Wednesday, September 21, 2022

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Bristol Night Race

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Chase Elliott — Elliott finished 2nd at Bristol and easily advanced to the Round of 12.

"I recently said I don't think NASCAR should try to compete head-to-head with NFL football," Elliott said. "NASCAR can try to silence me, but that's just because they're afraid to tackle the issues affecting our sport."

2. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin finished 9th at Bristol and advanced into Round 2 of the playoffs.

"I had already clinched a spot in the second round of the playoffs after Stage 1," Hamlin said. "Usually, when I say my race is done early, it's because Ross Chastain wrecked me."

3. Christopher Bell — Bell won Stage 2 at Bristol and easily advanced to Round 2 of the playoffs.

"I like my chances to become Cup champion," Bell said. "If that happens, it may be one of the greatest upsets in NASCAR history. Most of the 'greatest upsets' in NASCAR history belong to Kyle Busch."

4. William Byron — Byron finished 3rd at Bristol and advanced to Round 2 of the playoffs.

"All four Hendrick Motorsports drivers made the Round of 12," Byron said. "At Bristol, the term 'all four' was prevalent, used often to say 'All four of his tires are not on.'"

5. Ross Chastain — Chastain finished 6th at Bristol and advanced to the Round of 12.

"A few drivers had their playoff hopes wrecked at Bristol," Chastain said. "Those were wrecks I had nothing to do with."

6. Joey Logano — Logano came home 27th at Bristol and is on to Round 2 of the playoffs.

"That was my 500th Cup start," Logano said. "That's a lot. Some people, like Matt Kenseth, say it's 500 too many."

7. Kyle Larson — Larson finished 5th at Bristol, posting his 11th top-five of the season.

"I recently signed a three-year extension with Hendrick Motorsports," Larson said. "I haven't checked the fine print, but given my history, I'm sure there is some fine print."

8. Ryan Blaney — Blaney had numerous tire issues and finished 30th at Bristol, but still advanced to Round 2 of the playoffs.

"I felt the same way as a lot of fans in attendance," Blaney said, "because I was wildly cheering the misfortune of Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick."

9. Chris Buescher — Buescher won at Bristol, becoming the third consecutive non-playoff driver to win a playoff race.

"Normally," Buescher said, "I wouldn't really be thrilled to be mentioned in the same breath with Erik Jones and Bubba Wallace."

10. (tie): Kyle Busch — Busch blew an engine just past the halfway point at Bristol and finished 34th, which eliminated him from the playoffs.

"That's my second blown engine in the last three races," Busch said. "So, I lead all drivers in blown engines, and easily lead all drivers in blown gaskets and blown fuses."

10. (tie) Kevin Harvick — Harvick was running near the front until a disastrous pit stop on lap 438, when his pit crew failed to fully secure his left-rear tire. The lost track position left Harvick in 10th, where he finished.

"I needed a win to advance," Harvick said. "But unfortunately, I needed a fifth wheel to finish the race. And speaking of 'fifth wheels,' my pit crew is one."

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