Wednesday, October 4, 2017

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 29

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Kyle Busch — Busch started second at Dover and passed Chase Elliott with two laps to go to win at Dover.

"I stood for the American flag," Busch said, "but I was sitting for the checkered flag.

"Unfortunately, my brother Kurt didn't advance to the next round of the Chase. Kurt won the Daytona 500 in February. Since then, he's done mostly nothing, which is the same as saying he hasn't done much of anything."

2. Martin Truex, Jr. — Truex started on the pole at Dover and finished fourth, and is still the leader in the Monster Energy Cup points standings.

"The championship is turning into a two-man battle between me and Kyle Busch," Truex said. "I think we should just put our two Toyotas side-by-side and force Brad Keselowski to pick a winner."

3. Kyle Larson — Larson won Stage 2 and finished fifth in the Apache Warrior 400 at Dover, posting his 14th top-five of the year.

"There's been a lot of talk lately about standing for the national anthem," Larson said. "To stand or not to stand, that is the question. But this is NASCAR, the 'stands' that really should be a concern are the ones that hold the fans."

4. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski won the first stage and finished tenth at Dover.

"I said it before and I'll say it again," Keselowski said. "I support your civil rights 100%. If you want to stand for the national anthem, I support your desire to do so. If you're afraid not to for fear of having your ass kicked, I support your right to feel fear."

5. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin broke an axle and finished 35th in the Apache Warrior 400.

"And speaking of things that 'crack under pressure,'" Hamlin said, "Chase Elliott should have won that race."

6. Chase Elliott — Elliott led 138 laps at Dover, but couldn't close the deal as Kyle Busch passed him with two laps to go to steal the win.

"I think I may be coming down with a case of the flu," Elliott said. "Or maybe I'm feeling a bit 'run down.'

"Kyle may be the favorite to win the Monster Energy Cup. He looms large in the championship picture, much as he did in my rear-view mirror."

7. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson finished third at Dover and is now fifth in the Monster Energy Cup points standings, 42 behind Martin Truex, Jr.

"Chase Elliott almost had his first career win, " Johnson said. "I know he must be disappointed. He was this close to victory, and by 'this' I mean the length of a two-inch piece of tape."

8. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth came home 11th at Dover, just missing his 15th top-10 of the year.

"Did Ryan Newman keep Chase Elliott from winning?" Kenseth said. "Of course not. Newman's never prevented anyone from winning anything of consequence, except himself."

9. Kevin Harvick — Harvick finished 17th at Dover, with his shot at a stronger finish hindered by an unscheduled pit stop.

"There was very little, if any, sitting for the national anthem," Harvick said. "I think that goes to show that NASCAR is the most 'All-American' sport that is. The red, white, and blue is important to NASCAR, especially the white."

10. Jamie McMurray — McMurray finished ninth at Dover, recording his 15th top-10 of the year, and advanced to the next round of the Chase For the Cup.

"I think all major sports had an increased amount of attention on the national anthem," McMurray said. "But only in NASCAR was the playing of the anthem more exciting than the event itself."

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