Wednesday, October 14, 2015

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 30

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Joey Logano — Logano led 227 of 334 laps and held off Kevin Harvick down the stretch to claim the Bank of America 500. With the win, Logano advanced to the next round of the Chase For the Cup.

"I knew Harvick was creeping up behind me," Logano said. "I knew I had to hit my marks to maintain my cushion. I kind of utilized Harvick's strategy from Dover, because I knew if he got close enough to see my rear end, it would be bad news."

2. Kevin Harvick — Harvick finished second in the Bank of America 500, posting his 12th runner-up finish of the year.

"I 'backed up' my win in Dover with a second," Harvick said.

"I am the defending Sprint Cup champion, but that doesn't mean I'm not extremely motivated to win it again this year. Last year means nothing. In my mind, all evidence of that victory has been destroyed."

3. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin finished fourth at Charlotte, the top finisher among Joe Gibbs racing drivers.

"I dealt with some battery issues," Hamlin said. "As you know, that comes with the positives and the negatives.

"Matt Kenseth has been JGR's best driver all year, but he struggled at Charlotte. And, if you remember, he had his issues last year at CMS. So for Matt, nothing is a cinch at Charlotte, except Brad Keselowski's noggin in a headlock."

4. Carl Edwards — Edwards took sixth at Charlotte, joining Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin, who finished fourth, in the top 10.

"I bumped Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and sent him into the wall," Edwards said. "Now, my status with Earnhardt fans has been upgraded, from 'unlikeable' to 'hated.'"

5. Martin Truex, Jr. — Truex finished third at Charlotte, scoring his eighth top-five result of the year. He is third in the points standings, seven behind Joey Logano.

"NASCAR did a sorry job of cleaning the track of oil and fluid," Truex said. "But let's face it, if anyone's guilty of pulling a slick one, it's not the track at Charlotte, but Kevin Harvick at Dover."

6. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski finished ninth in the Bank of America 500, posting his 20th top-10 of the year.

"There were a lot of cars making contact with the wall," Keselowski said. "The wall played as big a factor in the Charlotte race as it did in the Dover race. For further explanation, see Kevin Harvick."

7. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth started on the pole at Charlotte and struggled thereafter, battling tight-handling conditions and hitting the wall three times, the last of which ended his day. He eventually finished 42nd.

"We thought we had the No. 20 Dollar General car set up perfectly for Saturday's night race," Kenseth said. "Then rain postponed it until Sunday. So, after a tough day on Sunday, we were a day late and a Dollar General short."

8. Jeff Gordon — Gordon finished at Charlotte, and has not finished below 14th in the Chase.

"I may be Hendrick Motorsports' only hope for the title," Gordon said. "What's shocking is that's a long-shot."

9. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. — Earnhardt found trouble early at Charlotte, hitting the wall on lap 70 after making contact with Carl Edwards, then hitting it again after running through a patch of fluid on the track.

"Carl Edwards flat out wrecked me," Earnhardt said. "I promise revenge is coming. It will be swift and just, and will be called 'E-taliation.'"

10. Kyle Busch — Busch finished a disappointing 20th, his day spoiled by an incident with Kyle Larson that damaged his car.

"I damaged the right front of the M&M's No. 18 Toyota after colliding with Kyle Larson entering the pits," Busch said. "You can't blame me for that — I hit the Target."

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