NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 31

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin took 3rd at Talladega and is the leader in the playoff points standings.

"I'm practically a lock to advance to the next round," Hamlin said. "The mathematicians tell me that as long as I don't vanish into thin air, I'll qualify for the next round.

"I hit 204 miles per hour at practice on Friday. When you're moving that fast, you're a blur to all fans, not just the ones who've been drinking too much."

2. Martin Truex, Jr. — Truex struggled at Talladega, finishing 26th, 6 laps down.

"I had a pit road speeding penalty," Truex said, "plus I sustained some damage in a wreck. Luckily, my place in the standings is 'pointing' to me advancing to the next round.

"Aerodynamics are of major importance at Talladega. Air flow is a big deal on the track, as well as in the infield port-a-potties. However, when you're on the track, you want to be in the draft."

3. Kyle Busch — Busch finished 19th at Talladega, the last car on the lead lap.

"This race was called the ' 500," Busch said. "Let's just say, compared to the good old days, today's NASCAR race names are 'lit.'

4. Kyle Larson — Larson was collected in a big lap 107 crash triggered by Alex Bowman blocking a run by Joey Logano. Larson's car was destroyed and he finished 39th.

"That's why my win at Dover was so important," Larson said. "It made my advancement to the playoffs Round of 8 'idiot-proof,' or should I say 'Alex Bowman-proof?'"

5. Kevin Harvick — Harvick finished 17th in the 500.

"I got knocked out of the race in a wreck caused by Kurt Busch hitting his brother Kyle," Harvick said. "Somebody, maybe even two people, should be punched for that.

"Stewart-Haas Racing and Smithfield Foods extended their partnership," Harvick said. "Smithfield specializes in pork, so our collective motto is now, 'Make the tires squeal like a pig.'"

6. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski finished 25th at Talladega.

"Thanks to Kurt and Kyle Busch," Keselowski said, "my chances of winning went kaput. In other words, Kurt and Kyle are both 'asses-sories' to ruining my day.

"The anxiety at Talladega is always evident. The tension is often so thick, you can cut it with a knife, or something even duller, like Matt Kenseth's personality."

7. Ryan Blaney — Blaney nipped Ryan Newman at the finish line by .007 of a second to win at Talladega and punched his ticket to the Round of 8.

"I'd like to thank Aric Almirola for the big push he gave me," Blaney said. "Two Fords working in harmony is a beautiful sight. The title of my Talladega diary entry could very well be, 'My Back End, Your Front End.'"

8. Joey Logano — Logano finished 11th at Talladega and is only 18 points above the cut line to advance to the field of 8.

"I started the race on time," Logano said. "Unlike Guns 'N Roses, I didn't have any 'Axl' problems this time."

9. Chase Elliott — Elliott started on the pole at Talladega and finished 8th.

"Hendrick Motorsports went 1-2-3-4 in qualifying," Elliott said. "That's more than just a 'sweep;' I would call consolidating the top two rows a 'vacuum.' Unfortunately, in the race, we mostly 'sucked.'"

10. Alex Bowman — Bowman's day ended when he tried to block Joey Logano's run on lap 107, triggering a big crash that involved 11 cars.

"Just when my feud with Bubba Wallace was dying down," Bowman said, "I do something that could start several more. Now there's egg on my face as well as water.

"And speaking of Bubba, I've got a perfect idea to settle our beef. We need to settle this like men, with a duel, with water guns."

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