Wednesday, July 14, 2021

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Atlanta

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Kyle Larson — Larson, looking to add to his season wins total of five, finished a disappointing 18th at Atlanta, hindered by a late speeding penalty.

"I almost got lapped," Larson said. "It was definitely not my finest moment. That being said, it was also not my worst moment."

2. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin finished 13th at Atlanta.

"I was penalized for speeding entering the pits midway through the race," Hamlin said. "One place you won't see me speeding entering is Victory Lane."

3. Kyle Busch — Busch was strong all day at Atlanta but had to settle for the runner-up position as older brother Kurt took the win.

"Kurt doesn't win the race if Ross Chastain doesn't block for him," Busch said. "I'll remember Ross Chastain for this. No, not because I'm out for revenge, but it's probably the only thing for which Chastain will be remembered."

4. Chase Elliott — Elliott started on the pole at Atlanta and finished 7th.

"I'm still winless at Atlanta Motor Speedway," Elliott said. "With Georgia being my home state, that's very disappointing. I've had good finishes here; I've just never been quite able to bring it home."

5. Alex Bowman — Bowman finished 4th in the Quaker State 400, giving Hendrick Motorsports its top finish.

"We're used to Kyle Larson being the fastest on this team," Bowman said, "but ironically, Kyle wasn't the fastest because he was going too fast."

6. Martin Truex, Jr. — Truex started from the rear but powered his way to the front and took 3rd.

"My car failed pre-race inspection twice," Truex said. "I'd like to tell you we had no idea the car would fail inspection, but that would mean I would fail a lie detector test."

7. Kurt Busch — Busch seized the lead from Kyle Busch on lap 236 and held his younger brother off the rest of the way, winning at Atlanta and punching his ticket to the playoffs.

"It was an intense Busch vs. Busch battle," Busch said. "And you certainly don't want to come out on the losing end. It reminded me of another Busch vs. Busch battle, from when Kyle and I were kids, when our Mom and Dad would battle to determine which parent had to spend time with us. And you definitely didn't want to come out on that losing end."

8. Joey Logano — Logano finished 14th in the Quaker State 400 at Atlanta on a so-so day for Penske Racing.

"Penske hasn't won a Cup race since April," Logano said. "Just to clarify, that's April of 2021, although it seems longer ago."

9. Kevin Harvick — Harvick finished 11th at Atlanta.

"We just weren't very competitive," Harvick said. "It's just a shame we couldn't be a part of that Kurt Busch-Kyle Busch battle. Put my Busch Light car in that scrum, and we're halfway to a six pack, which means it's 7:00 AM somewhere in a NASCAR infield."

10. William Byron — Byron struggled at Atlanta and finished 20th in the Quaker State 400.

"Atlanta is definitely not my favorite track," Byron said. "In fact, given the choice to 'take it or leave it,' I would choose to leave it ... off the NASCAR schedule entirely."

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