Wednesday, June 29, 2016

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 16

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Kevin Harvick — Harvick started 25th and finished sixth at Sonoma as Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Tony Stewart grabbed the win.

"Tony is a legend in the garage," Harvick said, "as well as the kitchen. I'm proud to say I work for Tony. In other words, I'm on his payroll. And that 'roll' is just one of many belonging to Tony.

"How about that fight after the Camping World Truck series race on Saturday? It was a lot like a fight involving Sprint Cup drivers, just with punches."

2. Kurt Busch — Busch finished 10th in the Toyota/Save Mart 350, posting his series-best 13th top-10 of the year. He is second in the Sprint Cup points standings, 30 behind Kevin Harvick.

"You probably see saw a lot of people run over to Tony's car in Victory Lane," Busch said. "That wasn't to congratulate him; it just takes that many people to pull Tony out of his car."

3. Carl Edwards — Edwards started on the pole in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 and finished fourth as Joe Gibbs Racing placed three drivers in the top 10.

"There was an all-out brawl after Saturday night's Camping World Truck Series race," Edwards said. "John Wes Townley and Spencer Gallagher wrestled and slugged it out after crashing. I think it's great for the sport. To those drivers, I say 'Keep on Truckin'!'"

4. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski finished 15th at Sonoma and is now fourth in the points standings, 56 out of first.

"Cheers to Tony Stewart," Keselowski said. "What a great win for him. He's a legend in this sport. In fact, you could say Tony puts the 'ass' in 'ambassador.'

"As you probably heard, Jeff Gordon and I sat down to talk about our recent disagreement. I guess we came to some sort of agreement. Don't get me wrong, I'm still going to speak my mind. As everyone knows, I'm just as mouthy as I am 'gummy.'"

5. Kyle Busch — Busch joined Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards in the top 10 with a seventh-place finish in the Toyota/Save Mart 350.

"I hit a jack rabbit during Friday's practice," Busch said. "That was the worst case of wheel hop I've ever seen. Luckily, the collision didn't cause much damage, at least to my car. Sure, the handling was off a little, but just by a 'hare.'"

6. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson finished 13th at Sonoma as 45-year-old Tony Stewart took the win, his first since 2013.

"I think everybody is happy that Tony won," Johnson said. "Ironically, the only way that everybody can be happy is if Tony wins, because Tony's never happy otherwise."

7. Joey Logano — Logano finished third at Sonoma, posting his fifth top-five result of the year. He is fifth in the points standings, 71 out of first.

"I had a great view of the Tony Stewart-Denny Hamlin battle for the win," Logano said. "I think everyone was pulling for Tony to win, especially Hamlin.

"But Tony's win is great for NASCAR. The fans loved it. If there's one thing Tony does well, it's fill the stands. If there's one thing Tony does better, it's fill a seat."

8. Chase Elliott — Elliott struggled in his first Sprint Cup race at Sonoma, finishing 21st.

"Jeff Gordon says he's interested in joining 'Live' with Kelly Ripa," Elliott said. "I think it's a great idea. If he gets the job, I think his first order of business should be doing a sit-down interview with Brad Keselowski. Jeff probably has other ideas; specifically, a 'sit-down, shut-up' interview with Keselowski.

9. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin finished second at Sonoma after battling former teammate Tony Stewart down the stretch. It was Hamlin's fifth top-five finish of the year.

"There are those that say I 'let' Tony win," Hamlin said. "That my mistake in the final corner was intentional. People ask me, 'Did you do that on purpose?' The only thing I can say to that is, 'For Christ's sake, don't ask Tony that question!'"

10. Tony Stewart — Stewart passed Denny Hamlin on the final corner, just seconds after Hamlin passed him, to win the Toyota/Save Mart 350.

"I snapped an 84-race winless drought," Stewart said. "That a long time to go without a win. It's the same feeling I get when I step on my bathroom scale, because the 'weight' is over."

Contents copyright © Sports Central 1998-2017