Wednesday, July 3, 2019

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 17

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Martin Truex, Jr. — Truex finished 9th in the CampingWorld 400.

"We just couldn't get the handling right," Truex said. "And it's not like we didn't attempt several changes and combinations. We went with the 'Tim Richmond formula, because 'tried everything.'"

2. Joey Logano — Logano finished 3rd at Chicagoland and leads the Monster Energy Cup points standings.

"Thunderstorms caused a lengthy delay after just 11 laps were completed," Logano said. "Should NASCAR have simply just delayed the start of the race? Logic would suggest they should have, but since when has NASCAR taken any suggestions, much less from logic?"

3. Kyle Busch — Busch struggled with handling at Chicagoland and came home 22nd, one lap down, in the CampingWorld 400.

"The handling was one thing," Busch said, "but I also had to deal with a smoke-filled cockpit due to burning rubber. Luckily, I didn't inhale. There are, however, lots of people who would love to see me 'in hell.'"

4. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski finished 5th at Chicagoland.

"How about the 'Kroger Helmet Cam?'" Keselowski said. "It's a great feature. It gives fans a bird's-eye view of what a driver sees. It's too bad Ryan Newman wasn't wearing it at the All-Star Race back in May. That way, fans could have seen what a totally harmless Clint Bowyer punch looks like."

5. Chase Elliott — Elliott finished 11th at Chicagoland.

"We had a disastrous pit stop after Stage 2," Elliott said. "The tire changer's hose got stuck under the car. It's one thing to 'pimp' your hose, it's another thing entirely to 'crimp' your hose. Of course, we never want that to happen again. So we've made sure all crew members understand they have to keep their hose in check."

6. Kevin Harvick — Harvick won Stage 2 and led the most laps at Chicagoland, but still came up short of winning with a 14th-place result.

"I slapped the wall on lap 172," Harvick said. "I got loose, and there went any chance I had a breaking my season-long winless streak. It's at 18 races. But don't be surprised if the wall comes into play again, because at this point, I'm so frustrated, I'd drive through a concrete wall for a win."

7. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin won Stage 1 and finished 15th at Chicagoland.

"This may have been NASCAR's most exciting race so far this year," Hamlin said. "I'm not sure what the exact numbers were, but I'm guessing Sunday's rating, in true Chicago fashion, absolutely murdered those of previous races."

8. Alex Bowman — Bowman held off Kyle Larson to win at Chicagoland, picking up his first Monster Energy Cup series win.

"I got my car stuck in the grass after my celebratory burn out," Bowman said. "I forget it had rained cats and dogs earlier. Needless to say, I've been 'swamped' with ridicule."

9. Ryan Blaney — Blaney finished 6th at Chicagoland, posting his third consecutive top-10 finish.

"The race started about three hours later due to storms," Blaney said. "It was a long and boring wait for the fans. But don't knock weather delays. Often, they can be more exciting than the race. But not this race. This race was very exciting. It had everything: exciting restarts, four-wide racing, and passes for the lead. But its most positive attribute was what it lacked — Darrell Waltrip."

10. Kurt Busch — Busch finished 13th in the CampingWorld 400.

"Word is the 2021 NASCAR schedule will be shorter than 2019," Busch said. "So, it's apparently true what stock car old-schoolers have been saying for a long time: 'NASCAR is less 'event-ful' than it used to be."

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