Thursday, March 23, 2017

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 4

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Kyle Larson — Larson took the runner-up spot at Phoenix, finishing second for the third consecutive time this season.

"I've had more seconds than Jimmy Spencer at dinner," Larson said. "But I don't mind at all. Those finishes have put me atop the Monster Energy Cup points standings. So, if you say constantly finishing in the runner-up spot is a good thing, I'll second that notion."

2. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski finished fifth at Phoenix, posting his third consecutive top-five result.

"My car failed the post-race inspection," Keselowski said. "As a result, punishment is forthcoming. Ultimately, my crew chief Paul Wolfe will have to take the brunt of the fault. That makes him a 'Wolfe in goat's clothing.'"

3. Martin Truex, Jr. — One week after dominating at Las Vegas, Truex finished 11th at Phoenix as Ryan Newman took the win.

"That was a great call by Newman not to pit," Truex said. "That's called 'rolling the dice,' and Newman rolled a '3' and a '1.' I'm not sure what game Kyle Busch was playing, but I could have sworn I heard him call 'craps!'"

4. Joey Logano — Logano blew a tire and slammed the wall with six laps to go, opening the door for Ryan Newman to steal the win at Phoenix.

"I hate that my tire issue cost Kyle Busch the win," Logano said. "But I can no more control a blown tire than Kyle can a blown gasket."

5. Kevin Harvick — Harvick finished sixth in the Camping World 500 at Phoenix, bouncing back from a 38th at Las Vegas the previous week.

"Congratulations to Ryan Newman and Richard Childress Racing," Harvick said. "Interestingly enough, I was the driver who replaced Newman at Stewart-Haas Racing when I left RCR. I guess the moral of the story is 'Join RCR, win a race. Leave RCR, win a championship.'"

6. Kurt Busch — Busch finished a disappointing 25th at Phoenix.

"My brother Kyle was cruising to an easy victory," Busch said. "Then Joey Logano wrecked, causing the caution that cost Kyle the win. All that just a week after Logano wrecked Kyle at Las Vegas, leading Kyle to take a swing. It seems NASCAR's West Swing hasn't been good for the Kyle/Joey relationship. Now we're off to Fontana, where those two could take this West Coast feud to another level. I say they settle on the stage, with a microphone. My money's on Kyle, because Logano's got a 'bad rap.'"

7. Kyle Busch — Busch was cruising towards the win at Phoenix before Joey Logano blew a tire and smashed the wall, leading to a caution that allowed Ryan Newman to stay out and take the win. Busch eventually finished third,

"That two weeks in a row Logano has cost me the victory," Busch said. "Doing it once was bad enough; doing it twice is egregious. I would say he's just 'piling on,' or maybe that's just his pit crew."

8. Chase Elliott — Elliott led 106 laps at Phoenix before posting a 12th-place finish.

"It was a brutally hot day at the track," Elliott said. "And even hotter if you were looking at the Monster Energy girls. They really know how to shake it. If you ask me how they're doing, I would say 'Everything is gyrate.'"

9. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson posted his first top-10 finish of the year with a ninth at Phoenix.

"We've struggled so far this season," Johnson said. "We've haven't been terrible, but we haven't been good either. While Kyle Busch has made 'Everything is great' a popular saying, our catchphrase so far has been 'Everything is okay.'"

10. Ryan Newman — Newman remained on the track after Joey Logano's late crash, outsmarting Kyle Busch and other leaders to take the win in the Camping World 500.

"That was my first win in 127 races," Newman said. "That's a long time. They call me 'Rocketman,' because it takes about 3-4 years for me to 'take off.'

"Here's an interesting fact: no driver has won more than one pole this season. And that makes racing much safer for everyone, because there's not a single 'bi-pole-r' driver on the track now."

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