Thursday, April 6, 2017

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 6

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski passed Kyle Busch with 43 laps and cruised to the win at Martinsville, earning his first win at the Virginia short track.

"This was my first win at Martinsville," Keselowski said. "I'm pleased to get my first grandfather clock trophy, because it's about 'time.'

"And speaking of 'time,' Paul Wolfe is not yet serving time for his suspension for a failed inspection incurred at Phoenix. And we all know what appealing a suspension for which you are clearly guilty is: 'buying time.'"

2. Kyle Larson — Larson finished 17th at Martinsville, snapping his streak of four consecutive races in the top two. He remains the leader in the Monster Energy Cup points standings, 4 points ahead of Chase Elliott in second.

"Two of the youngest drivers lead the points standings," Larson said. "Some of the veterans like to joke that Chase and I are still in diapers. That's funny and all, but everyone in NASCAR knows that the thing most akin to diapers in this sport in the points format, because, apparently, it 'needs changing' all the time."

3. Martin Truex, Jr. — Truex won Stage 1 at Martinsville and eventually finished 16th at Martinsville.

"I like the added intensity that stage racing brings to NASCAR," Truex said. "It's answered some questions that have long been asked in racing circles, like 'Can the 80th lap of a race be just as exciting as the final lap?' Or, 'Could Kyle Busch's fuse be shorter?'"

4. Chase Elliott — Elliott finished third in the STP 500 at Martinsville, posting his third top-five of the season.

"Martinsville is the shortest track on the NASCAR circuit," Elliott said. "It's only ½-mile around. Some NASCAR fans call it a 'paperclip'; others call it a 'waistline.'"

5. Joey Logano — Logano took fourth at Martinsville, posting his third top-five result of the year. He is fifth in the Monster Energy Cup points standings, 61 points out of first.

"Matt Kenseth finished ninth," Logano said. "So, as was the case back in November of 2015, my day ended with Kenseth behind me."

6. Kyle Busch — Busch finished second at Martinsville after leading a race-high 274 laps. He is sixth in the points standings, 80 out of first.

"I lost a lengthy battle for the lead with Brad Keselowski," Busch said. "I blame a faulty set of tires for my failure. I'm very irritated. Not just at those tires, but also at Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Joey Logano, M&M's that melt in my hand, and life in general. In other words, 'Everything is grating.'"

7. Ryan Newman — Newman finished eighth at Martinsville and is 11th in the points standings.

"Just for the record," Newman said, "Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. did not get engaged. Ricky must be the one holding up things, because anyone who's pissed off Danica knows she's not afraid to 'engage' with anyone."

8. Kevin Harvick — Harvick struggled to a 20th-place finish at Martinsville and has yet to post a top-five finish this season.

"We struggled all day," Harvick said. "The No. 4 Jimmy Johns Chevrolet was just slow. How slow, you may ask? Well, we were so slow, in honor of our performance, you can walk into any Jimmy Johns, order a sub, and pick it up for free the following day."

9. Clint Bowyer — Bowyer scored his second straight top-10 finish with a seventh in the STP 500. He is eighth in the points standings, 94 out of first.

"I think Tony Stewart is proud of my efforts as late," Bowyer said. "And I'm proud to be the guy that was given the opportunity to take over the No. 14 car. But let's face it, I'll never be able to truly fill Tony's seat without 30-40 more pounds in my rear end. In the words of Tony's long-time lead mechanic, also known as 'Sir Fixalot,' 'Tony's got back.'"

10. Ryan Blaney — Blaney finished 25th at Martinsville, posting his worst finish of the season. However, he is seventh in the Monster Energy Cup points standings, 89 behind Kyle Larson.

"I'm still pleased with my performance so far," Blaney said. "If you would have told anyone before the season that Ryan Blaney would be seventh in the standings after Martinsville, they would have said 'Who's Ryan Blaney?' And I would have told them, 'I'm Dave Blaney's son.' And they would have said, 'Who's Dave Blaney?' And that makes the Blaney's a veritable 'Who's who?' of stock car racing."

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