Wednesday, July 20, 2016

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 19

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski finished 15th at New Hampshire, as handling issues derailed his chances for a third consecutive win.

"The No. 2 Miller Lite car wasn't at its best," Keselowski said. "That's opposed to the previous two weeks, when it was Lite years ahead of the field."

2. Kevin Harvick — Harvick finished fourth in the New Hampshire 301 as Matt Kenseth won. Harvick leads the Sprint Cup points standings with a 14-point cushion over Brad Keselowski.

"We had one of the fastest cars," Harvick said, "but we blew it during pit stops. Unfortunately, that's become too often an occurrence. It seems like every time I make a pit stop, it's a drive-through penalty. But I don't want to name names, mostly because I don't even know any of their names.

"As far as speed goes, the No. 4 Jimmy Johns car is 'freaky fast.' As far as speed in the pits goes, the No. 4 Jimmy Johns pit crew is 'freaky last.'"

3. Kurt Busch — Busch finished 22nd at New Hampshire, with a likely top-10 run soured by late contact that resulted in a rear tire rub.

"It's never a good thing when you radio your crew chief to say you've got tire rub," Busch said. "That's a story no one likes to tell. If I had to make it in book form, it would bbbe a work of friction.'"

4. Carl Edwards — Edwards finished 20th after an accident with Ryan Newman caused a spin and cost Edwards hard-earned track position.

"Congratulations to Matt Kenseth," Edwards said. "I think he'll enjoy that giant lobster given to the winner. They certainly have one thing in common--they'll both soon be in hot water."

5. Joey Logano — Logano finished third at New Hampshire, posting his eighth top 5 of the season. He is fifth in the points standings, 65 out of first.

"Matt Kenseth ran the perfect race," Logano said. "I think everyone would give him two thumbs up, except for NASCAR inspectors."

6. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth took the lead with 29 laps to go and maintained it through three subsequent restarts to win the New Hampshire 301, his second win of the year.

"Unfortunately," Kenseth said, "my car failed a post-race laser inspection. On the flip side, 39 other cars passed the post-race loser inspection.

"But I'm not worried about failing inspection. When all is said and done, I'll still have the win. So everything will be 'fine.'"

7. Martin Truex, Jr. — Truex suffered a broken shifter midway through the race on Sunday and finished 16th, and is now seventh in the points standings, 96 out of first.

"My shifter handle fell off," Truex said, "and the car got stuck in fourth gear. And then I had to make an unscheduled pit stop, which pretty much ruined my chances of winning. Broken shifters suck. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong. So, if you think my shift don't stink, you are incorrect."

8. Kyle Busch — Busch finished eighth in the New Hampshire 301, recording his 12th top-10 result of the year. He is sixth in the points standings, 80 out of first.

"Joe Gibbs racing drivers have won eight races this season," Busch said, "and passed post-race inspections in all but one of those instances. That's the definition of success, not failure. I'm not sure what part of Matt Kenseth's car failed inspection, but it was detected via the use of a laser. I think lasers are great for NASCAR. That's just one more thing, in addition to fans, that can get 'lit' at a NASCAR race."

9. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson finished 12th at New Hampshire, the top finisher among Hendrick Motorsports cars.

"Dale Earnhardt, Jr. missed the race due to concussion-like symptoms," Johnson said. "So Sunday was a day of mourning for the people of Junior Nation. Of course, Junior fans needed some clarification on exactly what a 'day of mourning' is. To most of them, 'day of mourning' describes' a restaurant that serves all-day breakfast."

10. Tony Stewart — Stewart chased Matt Kenseth to the finish at New Hampshire and score the runner-up finish, his second consecutive top five.

"There was no catching Kenseth," Stewart said. "He drove a near flawless race. I say 'nearly' flawless because there's one thing he could have done to make it a totally flawless race, and that's wreck Joey Logano."

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