Wednesday, April 6, 2016

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 6

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Kyle Busch — Busch led 352 of 500 laps on his way to a commanding win in the STP 500, his first-ever Sprint Cup win at Martinsville.

"Finally," Busch said, "I get the Martinsville grandfather clock. After 21 tries, I can look at this trophy and confidently say, 'It's about time.'

"Leading 352 of 500 laps is just pure dominance. I'm shocked that the car was a good as it was. And my crew chief Dave Rogers was, as well. After the race, he said to me, 'Do you know how fast you were going?'"

2. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson finished ninth in the STP 500, posting his fourth top 10 of the year. He is second in the Sprint Cup points standings, four behind Kevin Harvick.

"I advocate stronger concussion protocols in our sport," Johnson said. "Chad Knaus disagrees. He's against anything that calls for more thorough inspections."

3. Kevin Harvick — Harvick finished 17th at Martinsville, his first result outside the top 10 this season.

"If you would have told me before the race," Harvick said, "that I'd finish one spot behind Danica Patrick, I would have said, "I guess I didn't finish second."

4. Carl Edwards — Edwards took sixth in the STP 500 as Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch won. Edwards is 14th in the Sprint Cup points standings, 14 out of first.

"Congratulations to Kyle," Edwards said. "In his victory burnout, he smoked the tires. And speaking of 'smoking' the tires, NASCAR driver Derek White was arrested by Canadian police in a tobacco smuggling ring. Authorities seized 52, 800 kilograms of tobacco. I guess where tobacco in concerned, the U.S.-Canada border is unfiltered."

5. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski recorded his second top-5 finish of the year with a fifth at Martinsville.

"It was a typical day at Martinsville," Keselowski said. "There was beating and banging, grumbling, and a few caution flags. These are all examples of your stomach warning you after eating a Martinsville hot dog.

6. Kurt Busch — Busch finished 13th at Martinsville as younger brother Kyle won. Busch is seventh in the points standings, 44 out of first.

"I'm proud of Kyle for winning his first Martinsville grandfather clock," Busch said. "As you know, clocks have little hands and big hands, and Brian France earlier made his political endorsement based on that criteria."

7. Joey Logano — Logano started on the pole but went a lap down early at Martinsville, as tire grip issues sent him backwards. However, he recovered to post a solid 11th, and now occupies the fifth spot in the points standings.

"We hit a rough patch to start the race," Logano said, "but we worked things out. That's a testament to the preparation and attention to detail of this team. There's a lot to be said for crossing your T's and dotting your 'squinty and douchey' 'I's.'

8. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin crashed early and finished a disappointing 39th in the STP 500 at Martinsville.

"The wreck was the result of a wheel hop," Hamlin said. "Frankly, I'm embarrassed that it happened. I'm also angry. You could say I'm 'hopping mad.' Ironically, if you've ever seen me play basketball, you know I've never been accused of having 'mad hops.'"

9. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. — After falling a lap down early at Martinsville, Earnhardt battled his way back to score a respectable 14th-place finish. He is ninth in the points standings, 48 out of first.

"As you probably heard," Earnhardt said, "I decided to donate my brain to concussion research. My dad made a lot of enemies on the track, so you can add 'science' to the list of entities that wanted an Earnhardt's head on a platter."

10. Austin Dillon — Dillon posted his second top-five finish of the year with a fourth at Martinsville. He is seventh in the Sprint Cup points standings, 44 out of first.

"Joey Logano finished 11th," Dillon said, "and Matt Kenseth finished 15th. So, much like the last race here, there were four drivers 'separating' the two."

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