Wednesday, July 19, 2017

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 19

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional. You can find betting gurus at our partners at Online-Betting.org.

1. Martin Truex, Jr. — Truex started on the pole and finished third at New Hampshire, posting his seventh top-five of the season. He leads the Monster Energy Cup points standings.

"Toyota's led 290 of 301 laps on Sunday," Truex said. "That should be alarming to U.S. manufacturers. They used to dominate NASCAR. Gosh, if only someone would take it upon themselves to 'Make America Great Again.'"

2. Kyle Larson — Larson won the pole but had it stripped after failing post-qualifying inspection.

"It was not a good week for me and inspections," Larson said. "Earlier in the week, I was penalized 35 points for using an illegal rear brake cooling assembly at Kentucky. I profess my innocence, though. To use an overused term, this reeks of a 'witch hunt,' and my car is the 'Target.'"

3. Kevin Harvick — Harvick finished fifth in the Overton 301 at New Hampshire, recording his seventh top-five of the year.

"NASCAR used a traction compound at New Hampshire in hopes of promoting side-by-side racing," Harvick said. "This is 2017 New Hampshire — when someone says 'Put down that sticky icky,' it's NASCAR officials and not marijuana regulators."

4. Kyle Busch — Busch started seventh in the Overton 301 and won Stage 2 on his way to a 12th at New Hampshire.

"I'm frustrated," Busch said. "I've now gone one full year without a win in the Monster Energy Cup series. You could say I'm 'year-ning' for a win."

5. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson finished 10th at New Hampshire, posting his seventh top-10 of the year.

"I put myself at a disadvantage from the beginning," Johnson said. "I was penalized for jumping the start and had to serve a drive-through penalty. As infractions go, my offense was pretty minor. It was a slap on the wrist, which, sadly, is more action than a fight between two of today's NASCAR drivers."

6. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin held off Kyle Larson to win the Overton 301 at New Hampshire, scoring his first win of the season and first for Joe Gibbs Racing.

"I could feel Larson breathing down my neck," Hamlin said, "and, by extension, NASCAR inspectors. Luckily, I kept Larson at bay. So, once again, he didn't 'pass.'"

7. Chase Elliott — Elliott took 11th at New Hampshire as Denny Hamlin tasted victory for the first time this season.

"Congratulations to Hamlin," Elliott said. "He won the race and a lobster. Judging by the look on his face, Denny was a little apprehensive about holding that lobster. Of course, what driver is ever totally happy with the 'handling?'"

8. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski bounced back from early trouble in the pits to finish ninth in the Overton's 301.

"We managed a good, solid finish," Keselowski said. "We had some trouble with a jack in the pits, so I guess you would call that an 'up-and-down' day."

9. Jamie McMurray — McMurray started fourth at New Hampshire and finished 17th.

"My teammate Kyle Larson has failed two inspections in the last week," McMurray said. "Kyle may be the fastest driver in NASCAR. If there's a Point A and a Point B, Kyle is always the fastest between the two. That usually because he finds a shortcut."

10. Clint Bowyer — Bowyer finished seventh at New Hampshire, posting his third top-10 in the last four races. He is 10th in the points standings, 232 out of first.

"Inspections were the big news of the week in NASCAR," Bowyer said. "I'm well aware of cheating that occurs in NASCAR. After all, I drove for Michael Waltrip Racing. Michael is a man of many talents, and ignoring the rule book is one of them. You could say he 'wears a lot of pants'; where the rule book is concerned, however, he wears a 'skirt.'"

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