NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 31

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson finished fourth at Kansas, posting his eighth top-five of the year. Johnson leads the Sprint Cup points standings and has already clinched his spot in round three of the Chase.

"I'm looking forward to Talladega," Johnson said. "Who doesn't enjoy a nice, relaxing Sunday drive? Well, beside everyone but Kevin Harvick and I?"

2. Kevin Harvick — Harvick held off Carl Edwards over the final 30 laps at Kansas and went on to win the Hollywood Casino 400. Harvick advanced to round three of the Chase For The Cup.

"We're standing behind the 8-ball," Harvick said. "Then, as you would expect from the guy they call 'The Closer,' I won the race right on 'cue.'"

3. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth started on the pole at Kansas as Joe Gibbs Racing swept the top three spots in qualifying. Kenseth led 116 laps and finished ninth.

"That's 10 poles for Joe Gibbs Racing this season," Kenseth said. "We've yet to win a Chase race so far. So that just goes to show, you can lead a horse to water, and JGR can lead a field to green, but that doesn't necessarily mean you can lead a field to checkered."

4. Kyle Busch — Busch powered to a fifth-place finish in the Hollywood Casino 400, recording his 14th top-five of the year.

"I love casinos," Busch said. "And I love gambling anywhere except Talladega, where it doesn't matter how many chips you have, because the chips are going to fall where they may anyway."

5. Martin Truex, Jr. — Truex finished 11th at Kansas and is now sixth in the points standings.

"After five straight top 7's ," Truex said, "I've had two finishes outside the top 10. I don't think there's really an explanation for it. I often lay in bed at night and try tio determine the reasons behind what happens. But I often find myself asleep soon after. In an algebraic sense, it's a matter of 'Truex + y = z.'"

6. Kurt Busch — Busch came home 13th in the Hollywood Casino 400 and is well-positioned at fifth in the Sprint Cup points standings.

"I had to go to a backup car after spinning through the grass in practice," Busch said. "So we started at the back of the field. I commend my crew for getting the backup car ready. They worked with the presision, diligence, and steely nerves you'd expect from a dedicated crew, or a government assassin."

7. Carl Edwards — Edwards took second to Kevin Harvick in the Hollywood Casino 400.

"Harvick got past me on the final restart," Edwards said. "I thought I had a clear stranglehold on the lead, but Harvick had the grip, and much like the time I wrapped my hands around his neck in 2008, I did the 'choking.'"

8. Joey Logano — Logano finished third at Kansas and is now eight in the points standings, tied with Austin Dillon.

"Kevin Harvick always seem to thrive in these must-win situations," Logano said. "I don't know how he does it, but he always seems to find more speed. I'm 'Sliced Bread;' he must be 'Yeast Bread,' because he rises to the occasion."

9. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski got loose on lap 190 and slid up the track, where he was bumped by Denny Hamlin. Keselowski's No. 2 Chevy slid through the infield grass, which heavily damaged the front of his car.

"I believe we left a divot in the infield," Keselowski said. "And keeping with the golf theme, I believe we're out of mulligans."

10. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin suffered several bad breaks at Kansas, including a broken splitter, a penalty in the pits for a loose tire, and a crash initiated by the loose car of Brad Keselowski. Hamlin still finished 15th and will likely need a win at Talladega to advance in the Chase.

"We were tripped up," Hamlin said, "by a string of bad luck."

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