NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 10

Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Jeff Gordon — Gordon won his fourth-straight pole, but fell short of capturing his third consecutive win, finishing fourth in Richmond behind Hendrick teammates Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch, and Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing. Gordon holds a sizable 211-point lead in the Cup standings, meaning he could miss a race entirely and still maintain the points lead.

"That's called 'Hendrick dominance,' says Gordon, "not to be confused with 'Hendrick dominatrix,' which is what our boss Rick Hendrick ordered as motivation for getting Casey Mears up to speed with the rest of us. No, I'm not talking about a crew chief change. That's a pointless tactic, haplessly used to imperfection by Toyota teams. I'm talking about a good whipping from the lady in black. And no, I'm not talking about the track at Darlington."

2. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson passed Kyle Busch on lap 381 and pulled away for his fourth win of the season and Hendrick Motorsports' seventh victory this year. Hendrick drivers have won all four of the Car of Tomorrow races this year, and Hendrick drivers have four 1-2 finishes this year.

"Once thing's for sure," says Johnson. "I'm sick of champagne. I hear that other teams are getting desperate trying to find our secret. And desperate times call for desperate measures, so don't be surprised if one of these teams with a big budget hires Roger Clemens to drive for them. I hear the Rocket's fastball still reaches 95 mph, which would out-qualify Michael Waltrip easily on most occasions."

3. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin was the only non-Hendrick interloper in the top four in Richmond, finishing behind Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch and ahead of Jeff Gordon. Hamlin has yet to see victory lane this year, but has four third-place finishes.

"All these third places may be good enough for my car owner, Joe Gibbs," says Hamlin. "He'd kill for that kind of finish in the NFC East. But I want to win. I'm hungry to get that first victory. And I'm hungry to see Paris Hilton serve her 45 days in jail, and hopefully Pam Grier will be her sadistic, yet sexy, warden. 'Minimum security' to Hilton means 'pantiless.' I think Hilton could successfully capitalize on the skanksploitation film market."

4. Matt Kenseth — Stop me if you've heard this before: Kenseth starts in the back, and after several adjustments throughout the race, manages to get his car in the top 10. That's what happened in Richmond, as Kenseth started 28th and scrambled his way to the front, finishing 10th. He holds on third in the point standings, 260 behind Jeff Gordon.

"If I had a nickel for everytime that's happened," says Kenseth, "I'd have about a quarter. And a quarter will allow you access to a phone, on which you could call someone who cares. And, since I drive a Ford and don't drive for Hendrick, no one cares. But let's not get too excited about the Hendrick dominance. If you'll recall, two years ago, Roush cars were dominating, and look at us now."

5. Kyle Busch — Not only was it a successful day for Hendrick Motorsports, it was a good day for the brothers Busch. Kurt finished fifth, while little brother Kyle led 27 laps and finished second to teammate Jimmie Johnson.

"I noticed that Jimmie didn't get pelted with beer cans after taking the checkered flag," says Busch. "I guess those 14 fans banned from Talladega are apparently the only ones who throw cans. Seriously though, NASCAR has to be careful of whom they ban from race tracks. You can't take away the fans' inalienable right to hate Jeff Gordon. It's unconstitutional. That would be like removing their right to bare arms. You can't have NASCAR without 'wifebeaters.'"

6. Jeff Burton — Burton's car blew an engine 139 laps into the race, ending the day for the No. 31. Burton finished dead last, and fell from second in the points to fifth.

"If Jim Stewart can write me an essay explaining who's at fault for my engine blowing," says Burton, "then I'll put his name on my car next week. Or if anyone can write me an essay about why a NASCAR fan who wins an essay contest is not a true NASCAR fan, then I'll tattoo their name on my rear, right beside the name of my engine builder."

7. Kevin Harvick — After leading 105 of the first 205 laps, Harvick had the car to beat. Then, during a lap 253 pit stop, Harvick collided with the No. 6 car of David Ragan as Harvick was exiting. His right front fender was damaged, and Harvick didn't lead another lap, but he still managed to finish seventh.

"I don't know who was at fault for the accident," says Harvick, "but it sounds to me like part of this conspiracy by NASCAR to only allow Hendrick drivers to win. I hear NASCAR was also conspiring to keep Michael Waltrip Racing cars from qualifying, until they realized they didn't need to conspire at all. Anyway, I'm sure I'll see Ragan again. Most likely in the NASCAR offices after I introduce him to the wall. That is, if Juan Montoya doesn't beat me to it."

8. Kurt Busch — Busch scored his second consecutive top-five finish in Richmond, coming home fifth, one spot ahead of teammate Ryan Newman. Busch lead 27 laps, but regrettably relinquished the lead by pitting on lap 278, while many of the leaders stayed out.

"That was not a good call," says Busch. "And isn't it ironic that the slogan for Miller Lite, my main sponsor, is 'Good call?' I should change sponsorship to Bud Light, because their sarcastic 'Real men of genius' slogan works much better in that situation."

9. Tony Stewart — Stewart scored his sixth top-10 of the year with an eighth place finish in the Crown Royal Presents the Jim Stewart 400. Stewart (Tony) is now seventh in the points, 466 behind leader Jeff Gordon.

"Off the record, that's got to be the dumbest name for a race I've ever heard," says Stewart. "On the record, that's got to be the dumbest name for a race I've ever heard. Oops! Was that out loud? Probably not a good idea for me to voice an opinion, otherwise I may find myself in the NASCAR offices, or in the control tower for a Busch race, where I can see first hand how bogus cautions are invented. Come on, NASCAR. If you want to punish me, show some balls and sentence me to a week with Miss Manners."

10. Clint Bowyer — Bowyer finished ninth in the Jim Stewart 400, two days after winning Friday's Circuit City 250 for his second Busch Series win this year. The Richard Childress driver is now 10h in the Nextel Cup standings, 532 out of first.

"Okay, enough about me," says Bowyer. "Let's talk about the meeting that took place between British royalty and American royalty. No, that wouldn't be Queen Elizabeth's visit to the White House, in which President Bush was informed that a Burger King crown does not royalty make. I'm talking about 'The King' Richard Petty's meeting with the Queen at the Kentucky Derby. She asked if he'd like to be knighted, to which Petty replied, 'I don't roll like that, but if you'd like to be 'Kinged,' I can make that pasty white skin of yours turn rosy red.'"

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