Thursday, May 4, 2017
NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 9
Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.
1. Kyle Larson — Larson stayed out during the final caution while Joey Logano pitted for four tires. The gamble did not pay off for Larson, and Logano made quick work on his way to the win. Larson faded to 14th.
"I guess we should have pitted for tires," Larson said. "But as you know, hindsight is 20/20. Hindsight is also what I saw in my rearview mirror. And, in that instance, hindsight is Joey Logano."
2. Joey Logano — Logano pulled away on a restart with 20 laps to go and secured the victory in the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond.
"We may not have had the fastest car," Logano said, "but we won nonetheless. I owe it all to my team. They all worked together to make it happen. I haven't seen teamwork like that since all my guys laid on top of Kyle Busch after he took a swing at me."
3. Martin Truex, Jr. — Truex posted his sixth top-10 finish of the year with a 10th in the Toyota Owners 400. He moved up one spot in the Monster Energy Cup points standings to second, 40 points behind Kyle Larson.
"I was penalized for what NASCAR calls a 'commitment line violation,'" Truex said. "If you ask me what I think of the rule, I might be penalized with what NASCAR calls an 'FCC' violation."
4. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson finished 11th despite crashing Dale Earnhardt, Jr. on lap 343, when Johnson drifted up the track and into Earnhardt's No. 88 Chevrolet.
"I had no idea Junior was there," Johnson said. "Not to my immediate right, but in second place!"
5. Chase Elliott — Elliott struggled at Richmond, finishing 24th for his worst result of the year. He is third in the points standings, 52 out of first.
"The hot topic at Richmond was Jimmie Johnson wrecking Dale Earnhardt, Jr.," Elliott said. "I was totally unintentional. And Jimmie has apologized profusely, seven times to be exact."
6. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski led 110 laps at Richmond but was bested by his Penske Racing teammate Joey Logano, who passed Keselowski on a restart while Keselowski battled Kyle Busch.
"We clearly had the best car in the field," Keselowski said, "but circumstances didn't work in our favor. I got stuck behind some slower cars. One of those happened to win the race."
7. Kevin Harvick — Harvick finished fifth at Richmond, posting his third top-five of the season.
"Brian France addressed the drivers before the race about retirement," Harvick said. "You could feel the electricity in the air; that is, until France revealed he was talking about Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s retirement, and not his own."
8. Jamie McMurray — McMurray finished sixth at Richmond and is seventh in the Monster Energy Cup points standings, 116 out of first.
"Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s absence next year will leave a void for the people of Junior Nation," McMurray said. "But if there's one thing Junior fans know how to do, it's 'fill a void,' often involving a liver, or countless other body parts."
9. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin finished third in the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond, recording his best finish since a sixth at Las Vegas.
"I said there was a 50% chance that Carl Edwards will be back in 2018," Hamlin said. "That also means there's a 50% chance Carl won't be back in 2018. And I'm 100% sure I prefer that latter scenario."
10. Ryan Newman — Newman finished seventh at Richmond, posting his third top-10 of the year.
"Joey Logano ran a great race," Newman said. "And I wanted to offer him my congratulations after the race, but I know Joey is wary of me walking up to him with an arm extended. So, the situation called for a reach-around."