Wednesday, May 31, 2017
NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 12
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1. Martin Truex, Jr. — Truex led 233 laps and won Stage 2 on his way to a third-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600.
"That's the third consecutive year I've led the most laps in the Coke 600," Truex said, "and all I have to show for it is one win, and a lousy t-shirt."
2. Kyle Larson — Larson started at the rear of the Coca-Cola 600 after he failed to pass inspection in time for a qualifying lap. He raced as high as third before scraping the wall on lap 153, then smacked the wall harder 45 laps later, which ended his day. He finished 33th and dropped out of the top spot in the Monster Energy Cup points standings.
"By the time I passed inspection," Larson said, "I didn't have time to turn a qualifying lap. In a sport based on speed, I guess we first need to be faster at passing inspection."
3. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson ran out of gas two laps from the finish, which allowed Austin Dillon to win his first Cup race. Johnson finished 17th.
"Much like my fuel intake system," Johnson said, "this sucks. But congratulations go to Dillon. He really proved he belongs with the big boys. You know, a lot of people thought he got a NASCAR ride only because of Richard Childress. I think that's called being 'grandfathered in.'"
4. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski's Charlotte experience ended abruptly when he rear-ended Chase Elliott, whose No. 24 slowed dramatically after running over a piece of debris from Jeffrey Earnhardt's car. Keselowski finished 39th.
"I'm not sure what piece came off of Earnhardt's car," Keselowski said. "But knowing it came from Jeffrey Earnhardt's car, I'm guessing it was a piece of junk."
5. Kevin Harvick — Harvick started on the pole at Charlotte and finished eighth despite dealing with a loose wheel early in the race, then a spin caused by some fluid on the track.
"Congratulations to Austin Dillon and Richard Childress," Harvick said. "I know the importance of winning as an RCR driver. Whenever I won in an RCR car, both Richard and I celebrated. So the partying may have been mutual, but the parting was not."
6. Chase Elliott — Elliott crashed out early at Charlotte when he ran over a piece of Jeffrey Earnhardt's car and was subsequently smash from behind by Brad Keselowski.
"It's not the first time an Earnhardt has disappointed a fan base this season," Elliott said.
7. Jamie McMurray — McMurray finished 12th at Charlotte and is sixth in the points standings, 106 out of first.
"Austin Dillon and his team made all the right calls," McMurray said. "And it's good to see the No. 3 in Victory Lane. But I don't think anyone is going to start calling Dillon 'The Intimidator' anytime soon. Based on his fuel mileage victory, I think a more fitting nickname would be the 'Fume-igator.'"
8. Joey Logano — Logano finished 21st at Charlotte, one lap down, and is now tenth in the Monster Energy Cup points standings.
"It wasn't the best of days for Penske Racing," Keselowski said. "First, neither Will Power nor Helio Castroneves won at Indianapolis. Brad Keselowski and I? We didn't have any luck 'In-dy Car' either."
9. Kyle Busch — Busch likely had the fastest car on the track but finished a disappointing second to Austin Dillon, who successfully gambled on fuel strategy to capture the win.
"Leave it to Busch brother to be ornery after a second-place finish," Busch said. "As it was, I came up short, in the race and in the post-race press conference."
10. Clint Bowyer — Bowyer finished 14th at Charlotte and is now ninth in the Monster Energy Cup points standings, 343 out of first.
"Channing Tatum gave the command to start the engines," Bowyer said. "Tatum was in Charlotte to promote his movie, 'Logan Lucky,' which takes place at Charlotte Motor Speedway and involves some type of robbery during the Coca-Cola 600. I think Austin Dillon will serve as a special consultant, because he stole the race on Sunday."