NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 22

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson struggled to a 17th-place finish at Watkins Glen, only his fifth result out of the top 10 this year. He did, however, expand his points lead 17 points to 124 over Matt Kenseth, who finished 21st.

"I guess I need work on my right-hand turning," says Johnson. "I had the car on auto-pilot at Indianapolis. It's not like you really have to drive there. A few easy left-handers every lap and floor it. Watkins Glen is a little more tricky. I didn't even know my steering wheel would turn clockwise."

2. Kevin Harvick — Harvick passed Tony Stewart with three laps to go to collect his second win of the year and first road-course win of his Nextel Cup career. The Watkins Glen win vaulted Harvick to number three in the Nextel points, where he trails Jimmie Johnson by 323 points.

"That's what good, hard racing between friends is all about," says Harvick. "As you know, I'm Tony's best friend, which, in Tony's world, still makes me his enemy."

3. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth suffered a bad luck trifecta: an untimely caution, a blocked pit stall, and involvement in a seven-car accident. Still, the No. 17 Dewalt Ford, with the aid of quite a bit of duct tape, salvaged a 21st-place finish despite the misfortune.

"Duct tape is a fix for anything," says Kenseth. "I hear that if placed strategically, it can get Jeremy Mayfield to quit whining to Ray Evernham."

4. Kyle Busch — The younger Busch cashed in the Lucky Dog five times, a NASCAR record, after a rear suspension malfunction left him several laps down. Miraculously, Busch made up the lap deficits and finished a solid ninth and remained fifth in the points, 370 out of first.

"When is Lucky Dog dog food going to step up and sign a sponsorship deal for the Lucky Dog free pass?" asks Busch. "Everything else in NASCAR has a sponsor — why can't that? I guess I'm the Luckiest Dog, but my brother Kurt is the Unluckiest Dog. NASCAR issued a stiff penalty for Kurt pitting too early. All the way to the tail end of the longest line? That's harsh. I think a more appropriate penalty would be community service, maybe picking up garbage with Boy George."

5. Jeff Burton — Burton just missed his 14th top-10 of the year with an 11th-place finish in the AMD at the Glen. He now sits fourth in the points after dropping one spot to fourth.

"Can someone tell me what the 'AMD' in the 'AMD at the Glen' stands for?" asks Burton. "That is, someone who wasn't in the AMD hospitality tent enjoying free liquor and hors d'oevres who knows nothing about racing."

6. Tony Stewart — Fans witnessed the impossible on Sunday at Watkins Glen — Tony Stewart actually congratulated a driver who passed him. Stewart surrendered the lead to Kevin Harvick on lap 87, and Stewart failed to repeat his victory of last year at the Glen.

"Kevin deserved the win," says Stewart. "Actually, Kurt Busch deserved the win. What a bogus penalty. But I understand NASCAR's reasoning — they didn't want to see Kurt do another snow angel like he did after winning Saturday's Busch race."

7. Mark Martin — Martin finished 20th on an up-and-down day for Roush Racing. Teammates Jamie McMurray and Carl Edwards scored top-10 finishes, while Matt Kenseth finshed 21st, and Greg Biffle's Chase hopes took another big hit as he finished 38th.

"That's also known as a 3-5-20-21-38 Roush finish," says Martin. "Not exactly a 1-2-3-4-5 Roush finish, but it'll have to do. At least Jamie McMurray had a finish lower than his car number."

8. Jeff Gordon — Gordon was well on his way to a top-10 finish when he was spun under braking by Mark Martin on lap 66. Gordon recovered and made a few late passes to salvage 13th-place.

"Boy, was I hot when Martin spun me," says Gordon. "I was ready to hunt him down in the garage, but then I remembered that Mark is a rapper and was probably packing, and could have rhymed me under the table anyway. Luckily, Mark apologized, so we avoided another rapper versus rapper feud."

9. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin picked up his 10th top-10 of the year with a workmanlike finish of 10th at Watkins Glen. A higher finish was definitely possible, but an untimely caution shuffled Hamlin back in the field, but he powered back four his fourth-straight top-10 finish.

"I know I'm just a rookie," Hamlin comments, "but I figure I deserve a new ride next year. I'm eighth in the points with two wins, while guys like Brian Vickers, Jeremy Mayfield, and Casey Mears get new cars for doing absolutely nothing. By that rationale, I qualify to take over for Michael Schumacher in the Formula 1 Ferrari machine."

10. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. — Earnhardt remained 10th in the points with an 18th-place at Watkins Glen. After a spin on lap 74, he fell to 36th, but passed 10 cars in the final five laps to break the top 20.

"Last week, I called out my team for not giving me a car not capable of winning," says Earnhardt. "This week, my team called me out, for spending too much time selling Wrangler jeans."

Leave a Comment

Featured Site