NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 7

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Jeff Gordon — Gordon snapped his 47-race winless streak, winning the Samsung 500 for his first win since October of 2007. Gordon, in the No. 24 Chevy sporting a special National Guard paint scheme, used a quick pit stop during the race's final caution to go from third to first, then held off teammate Jimmie Johnson over the final 30 laps. The win also marked Gordon's first triumph in Texas, and leaves Homestead as the only track where he hasn't won.

"There were a lot of people who thought this day might never come," says Gordon. "No, not a Jeff Gordon win, but a National Guard car in the winner's circle. Hopefully, that comment won't irritate the Junior Mafia."

"Is it coincidence that I won with my wife and daughter away from the track? Before we decided to have children, Ingrid and I were in agreement that she would be a 'stay at home mom.' I plan to reiterate that to her before every upcoming race, when I'll say to her, 'Stay at home, Mom.'"

2. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson battled a tight-handling car early in Texas, but gradual adjustments supervised by crew chief Chad Knaus remedied that condition. Johnson was fast at the end, but couldn't catch Jeff Gordon, as Johnson's Hendrick teammate ended his 47-race winless streak. Johnson moved up two spots in the point standings to second, and trails Gordon by 162.

"That's two former champions," says Johnson, "in championship form. I'm really happy for Jeff. That's a long time to go without winning a race. You could tell Jeff hadn't been to the winner's circle in a long time, because he got lost trying to get there. I'm the consummate teammate, so I gave him directions."

3. Tony Stewart — Stewart posted his second consecutive top-five finish with a fourth at Texas after last week's third at Martinsville. Stewart ran in the top five for most of the day, but lacked the speed on short runs to challenge for the win. He moved up two places in the point standings to fifth, 191 behind Jeff Gordon.

"There were a lot of people that thought I was crazy for leaving Joe Gibbs Racing," says Stewart. "Still others just thought I was born crazy. But I knew I was making the right decision when I said 'Newman-Haas-ta la vista, baby' to the Gibbs team."

"Now, no matter the outcome on the track, there's always a wild party afterwards in my hauler. And here, the party is Texas-sized, and so is the debauchery. That's why I do all my party planning at Texas' number one store for party supplies and adult novelty gifts, 'The Best Little Warehouse In Texas,' home of the 'Texas Instrument.'"

4. Carl Edwards — Going for his third straight win in Texas, Edwards was in the lead heading down pit lane with 30 laps to go. That lead evaporated in the pits as the No. 99 Fusion team struggled with the lug nuts. Edwards lost 10 spots on the stop and eventually finished 10th.

"Sure, we had some mistakes in the pits," says Edwards. "But there's no point in our crew beating themselves up over this, because I plan on doing it for them."

"But we weren't the only Roush Fenway team that experienced trouble in the pits. Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth also suffered lug nut issues that possibly cost them top-five finishes. It seems that instead of putting those lug nuts where they belonged, our tire changers suffered from a case of Texas 'hold 'em.'"

5. Kurt Busch — Busch finished eighth in Texas, bringing the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge up from a starting spot of 28th to register a solid result. Busch maintained the third position in the Sprint Cup point standings, and trails Jeff Gordon by 180.

"I was more pleased with my car's performance than I was at Martinsville," says Busch. "Therefore, there was no need for a testy radio exchange with car owner Roger Penske. That was an overblown situation. If a driver and car owner can't get on the radio and talk a little 'No. 2,' then they don't have a healthy relationship."

6. Clint Bowyer — Bowyer faced persistent handling issues throughout a long day in Texas, as the No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper squad never found the right balance. Late in the race, the spinning No. 77 of Sam Hornish banged Bowyer's left side, making adjustments even more difficult. Bowyer fell from second to fourth in the points, and is 187 out of first.

"You know it's a long day," says Bowyer, "when you ask your crew chief for so many changes, he eventually says to you, 'Talk to the hand.' And, you know things aren't getting any better when you find yourself taking your frustrations out on the hand. Talk about 'biting the hand than sponsors you.'"

"It was great to see NASCAR chairman Brian France at the track. Not only to show his support, but to condemn the actions of Car and Driver magazine, which posted an April Fool's story with the headline 'Obama Orders Chevy and Dodge Out of NASCAR.' Without France's help, I don't think I could have figured out that the story was fake. He also cleared the air about another questionable story floating around the track — that Bill Murray has assassinated Digger the Gopher."

"I'm shocked at the audacity of Car and Driver. Posting a fake story is lower than low, almost as low as attributing fake quotes to drivers."

7. Kyle Busch — Busch saw the momentum of a quick start in Texas disintegrate, as two separate lug nut issues in the pits sandwiched a flat tire resulting from contact with John Andretti. Busch was also penalized for speeding on the entry to pit lane, and fought back from two laps down to finish 18th, one lap off the pace. He dropped one spot in the points to seventh, 240 out of first.

"I'm stunned that I was caught speeding entering pit lane," says Busch. "You would think, with my crew unable to get a tire on in timely fashion, that I wouldn't be in such a hurry."

"Honestly, though, I made just as many errors as my pit crew, so they've got a right to be just as unhappy with me as I was with them. So, when I vented my frustration by leaving my car on the track and walking back to my hauler, it was no surprise to find my crew already there."

8. Denny Hamlin — After two straight runner-up finishes, at Bristol and Martinsville, Hamlin faltered a bit in Texas but still managed a solid 12th in the Samsung 500. He dropped one place to sixth in the points, 216 out of first.

"So, did people actually believe the bogus Car And Driver magazine story that President Obama ordered Chevy and Dodge to get out of NASCAR? If they did, then I've got some prime oceanfront property in Missouri I'd like to sell them. And if you're that gullible, then tune in to my new call-in show on the Sirius Satellite Network, called 'Ham Radio.' And give me a call at 867-5309/Denny."

9. Juan Pablo Montoya — Montoya finished seventh in Texas, his second top-10 of the year and third straight top-15 finish, a career best for the Colombian. Montoya qualified the No. 42 Target Chevrolet 16th, and moved up one spot in the Cup point standings to 13th.

"I couldn't be happier with the teams' progress," says Montoya. "In this business, during today's economic uncertainty, there's an immense amount of pressure for results, not only from car owners, but from sponsors, as well. That's why I feel like I'm walking around with Target 'on my back.'"

10. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth scored his first top-five finish since he opened the season with two wins. Kenseth and the No. 17 DeWalt Ford were up front and in contention for the win until a setback in the pits on lap 252 cost them valuable time. After dropping to 15th, he recovered to finish fifth.

"I was fast," says Kenseth, "then furious. But really, who needs the big screen to see teenagers recklessly driving Japanese automobiles when I can see Joey Logano do it live every week?"

"It seems the entire Roush Fenway organization was plagued by an epidemic of 'lug nuts.' Luckily, it's treatable with penicillin."

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