Wednesday, March 1, 2017
NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 1
Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.
1. Kurt Busch — Busch passed Kyle Larson on the final lap and won his first Daytona 500, finally snagging victory after three runner-up finishes.
"Rob Gronkowski predicted I would win on Sunday," Busch said. "And he was right. Gronk also correctly predicted that he would finish in the 69th position.
"I thought after coming so close three times that I would never win. But I know more than anyone about putting your past behind you."
2. Ryan Blaney — Blaney captured second in a wild final lap at Daytona, as several front runners ran out of gas, while Kurt Busch took the win.
"In case you didn't know," Blaney said, "my father is Dave Blaney. But I refuse to let that hold me back."
3. A.J. Allmendinger — Allmendinger started 38th at Daytona and finished third for his best-ever finish in the 500.
"I think Monster Energy is a great new sponsor for the Cup series," Allmendinger said. "I'll say this for Monster Energy drink and the Monster Energy girls--they both have great cans."
4. Aric Almirola — Almirola finished fourth at Daytona in the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford.
"I'm proud to represent the 'King," Almirola said. "But I'm not sure Richard would recognize the state of NASCAR today. Did you hear the language during Michael Waltrip's 'Grid Walk?' I think the phrase 'kick your ass' was uttered at least three times. In the King's day, when the term 'kick your ass' was uttered just three times, that meant Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison were on speaking terms."
5. Paul Menard — Menard finished fifth at Daytona despite running out of gas on the last lap.
"You saw a lot of drivers short on fuel," Menard said. "Kurt Busch wasn't one of them. And he certainly wasn't short on Energy. Monster Energy, that is. Monster Energy is bringing excitement and unpredictability back to the sport. You could say they're taking the sport back to its roots. They're even delving into the moonshining business with a product called 'Monster Mash.'"
6. Joey Logano — Logano led 16 laps on his way to a sixth-place finish in the Daytona 500, and was one of four Fords in the top 6.
"I'm just happy I made it to the finish," Logano said. "It was a crazy race, with lots of wrecks, and a new stage format that even has a green and white checkered flag. I believe it's NASCAR's way of adding some 'color' to the sport."
7. Michael Waltrip — Waltrip finished eighth in the Daytona 500, the top Toyota finisher in the field.
"You probably saw the 'Grid Walk' I shared with Rob Gronkowski before the race," Waltrip said. "I don't think Gronk interviewed a single driver. He did, however, interview every single Monster Energy girl. I give Gronk kudos for his investigative journalism, because he wanted to get to the bottom of each of them."
8. Kasey Kahne — Kahne finished seventh in the Daytona 500, giving Hendrick Motorsports its top finish on the day.
"I'm often the overlooked driver at Hendrick Motorsports," Kahne said. "But keep in mind, there's a difference between the forgotten driver and the forgetting driver."
"Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was involved in a crash late in the race when he hit Kyle Busch. Dale is perfectly okay, though, and he's still this sports most popular driver. And that means he's selling more merchandise than any other driver. That's not unusual, that's just concession protocol."
9. Kyle Larson — Larson took the white flag in the lead at Daytona, but ran out of gas soon after, settling for a 12th-place finish.
"I didn't win," Larson said, "but I'm happy I had a chance to win. So my disappointment is outweighed by my optimism. In other words, I'm a 'glass half full' guy even when I'm a 'tank totally empty' guy."
10. Chase Elliott — Elliott started on the pole and led with three laps remaining before he ran out of gas. He finished 14th.
"I awfully disappointed," Elliott said. "I thought the No. 24 NAPA Chevrolet had the speed to hold off my competitors with ease. Honestly, I felt like I was 'coasting.' Unfortunately, I actually was coasting."