Wednesday, February 20, 2019

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 1

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin held off Kyle Busch and Joey Logano to win the Daytona 500, his second career 500 win.

"I went winless in 2018," Hamlin said, "so naturally, I started to question myself. I also had other questions at Daytona, like 'when is this race going to start?' and 'when is this race going to end?'"

2. Kyle Busch — Busch finished second at Daytona, coming up short again in his bid to win NASCAR's biggest race.

"I didn't get any help from Hamlin at all," Busch said. "And I feel like I helped him plenty. As the laps were winding down, I'm pretty sure I said, and I quote, 'I need help.' And as everybody knows, when a Busch brother says 'I need help,' he really means it."

3. Joey Logano — Logano made a last lap run for the win at Daytona, but couldn't catch Denny Hamlin, who took the win, while Logano finished fourth.

"I couldn't quite get the push I needed," Logano said. "But I've always seemed to get the push I didn't need, when I get bullied by other, more physically imposing drivers. And that would be every other driver."

4. Erik Jones — Jones finished third in the Daytona 500, helping Joe Gibbs Racing to a 1-2-3 sweep.

"And all three cars passed inspection," Jones said. "That makes it a 'clean sweep.' As you know, winning cars that fail post-race inspection will be stripped of the win. Finally, it seems NASCAR has adopted the 'cheaters never win' mentality."

5. Michael McDowell — McDowell posted a strong fifth-place finish in the No. 34 Ford Mustang for Front Row Motorsports.

"Joey Logano wondered why I didn't help him during the final laps," McDowell said. "Just because I drive a Ford doesn't mean I'm obligated to offer assistance. What? Is Joey's last name 'Logan-owe?' I don't think so. If you ask me, his last name is 'Logan-no.'"

6. Ty Dillon — Dillon rolled to a 6th at Daytona and recorded the best Chevrolet result of the day.

"Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman waved the green flag to start the race," Dillon said. "I guess now he knows what happens to start a NASCAR race. But does he know what happens after a race? He should, because earlier this year, he 'failed inspection.'"

7. Kyle Larson — Larson finished 7th in the Daytona 500.

"To succeed at Daytona," Larson said, "you have to have some luck. And we were lucky. Others were not. Chase Elliott may have had the worst luck of any driver. He was caught up in two wrecks, and had a delayed pit stop when one of his crew members got hooked by a stray hose on pit lane. Not to be confused with getting 'hooked by a stray ho.' That happens in Daytona's infield."

8. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson survived an eventful Daytona 500 and finished 9th.

"My car may say 'Ally' on the hood," Johnson said, "but I've made quite a few enemies in the last two weeks at Daytona. Like Kyle Busch, for example. I wrecked him in Duel 1 last Thursday, and Kyle was none too happy. We talked, and I think we're cool now. So, Kyle got over 'it,' but he just can't get over the 'hump,' because he still hasn't won the Daytona 500."

9. Ryan Preece — Preece finished eighth in the Daytona for JTG Daugherty Racing.

"Like Joey Logano," Preece said, "I'm from Connecticut. That makes me 'Preece of CT.' That's not a catchy nickname like 'Sliced Bread.' But what if I was from Arizona? Then I would be 'Preece of AZ.' Now that's catchy."

10. Alex Bowman — Bowman started second alongside pole sitter and Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron on his way to an 11th at Daytona.

"Corey LaJoie had his face on the hood of his No. 32 car," Bowman said. "After he suffered damage in an early crash, he had to pit to have his crew raise the hood and check things out. So, in more ways than one, LaJoie needs a 'facelift.'"

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