Wednesday, October 25, 2017

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 32

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Martin Truex, Jr. — Truex started on the pole and won at Kansas, posting his series-best seventh victory of the season.

"The phrase heard most often in NASCAR this year is 'Truex wins,'" Truex said. "I'm just hoping to add 'it all' to the end of it."

2. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski led 18 laps and finished 13th at Kansas, and is on to the third round of the Chase For the Cup.

"There's three Toyota's in the field of eight as we head to Martinsville," Keselowski said. "I'll be the first to say I'm at a disadvantage, but I've got a 'Deuce' up my sleeve, because I won there in April."

3. Kyle Busch — Busch led a race-high 112 laps, won Stage 1, and finished 10th in the Hollywood Casino 400, easily qualifying for the third round of the Chase.

"I wore a special glow in the dark 'Frankenstein' helmet at Kansas," Busch said. "Frankenstein and I share a couple of traits — 1) our complexion, and 2) we both have a lead foot."

4. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin won Stage 2 at Kansas and finished fifth, posting his 14th top-five of the season.

"Martin Truex, Jr. has dominated on 1½-mile tracks," Hamlin said, "and Kansas Speedway was one of those. But Martinsville is a ½-mile track, and it's my home track, as well as my favorite track. So, I just want to remind Martin, 'we're not in Kansas anymore.'"

5. Chase Elliott — Elliott is on to the next round of the Chase after a fourth at Kansas, posting the top Chevrolet finish.

"Martinsville is where they separate the men from the boys," Elliott said. "Men can digest a Martinsville hot dog; boys cannot."

6. Kevin Harvick — Needing a solid finish to advance to the third round, Harvick started second at Kansas and finished eighth.

"Martinsville is NASCAR's shortest track," Harvick said, "so cars will be packed tightly. That means a lot of contact, which means tempers could flare, and the next thing you know, punches are flying. How do I now? Because I'm knowledgeable on pushing other drivers, either over the edge, or into an awaiting melee."

7. Kyle Larson — Larson suffered a blown engine on lap 73 and finished 39th at Kansas, ending his chances of advancing to the third round of the Chase.

"First, I lose my Target," Larson said, "now I've lost my goal."

8. Ryan Blaney — Blaney failed post-qualifying inspection and started last, but scrambled to finish a strong third at Kansas, which advanced him to the next round of the Chase For the Cup.

"Failing inspection at the Hollywood Casino 400 is like getting busted by the 'pit' boss," Blaney said. "As the number of failed inspections in NASCAR shows, 'rolling the dice' is very common.

9. Jimmie Johnson — In danger of being eliminated from the Chase, Johnson advanced with an 11th at Kansas.

"What is a playoff field without Jimmie Johnson?" Johnson said. "For one thing, it's good news for fans of Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. And without me, the only 'J.J.' in the field would be the one on Kevin Harvick's hood."

10. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth finished 37th at Kansas, his hopes of advancing ended by a penalty for having too crew members over the wall

"The key word there is 'over,'" Kenseth said. "And I didn't even know that was a penalty. So I'm confused. And I'm not the only one confused. NASCAR chairman Brian France heard about an 'over the wall' penalty and stunned to learn my pit crewmen were not Mexican."

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