Wednesday, July 26, 2017

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 20

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Martin Truex, Jr. — Truex and Kyle Busch wrecked as they battled for the lead on a restart with 50 laps remaining at Indianapolis. Both cars were unable to continue, and Truex's No. 78 became engulfed in flames. Truex finished 33rd.

"Oddly enough," Truex said, "Kyle was 'on fire' before that. He won the first two stages and was well on his way to winning the race.

"The wreck was my fault; I won't lie and say it wasn't. And given my penchant for collecting extra points for stage wins and whatnot, I have to ask, do I get bonus points for honesty?"

2. Kyle Larson — Larson finished 28th at Indianapolis after a late crash that sent the No. 42 Target Chevrolet into the wall and into flames.

"Thankfully," Larson said, "I was able to escape the flames. In most cases, I only get burned by NASCAR inspectors.

"The race was quite boring until about 20 laps remaining. Much like my cars, the Brickyard 400 is famous for its lack of 'passing.'"

3. Kevin Harvick — Harvick started on the front row alongside pole sitter Kyle Busch and finished sixth, posting his 13th top 10 of the year.

"My spotter had his credential revoked after he tossed a sandwich and it fell off the top of Indy's Pagoda," Harvick said. "Joey Logano's family had quite a scare when reports stated 'Sliced Bread Thrown From Indianapolis Motor Speedway Pagoda.'"

4. Kyle Busch — Busch's quest for a third-straight Brickyard 400 victory ended when he crashed with Martin Truex, Jr. on a restart with 50 laps to go.

"Before that fateful restart," Busch said, "Truex and I played a game of 'Deal Or No Deal.' However, instead of finding out what was behind the door, we both found out what was behind the wall."

5. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson started at the rear of the field after a transmission change and was battling for the lead late when he crashed as his engine smoked after the restart following the races 11th caution. Johnson finished 27th.

"I went three-wide with Kasey Kahne and Brad Keselowski late in the race at Indianapolis," Johnson said. "It was basically a game of chicken. I guess I lost, but that's okay, because my seven Cup titles make this chicken the most likely to get 'roasted' at the NASCAR awards banquet."

6. Brad Keselowski — Kasey Kahne beat Keselowski into Turn 1 on the final restart and won the Brickyard 400 under caution. Keselowski finished second.

"When all was said and done," Keselowski said, "most drivers had spent over six hours in their cars. That's way longer that most fans spent in their seats."

7. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin finished 17th at Indianapolis, one lap down to the leaders.

"My Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch said he had a ride lined up for the Indianapolis 500 back on Memorial Day weekend," Hamlin said. "But Joe Gibbs refused to let Kyle run. I think if you asked Joe, he would tell you that Kyle may be gigantic ass, but he's an even more gigantic asset."

8. Jamie McMurray — McMurray came home 15th in the hot and grueling Brickyard 400.

"The race was a marathon," McMurray said. "By that, I mean the final 26 miles lasted over two hours."

9. Chase Elliott — Elliott finished 39th in the Brantley Gilbert Big Machine 400 at Indianapolis after blowing an engine just 18 laps into the race.

"Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will be joining the NBC booth next year as a race analyst," Elliott said. "To the legions of Earnhardt, Jr. fans out there, NBC will heretofore be known as 'Junior Station.'"

10. Kasey Kahne — Kahne outlasted the weather, late crashes, and several restarts to win the Brickyard 400, ending a 102-race winless streak.

"After a long hot day at Indianapolis," Kahne said, "I stole a win and got to kiss the bricks. You could say I made out like a bandit."

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