NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings
NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings
NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 6
By Jeffrey Boswell
Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.
1. Jeff Gordon — Gordon stalked his teammate Jimmie Johnson in the closing laps at Martinsville, but couldn't quite make the kill, losing by a mere .065 seconds. Gordon tried everyting, looking inside, looking outside, bumping Johnson out of the way, and passing on the median. He even tried a Cops favorite, the pit maneuver, but Johnson countered each attempt with the kind of defensive driving they don't teach in drivers ed.
"Look, that's my car Jimmie was driving," says Gordon. "I couldn't wreck him. Sure, it's another disgusting display of sportsmanship, just like Jeff Burton's friendly second-place finish to Kyle Busch last week at Bristol. What's happening to this sport? The two tracks where you'd most expect a controversial wreck at the end, Bristol and Martinsville, you don't get it. I think it's time NASCAR cued up the Cale Yarborough/Donnie and Bobbie Allsion fight at Daytona in 1979."
2. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson held off Jeff Gordon with a masterful display of blocking to win for the second consecutive time at Martinsville. It was Johnson's third win of the year, and afterwards, he couldn't hide the excitement of beating his hero and car owner Gordon at a track that Gordon has dominated over the years.
"I can't tell you how much it means to me to finish ahead of my car owner," says Johnson. "Now I know how Michael Waltrip Racing drivers feel every week. And what's all this talk that the 'bump-and-run' move doesn't work with the Car of Tomorrow? It seemed to work just fine for Juan Pablo Montoya on Tony Raines. Of course, Montoya's got years of experience with that move. He was using that back in his Formula 1 days, unsuccessfully I might add. I guess he didn't realize that those F1 cars are as fragile as Teresa Earnhardt's ego."
3. Jeff Burton — Burton has no finish worse that 15th this year, and his sixth in Martinsville firmed his grip on the second spot in the points. He trails Jeff Gordon by 28 points, and leads third-place Jimmie Johnson by 32.
"Luckily, I wasn't sandwiched between those two in their final 50-lap duel in Martinsville," says Burton. "That was a heated battle, much like the battle for position on Highway 220 North just hours before the race last Sunday. I could feel the friction building between Johnson and Gordon, and I'm not talking about that between their two cars. I've never seen more carefully chosen words in those two interviews in my life. It smelled like team spirit, but it wasn't. Come on, guys, just admit it. You hate each other. I see a big confrontation coming soon."
4. Kyle Busch — NASCAR's No. 1 COT-hater Busch, despite not being 100% in love with his No. 5 Chevy, still managed a fourth-place finish to back up his win in Bristol two weeks ago. He moves up one spot to fifth in the points, 162 behind Gordon.
"I've still got no kind words to say about that COT-ton picking car," says Busch. "But I will say this: it looks like Hendrick Motorsports has the COT's number. And speaking of numbers, did you hear that Michael Waltrip is switching his Toyota from No. 55 to the number 'minus 27.' And I hear Waltrip is set to begin hosting Speed Channel's Nextel Cup Live full-time while previous host Dave Despain will attempt to qualify the car."
5. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth struggled early, falling a lap down, but recovered to post a tenth, his fourth top-10 of the year, and is fourth in the points, 130 behind Jeff Gordon. It was a fairly uneventful day for Kenseth, with no excessive carbon monoxide intake, no burning protective foam, and no sight of Dale Jarrett.
"Hey, I'm one to let bygones be bygones," says Kenseth, "which is what I say to Jarrett when I pass him the first time during a race — 'bye,' I'm 'gone.' Congratulations to D.J. as the highest finishing Toyota, in 28th. I guess for Toyota, the 'tomorrow' in 'Car of Tomorrow' refers to when a Toyota finishes the race."
6. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin started on the pole, edging Jamie McMurray for the honor, and led 125 laps before finishing third behind the Jimmie Johnson-Jeff Gordon duel in the front. Hamlin lost his tachometer needle early in the race, but improvised an interesting method of monitoring his pit lane speed.
"Yeah, I just visualized Michael Waltrip qualifying here," explains Hamlin, "and then went five miles per hour faster. There's no way I'd be speeding."
7. Tony Stewart — Stewart finished a more-than-respectable seventh in the Goody's Cool Orange 500, but didn't have the car to challenge the leaders when push came to shove. Stewart moved up four places to eighth in the points, 240 out of first.
"Our day could have been better," adds Stewart, "but it was still nice to know that they named this race after me and my orange No. 20. What's that? The race was named after a new Goody's headache pain reliever? And it's not the kind you snort? Okay, so I'm not 'Cool Orange.' I can live with that, especially since you can find my face on cans of Van Camp's Pork and Beans on specially marked cans called 'Tony Stewart and Beans.'"
8. Clint Bowyer — Bowyer was one of two Richard Childress Racing cars among the top-eleven finishers, and was also one of two RCR cars not on fire at some point during the race. Bowyer and teammate Jeff Burton didn't suffer the fate of Kevin Harvick, who was smoked out of his car.
"I think Kevin plans to add a new member to his crew," explains Bowyer. "A chimney sweep. And NASCAR's planning to add smoke detectors in all race cars. Don't let the name fool you; these smoke detectors won't beep when Tony Stewart gets too close. Also, NASCAR has reached an agreement with Rolling Stone's guitarist and drug aficionado Keith Richards, who will be responsible for the cleanup of all materials burned is such incidents. Richards will mix the ashes with his cocaine and snort it. It's a fabulous disposable method, like killing two birds with one Stone. Although I don't think we'll have enough ashen wreckage to keep up with Richards' habit."
9. Dale Earnhardt, Jr — Earnhardt finished a solid fifth at Martinsville, leading a race-high 137 laps, but his day could have been better. A rain delay interrupted a good run for the No. 8 Chevrolet, and while in his car waiting for racing to resume, a jet blower drying the track forced some debris in his eye, causing much discomfort.
"No we're not the jet set," sings Earnhardt, "we're the old Chevrolet-set. Oh, I'm not getting paid to say that right now? Then why bother? Anyway, they whole eye deal was unfortunate, at least until the people at Visine called, offering me six figures to speak on behalf of their product."
10. Kevin Harvick — After falling 42 laps down due to repairs necessitated by a broken fuel pump on lap 290, Harvick's bad luck continued when dark smoke filled the No. 29 Shell Chevrolet. Harvick steered clear of traffic, then exited his car, followed by a choked-up Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong and several circus clowns. Not really, but it was a scary situation.
"It could have been worse," says Harvick. "I could have had my head shaved by Donald Trump. Maybe The Donald has some idea how to install this safety foam, because my team doesn't, at least according to NASCAR. Thankfully, NASCAR's reviewing the safety foam installation procedures at Richmond this weekend. And, they're also introducing their new 'safety' fuel, which supposedly isn't flammable."
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