Wednesday, February 21, 2018

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Daytona

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Austin Dillon — Dillon overtook Aric Almirola on turn three of the final lap and captured the Daytona 500 in the No. 3 car made famous by the legendary Dale Earnhardt, Sr.

"I got a tattoo of the Daytona 500 logo and the word 'champ' on my backside," Dillon said. "I've always wanted a tattoo, but was afraid of getting one. I guess you could say I finally 'cracked.'

"While I'm at it, I may get another tattoo that says 'Richard Childress Racing' on my lower back. Would that be called a 'gramp stamp?'"

2. Darrell Wallace, Jr. — Wallace, in his first start for Richard Petty Motorsports in the No. 43 car, took second at Daytona.

"Denny Hamlin and I made contact crossing the finish line," Wallace said, "and I was a little unhappy about it. So I made a crack about Adderall, which is "A Denny Hamlin Dis." So maybe I need to be treated for 'ADHD.'"

3. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin started strong at Daytona, qualifying second and leading the first ten laps. But a one lap penalty for missing his pit box put him way back in the field before he charged back.

"It was a very exciting race," Hamlin said. "It got everybody's blood pumping. I guess you could call this year's Daytona 500 a 'stimulant.'

"Okay, I think that's enough talk about Adderall for the time being. It seems we've reached the 'speed' limit."

4. Joey Logano — Logano started fifth and finished fourth in the Daytona 500, giving Ford its top finish.

"I felt confident from the get-go," Logano said. "Mostly because Matt Kenseth was not in the race, but also because the car was fast.

"Kudos to the Navy Band Southeast for their wonderful rendition of the 'Star Spangled Banner.' Fergie should follow their example of the national anthem and not sing it."

5. Chris Buescher — Buescher survived the carnage at Daytona and left with a strong fifth in the 500.

"Not many people know who I am," Buescher said. "I'm not what you would call a 'household name.' My car, however, is a 'household product,' because I'm sponsored by Cottonelle. That's an odd sponsor for a race car driver, because, of course, you don't want to be 'bringing up the rear.'"

6. Paul Menard — Menard finished sixth at Daytona in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford Fusion.

"Michael Waltrip took his famous 'Grid Walk' before the race," Menard said. "I think it's good for everyone. Michael gets camera time, and people only have to speak with him for a five seconds, which is the maximum anyone can tolerate. It's a win-win."

7. Ryan Blaney — Blaney led a race-high 118 laps and won Stage 2 on his way to a seventh-place finish in the Daytona 500.

"I made news early this year when I got a haircut and shaved my mustache," Blaney said. "That's what's known in the business as 'race trim.'"

8. Ryan Newman — Newman started 13th and finished eight in the Daytona 500.

"Congratulations to Austin Dillon on his big win," Newman said. "And congratulations to Darrell Wallace, Jr., for his runner-up finish, and especially for not being related to Rusty."

9. Michael McDowell — McDowell finished ninth in the Daytona 500.

"Some people take Adderall," McDowell said, "and some people have tattoos. Some people are characterized by both. And to those Dale, Jr. fans I say, 'If you're looking for a new favorite driver, I'm your man.'"

10. Aric Almirola — Almirola had the lead on the final lap at Daytona before he blocked the hard-charging Austin Dillon, and the contact sent Almirola spinning and into the wall. He finished 11th, and took responsibility for the contact.

"I knew Austin had a run on me," Almirola said, "so I was just trying to block. I don't blame him for hitting my bumper and sending me into the wall. You could say it was the first of two 'tattooed backsides' of the weekend."

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