Wednesday, August 16, 2017

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 23

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Martin Truex, Jr. — Truex won Stage 2, his 15th stage win of the season, and finished second at Michigan, passed on the final restart by a bold move from Kyle Larson. Truex leads the Monster Energy Cup points standings.

"My Furniture Row Racing teammate Erik Jones restarted right beside me in second," Truex said, "but Larson forced his way between us anyway. All this time I thought Carl Edwards was the best at driving a wedge between teammates."

2. Kyle Larson — Larson went from fourth to first on the final restart to take the win in the Pure Michigan 400, his third consecutive win at Michigan.

"I went right between Martin Truex, Jr. and Erik Jones," Larson said. "I'm no expert in math or Roman numerals, but if you take 78 and 77, divide them by 42, you get 'V.' That's 'V' for victory."

3. Kyle Busch — A costly penalty ruined Busch's chances of a win at Michigan. He was sent to the rear of the field at the start of the second stage after he pitted while pit road was closed. He still finished a solid tenth, and is third in the points standings.

"My spotter told me pit road was open," Busch said. "He was wrong. Now I'm going to play the role of spotter. You see my spotter there? He's a moron."

4. Kevin Harvick — Harvick finished 13th at Michigan.

"I said Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s popularity had 'stunted' the growth of NASCAR," Harvick said. "And, in saying so, I may have stumbled upon the reason Junior is so popular — he's not an a-hole."

5. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin finished 16th in the Pure Michigan 400.

"Kyle Busch called Brad Keselowski a 'moron,'" Hamlin said, "and everyone is making a big deal about it. It's not. I've been a teammate of Kyle's for 10 years now; being called a 'moron?' That's a compliment."

6. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson finished 19th at Michigan and has not posted a top-10 result in his last four races.

"24, 21, 19," Johnson said. "No, those aren't my last three finishes. Those of the ages of my Hendrick Motorsports teammates in 2018."

7. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski started from the pole at Michigan and led 105 laps only to finish 17th at Michigan.

"Our pit strategy left a lot to be desired," Keselowski said. "In fact, a lot of people were questioning our decisions. Many called it 'stupid.' Others called it 'idiotic.' One even called it 'moronic.'"

8. Jamie McMurray — McMurray finished ninth at Michigan, recording his 12th top-10 of the season.

"The Chevy Camaro is coming to NASCAR next year," McMurray said. "That was big news in Michigan, where Chevrolet is headquartered. As announcements go that sent chills down the spines of Michiganites, it was a distant second to the news that Kid Rock is running for U.S. Senate."

9. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth was in third place with two laps to go before a tire issue dropped him to a 24th-place finish at Michigan.

"I still have a 31-point cushion over Clint Bowyer," Kenseth said. "That's should be enough to get me in the Chase. So, I know where I'll be in three weeks; I just don't know where I'll be next year."

10. Clint Bowyer — Bowyer finished a disappointing 23rd at Michigan and failed to make up any ground in his quest to make the Chase For The Cup.

"Like Kevin Harvick," Bowyer said, "I chose to open my mouth and be critical of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Maybe I should spend more time trying to make the Chase than voicing my unwanted opinion. My foot is obviously better served on the gas pedal than in my mouth."

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