Wednesday, March 4, 2020

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 3

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Ryan Blaney — Blaney won Stage 2 and suffered a cut tire late in the final stage, which forced a pit stop and left him with a 19th-place finish.

"Alex Bowman whipped the field by almost 9 seconds," Blaney said. "So mine wasn't even the biggest 'blowout' of the race."

2. Joey Logano — Logano finished 12th in the Auto Club 400 at Fontana.

"It was cool to see Jimmie Johnson honored with the '5-Wide Salute,'" Logano said. "Maybe one day, I can receive that same appreciation. I kind of do now. However, my '5-Wide Salute' is five people standing side-by-side giving me the 'One-Finger Salute.'"

3. Kevin Harvick — Harvick came home 9th in a mostly uneventful Auto Club 400. He is 4th in the points standings, 12 out of first.

"My 'Kyle Busch Bounty' really has people talking about the Gander Truck Series," Harvick said. "And it has people talking more about Kyle Busch, which is actually what I was trying to avoid."

4. Alex Bowman — Bowman led 110 laps at Fontana and held off Kyle and Kurt Busch late to ease to victory in the Auto Club 400.

"I promised a friend I'd get an '88' tattoo if I won," Bowman said. "I'm sure people will have a lot of questions when they see my tattoo, like, 'Cool, are you a Dale, Jr. fan?'"

5. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson started 2nd and finished 7th at Fontana.

"I was honored with a 'Five-Wide Salute' during the warmup laps," Johnson said. I'm really digging this farewell tour. I mean really digging it. It's quite a turn-on actually. You could say I now have a 'fete fetish.'"

6. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski finished 4th at Fontana, scoring his first top-five result of the season.

"Good news," Keselowski said. "NASCAR is transitioning to single lug nut wheels in 2021. In hockey, that would be a 'one-timer.' In baseball, it's a 'single.' In basketball, it's a 'one-and-done.'"

7. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin started at the back of the field and forged his way forward to finish 6th at Fontana, posting his second top-10 of the season.

"We started at the back because we pitted to change a shock absorber on the warmup laps," Hamlin said. "Little did we know that the real shock 'absorber' would be Kyle Larson's rear bumper."

8. Chase Elliott — Elliott finished 4th at California, recording his first top-five of the season. He is 6th in the points standings, 17 out of first.

"I was just named brand ambassador for Hooters Spirits," Elliott said. "In case you're wondering, Hooters Spirits is not a haunted Hooter's restaurant, where the waitresses might say 'Boo(b)!' It's a line of Hooter's alcoholic beverages. Look for them on shelves. Or better yet, look for them on racks."

9. Matt DiBenedetto — DiBenedetto continued his strong start to the season, posting a 13th at Fontana, and is 8th in the points standings.

"You could say I'm 'running with the big dogs,'" DiBenedetto said. "And as they say, 'If you can't run with the big dogs, stay off the porch.' Well, I'm a big dog, and I'm gonna stay on that porch, and probably 'leave my mark.'"

10. Kyle Busch — Busch finished 2nd in the Auto Club 400, scoring his first top-five result after two lackluster efforts to begin the season.

"Alex Bowman beat me by almost 9 seconds," Busch said. "In racing, that's an eternity. So, if you ask how badly I was beaten, I'll tell you 'from there to eternity.'

"As for bounties on me, I say 'bring 'em on.' I don't mind being the hunted, just as I don't mind being the bad guy. I'm not here to be liked. You've heard of Formula 1, right? Well, for me, it's not 'F1,' it's 'F everyone.'"

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