Wednesday, November 1, 2017

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 33

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Martin Truex, Jr. — Truex finished second at Martinsville as Kyle Busch took the win.

"We didn't win," Truex said, "but it was a good points day for us. And points get me very excited. You know what I get when I see my points pile up? A huge bonus."

2. Kyle Busch — Busch bumped his way past Denny Hamlin in overtime to claim the win at Martinsville and punch his ticket to the Chase finale at Homestead.

"I could head to Homestead now," Busch said, "skip the next two races, and still leave Florida with the Monster Energy Cup championship, and possibly a tan."

3. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski won the first two stages at Martinsville and was in position to win with about 10 laps to go when Penske Racing teammate Joey Logano blew a tire to cause a caution. Keselowski was passed on the restart by Chase Elliott and finished fourth.

"Logano knew he had a tire problem," Keselowski said, "yet he decided not to pit anyway. He basically cost me the win. I'm frustrated and angry with Joey. But I had a talk with Rusty Wallace. He told me it's perfectly acceptable for the driver of the No. 2 car to hate his teammate."

4. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin was passed by Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch during an overtime finish, and faded to come home seventh in the First Data 500. Hamlin had previously bumped Chase Elliott out of the way, leading to a confrontation after the race.

"I was confronted by an angry Chase Elliott fan after the race," Hamlin said. "He looked like he was three sheets to the wind, or maybe six hot dogs to the toilet. In any case, I didn't want any part of this guy. And if you saw the size of him, you know he had many parts."

5. Chase Elliott — Denny Hamlin bumped Chase Elliott out of the lead, causing Elliott to spin and wreck late at Martinsville. Elliott finished 27th, and chased Hamlin down on the cool down lap to voice his displeasure.

"I told Hamlin to 'kiss my behind,'" Elliott said. "He smugly replied, 'I already did, with my car, when I wrecked you.'

"All I have to say to Denny is: 'Halloween is over, but costume time isn't. I'm going to be Matt Kenseth, and you're going to be Joey Logano.'"

6. Kevin Harvick — Harvick finished fifth at Martinsville and is now fourth in the Monster Energy Cup points standings.

"It's good to finally see some heated confrontations between drivers after the race," Harvick said. "Unfortunately, no punches were thrown. NASCAR doesn't need stages; it needs rounds."

7. Ryan Blaney — Blaney finished eighth at Martinsville and is now sixth in the Monster Energy Cup points standings.

"I may not be the best driver in NASCAR," Blaney said, "but I've got the best hair in NASCAR. And I've got a lot of it. I once took my car to the wind tunnel, and my hair failed."

8. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson finished 12th at Martinsville and is fifth in the points standings, 67 behind Martin Truex, Jr.

"I've got eight wins at Martinsville," Johnson said, "so I know what it's like to leave Martinsville with a grandfather clock trophy. I've got a trophy room at home solely dedicated to Martinsville trophies. I call it the '8 Time Room.' Hopefully, come mid-November, I'll have another trophy room in my house with the same name.

9. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth finished ninth at Martinsville and is 10th in the points standings.

"Martinsville Speedway debuted its $5 million LED lighting system," Kenseth said. "Those are some bright lights. You could tell by just looking in the stands that everybody was well-lit."

10. Kyle Larson — Larson finished a disappointing 37th at Martinsville after spinning and slamming the inside wall on lap 300.

"I may be out of the running for the 2017 Monster Energy Cup," Larson said, "but I'm already looking ahead to 2018. I think I've proved my talent over the past that I should be the odds-on favorite to win the 2018 Cup. So, looking back, I'm looking forward."

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