out first," Edwards said, "thanks to my pit crew. I owe this win to them. Believe me, they'll be a part of the victory celebration. Heck, I might even have them DJ the party, because they know how to 'turn tables.'"

6. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth hit the wall on lap 19 and struggled with handling for the duration of the Bojangles Southern 500, finishing 20th.

"It was an otherwise strong day for Joe Gibbs Racing," Kenseth said. "Carl Edwards took the lead in the pits and pulled away for the victory, winning by nearly a second. Carl took off like he was shot out of a cannon. Much like he did with Roush Fenway Racing, Carl left in a hurry."

7. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. — Earnhardt was the top finisher among Hendrick Motorsports cars at Darlington, finishing eighth.

"Right now," Earnhardt said, "HMS cars aren't fast enough to compete for wins. With the Chase For the Cup right around the corner, that's not good. So, much like our current lap speeds, it's a case of 'bad timing.'

"In other news, Danica Patrick has become more famous for her yoga poses than for her racing. Should we call her a 'yoga master' or a 'threat to win a race?' Either way, it's a stretch."

8. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson finished a disappointing 19th at Darlington, and is now winless in his last 12 races.

"You probably heard my crew chief Chad Knaus married a former Miss Sprint Cup," Johnson said. "Hopefully, Chad will have more luck with the 'Lady in White' than I did with the 'Lady in Black.'

"I gave the groom a bottle of 'Burnt Rubber' cologne. Chad wore some during Sunday's race. At a track like Darlington, that's known as 'tire wear.'"

9. Kurt Busch — Busch started second in the Bojangles Southern 500 at Darlington and finished sixth.

"Much like me," Busch said, "Bojangles is famous for its 'chicken.'

"You may have heard that I recently became engaged. I asked Ashley Van Metre and she said 'yes.' Soon, I'll pop the question, and ask her if she's an assassin."

10. Martin Truex, Jr. — Truex finished ninth, and had a late run-in with Kurt Busch, whom Truex sent spinning after contact on lap

"Just as Daytona did, Darlington was offering a flag exchange" Truex said, "in which you could exchange a Confederate flag for an American flag. With race ticket prices skyrocketing and races becoming even less exciting, leave it to NASCAR to offer fan another offer they can refuse.

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