Wednesday, November 15, 2017

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 35

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Martin Truex, Jr. — Truex finished third at Phoenix as the field of four was finalized for Homestead.

"I think the consensus is that I'm the favorite to win the Cup," Truex said. "I totally agree. I'm a big favorite of my odds to win, because I like my chances."

2. Kyle Busch — Busch finished seventh in the Can-Am 500, posting his 21st top-10 of the year.

"Toyota's have been the strongest cars all season," Busch said. "And I don't expect that to change at Homestead. Martin Truex, Jr. and I have been dominating races all year with those powerful Japanese engines. You might as well call it 'Murder On The Orient Express.'In theaters now."

3. Kevin Harvick — Harvick finished fifth at Phoenix.

"And then there were four," Harvick said. "Hopefully, on Sunday at Homestead, I'll be saying 'And then there was 4.'"

4. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski finished 16th and claimed the last of the four spots for the Chase finale at Homestead.

"Luckily," Keselowski said, "things went my way. Now, 'my way' is the highway from Phoenix to Homestead."

5. Chase Elliott — Elliott finished second at Phoenix, just missing out on qualifying for the finale at Homestead.

"I haven't won a race all season," Elliott said. "And that means I haven't beaten anyone all year, so if you didn't already know, that makes me no relation to Ezekiel Elliott."

6. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin was second in Stage 1 and won Stage 2 to put himself in position to advance as the final qualifier for Homestead. But Chase Elliott muscled Hamlin's No. 11 into the wall with about 50 laps to go, causing a tire rub that resulted in a blown tire that crashed Hamlin out of the race. He finished 35th.

"I guess we're both a-holes for causing the other to miss qualifying for Homestead," Hamlin said. "I guess that makes us even."

7. Ryan Blaney — Blaney won the pole at Phoenix and finished 17th in the Can-Am 500.

"There appears to be a great feud brewing between Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott," Blaney said. "Will it amount to anything? I doubt it. Not in this age of NASCAR. But I guess there is a chance for physical violence. A champion will be crowned, so there will be a celebration. And you can't have a celebration without beverages. If that beverage is punch, then I'd say there's a good chance that 'punch is thrown.'"

8. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth passed Chase Elliott with nine laps to go to win the Can-Am 500.

"I can certainly understand Chase Elliott's desire for revenge on Denny Hamlin," Kenseth said. "I've been there, and in this sport, it happens a lot. So, for those of you who think NASCAR lacks enough female representation, just remember, payback's a 'bitch.'"

9. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson, needing a win to make the final at Homestead, blew a tire and crashed with 164 laps to go. He finished 39th.

"I think the pressure of winning Cup No. 8 just became too overwhelming," Johnson said. "So the 'Weight For 8' is responsible for the 'Wait For 8.'"

10. Jamie McMurray — McMurray finished sixth at Phoenix, posting his 17th top-10 of the year.

"The SAFER barrier caught on fire after a burning brake rotor set it ablaze," McMurray said. "Now, at this time of year in NASCAR, when someone sounds the 'fire alarm,' a lot of drivers get nervous."

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