Wednesday, August 10, 2022

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Michigan

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Chase Elliott — Elliott overcame a slow start to post an 11th at Michigan.

"There are three races left in the regular season," Elliott said, "so the pressure is going to be immense for some drivers. But not for me. While some drivers are thinking about just making the playoffs, I'll be thinking about winning the championship. There the playoff bubble, and there's the playoff bubbly."

2. Joey Logano — Logano finished 4th at Michigan, posting his sixth top-five of the season.

"Congratulations to Kevin Harvick," Logano said. "They don't call him 'The Closer' for nothing. I hear they used to call Tim Richmond 'The Opener,' because he had a drinking problem."

3. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin won Stage 2 and came home 3rd in the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan.

"If not for a pit road speeding penalty," Hamlin said, "I could have won this race. But this just goes to show you what I can accomplish when I'm completely focused on racing, and not Ross Chastain."

4. Martin Truex, Jr. — Truex finished 6th at Michigan, but with Kevin Harvick's win, finds himself in a perilous playoff predicament.

"The words 'Kevin Harvick winning' is painful to my ears," Truex said. "I think there's only one other thing that would pain my ears even more, and that's Brad Daugherty's southern accent."

5. Ryan Blaney — Blaney came home 5th at Michigan, recording his 8th top-five of the year.

"I'm still searching for my first win this season," Blaney said. "But I'm battling hard ... with Martin Truex, Jr. to see who can not win the best."

6. Kyle Larson — Larson overcame a pit road speeding penalty and charged during Stage 3 to finish 7th in the FireKeepers Casino 400.

"I was just a bit unlucky," Larson said. "But as they say in this sport, 'Those are the breaks.' Or as they say about Kyle Larson, 'Those are the brakes, and they either don't work, or I don't use them properly."

7. Ross Chastain — Chastain was a threat to win until a late speeding penalty left him a lap down. He finished 24th, one lap down.

"My day at Michigan wasn't a total loss," Chastain said. "I had contact with Christopher Bell with 41 laps to go. Why do I consider that a good thing? Because I was involved in an accident that wasn't my fault. Victories are awesome, and so are small victories."

8. Kevin Harvick — Harvick pulled away on the final restart and won at Michigan, snapping a 65-race winless streak and clinching a playoff spot.

"That's a huge weight off my shoulders," Harvick said, "and right onto Martin Truex's and Ryan Blaney's.

"And of course, my victory calls for a post-race celebratory meal of Hunt Brothers Pizza and Busch Light. And the next morning, I think it will hit me, that the implications of this win are astronomical, and gastronomical."

9. Christopher Bell — Bell started strong at Michigan, capturing Stage 1, but contact with Ross Chastain midway through Stage 3 left him with a damaged car. He eventually finished 26th.

"I'm disappointed," Bell said. "I'm disappointed because I could have won the race, but mostly I'm disappointed because I was in an accident with Ross Chastain and it was my fault. That disappointment will soon become embarrassment, because I'll find myself in a situation in which Chastain has to teach me a lesson."

10. Kyle Busch — Busch's Sunday ended early when he was collected in a huge pileup after a lap 25 restart, one of 11 cars affected. Busch finished 36th and has now gone eight straight races without a top-10 finish.

"I just can't buy any luck," Busch said. "If I could buy any luck, it would be in the following manner: I would buy out the contract of J.J. Yeley and have him replaced with a competent driver. There's no way my luck wouldn't improve after that."

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