Wednesday, March 17, 2021
NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Phoenix
Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.
1. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin finished 3rd at Phoenix and maintained his lead in the points standings.
"It was a good day for the No. 11 Toyota," Hamlin said. "So I'm happy. I would have been happier if Bubba Wallace, Jr. had held on to a top 10. We think Bubba's gonna be great. How can he not with me and Michael Jordan mentoring him on the things we know best? It's perfect — I talk to Bubba about racing, and Michael talks to him about championships."
2. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski started on the pole and finished 4th at Phoenix, posting his third top-five of the year.
"Unfortunately," Keselowski said, "we had two missing/loose lugnuts in post-race inspection. I'm not saying we're looking for an advantage, but if you're gonna 'cut corners,' the Phoenix track layout is the place to do it."
3. Martin Truex, Jr. — Truex pulled away late and won the Instacart 500 at Phoenix, ending a 29-race winless streak.
"It's good to be back in Victory Lane," Truex said. "I'd forgotten what it looked like there, and asking Kyle Busch to describe it was a waste of time."
4. Joey Logano — Logano led a race-high 143 laps at Phoenix and finished 2nd.
"It was about one year ago that the COVID-19 outbreak shut down our sport," Logano said. "It's times like those that make you take stock and be thankful you're alive. It was the same feeling I got after being confronted by an angry Ryan Newman."
5. Kevin Harvick — Harvick finished 6th at Phoenix.
"Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer had a memorable feud at Phoenix back in 2012," Harvick said. "I think they probably would have thrown hands had an army of crew members not stepped in between them. So, much like Sunday's race at Phoenix, nothing happened then either."
6. Kyle Larson — Larson started at the rear after failing inspection, but worked his way back to the front for a 7th-place finish.
"I failed two inspections," Larson said. "As you know, NASCAR inspections are pretty routine, monotonous, and boring. That being said, both of mine were more exciting than the race itself."
7. Chase Elliott — Elliott finished 5th at Phoenix, recording his second top-five result of the year.
"I started from the rear due to unapproved adjustments," Elliott said. "For those of you not familiar with it, 'starting from the rear' is another term for 'qualifying is virtually meaningless in NASCAR.'"
8. Christopher Bell — Bell finished 9th at Phoenix.
"Actor Jason Biggs served as Grand marshal for the race," Bell said. "His 'start your engines' command was awesome. And boy, did he put 'everything into it,' much like he did to that pie in the movie 'American Pie.'"
9. William Byron — Byron came home 8th in the Instacart 500 as Hendrick Motorsports placed three cars in the top 10.
"Trucks series driver Stewart Friesen and his wife Jessica will be racing in the same race at Bristol on March 26th," Byron said. "In a perfect world, the two will make contact and wreck each other, allowing a witty race reporter to ask one of them, 'How did you two meet?'"
10. Kyle Busch — Busch finished 25th at Phoenix, his day sidetracked by a number of problems.
"Let's see," Busch said. "To start with, I had a penalty for an uncontrolled tire. Then, I got spun into the wall by Ross Chastain. And there was more. It was a run of bad luck matched only by my run of expletives I uttered on my radio."