NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 2

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Kevin Harvick — Harvick was on his way to tracking down race leader Matt Kenseth late in the Auto Club 500 until a red flag halted his pursuit. David Reutimann and Bobby Labonte crashed on lap 243, forcing NASCAR to park the cars. That's when Harvick realized his left front tire was deflating, damaged by debris from the crash.

"That's okay," says Harvick. "We know our car is fast. It was just a case of bad luck. Kind of like that chick on American Idol who had the misfortune of having some risque photos of her on the toilet appear on the internet. Just like her, there was absolutely nothing we could do about our bad luck."

2. Jeff Burton — Burton recorded his second top-five finish of the year, coming home third behind Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon. Burton is only five points behind points leader Mark Martin.

"What a great weekend in the world of athletics," says Burton. "NASCAR racing and the Bassmasters fishing classic, and all of it televised. Bassmasters can sell out a 16,000-seat arena to see largemouth bass weighed, but NASCAR can't sell all the seats to the California race? What were there? 5,000 empty seats? You wouldn't see that at Rockingham or North Wilkesboro, at least not during a race."

3. Jeff Gordon — Gordon started on the pole in California, and backed that up with a second-place in Sunday's race. Gordon passed Jeff Burton late in the race for second, but couldn't catch Matt Kenseth for the win.

"We're off to a good start this year," says Gordon, "which just means more fodder for all the Gordon-haters out there. As if they needed more fodder. Have you seen the No. 24 Jeff Gordon Barbie Doll for sale? No, it's not me dressed like a Barbie. It's a Barbie dressed like me. Does it even matter? Just for the record, I had nothing to do with that marketing decision, and no, I'm not trying to steal some of the Kasey Kahne fan demographic. And there's no truth to the rumor that there's a Jeff Gordon-endorsed Easy Bake Oven in the making.”

4. Mark Martin — Martin's fifth in California, coupled with his second at Daytona, gave him the points lead for the first time since 2002. Martin's success has surprising Ginn Racing on top, and he has announced his intentions to run more than just a part-time schedule.

"If I'm to run a full-time schedule," says Martin, "then we here at Ginn Racing will need an associate sponsor, preferably someone with the name "Juice" or "Tonic," so we can call ourselves 'Ginn and Juice' or 'Ginn and Tonic.' I'm hoping my homey Snoop Dogg from my days in the rap game can come through with some sponsorship."

5. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth swept the weekend with wins in Sunday's Auto Club 500 and Saturday's Busch Stater Brothers 300. Kenseth took the lead in the pits and held off Jeff Gordon for his second-straight win in the Fontana opener.

"I'm honored to win twice this weekend," says Kenseth, "especially the Busch race sponsored by the band that brought us that great tune 'Flowers on the Retaining Wall.' Oh, that was the Statler Brothers? My bad. Anyway, now I know how Mark Martin felt last week at Daytona. I could see the No. 29 in my rear-view mirror gaining on me, even without the giant Shell logo on his hood. I'll tell ya, it's intimidating to see a huge red and yellow mollusk bearing down on you. Luckily, we had a timely crash."

6. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson was dominating with over a two-second lead with 25 laps remaining when a caution came out for debris on the track. When the leaders pitted, a costly slow stop cost Johnson his lead. He eventually finished third.

“The bad pit stop aside,” says Johnson, “I don't recall seeing any debris on the track. None at all. I've stood on top of golf carts and traveled roads safely with less debris than there supposedly was in California. I think that was one of those deals in which someone spit out their window, and NASCAR officials deemed it a particularly large loogie, sizable enough to bring out a caution."

7. Tony Stewart — Stewart was in position for a top-five finish, and possibly a win, until a pit road speeding penalty with 90 laps remaining dropped him to 21st. He recovered, and placed the No. 20 Home Depot Chevy in the top 10 with an eighth in the Auto Club 500.

"Me? Speeding?" asks Stewart. "I've climbed fences faster. NASCAR denied me what was sure to be a victory, which was to kickoff my 'Build a Fence, Climb a Fence' promotion at Home Depot. Build a fence of your choice, climb it, and you could win a trip to Texas Motor Speedway. Residents on the Mexican side of the United States/Mexico border are not eligible."

8. Clint Bowyer — Bowyer finished eighth on a strong day for Richard Childress Racing. Teammate Jeff Burton finished third, while Kevin Harvick had a likely win wrested from his grasp by a late flat tire. Bowyer is sixth in the points, 71 out of first.

“Just like last year, it looks like RCR is the team to beat, again,” says Bowyer. “And, last year, that assessment was right, because we were beaten — by Jimmie Johnson. But this year will be different. One of us will win the Nextel Cup. Oh, it won't be easy, not with all the talented teams and cars. Even Toyota's in the mix, with Brian Vickers giving them their first top-10 finish. And you know Michael Waltrip's squad will turn things around, with or without the jet fuel. Michael's a great leader, and I hear he prefaces all team communication with the opening line, 'This is your captain speaking.' All while the Top Gun theme plays in the background."

9. Kyle Busch — Busch joined Hendrick teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson in the top 10 at Fontana, finishing ninth and making his way to ninth in the points, 96 behind Mark Martin.

"It looks like it's going to be a great year for NASCAR," says Busch. "Two straight miraculous finishes to start the year. First, the heart-stopper at Daytona, and then, in California, Tony Stewart crosses the finish line between my brother Kurt and myself without the presence of so much as a tire mark or a middle finger. Now that's a miracle!"

10. David Ragan — Who is David Ragan, and what is he doing in the top 10? Ragan survived an early spin and finished 16th in California, following his fifth at Daytona.

"You know, I've got a good car," says Ragan, a Roush rookie driver. "I just drive. Mark Martin drove this car for so long, so it was ready for me just to hop in and go. All I had to do was move the seat back about eight inches."

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