NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 27

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 27

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 27
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Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Jeff Gordon — Like the other 41 cars in the field, Gordon spent his day following Clint Bowyer's No. 07 car in a four-hour game of follow the leader. After passing Tony Stewart on lap 224, Gordon made no headway in chasing down Bowyer, who wan handily by over six seconds.

"I guess Clint asked himself, 'Do I feel lucky?'" says Gordon. "Well, do ya, punk? I guess the answer was 'yes.' Clint ran the gauntlet and ran his car every which way but loose."

2. Jimmie Johnson — Johnson finished sixth in New Hampshire, and in doing so, lost the 20-point lead over second he had worked all year to accumulate. Johnson still is in first, tied with teammate Jeff Gordon, who finished second.

"How could Bowyer have been so good?" asks Johnson. "He was far better than anyone else in the field. It defies explanation. I don't want to say there was cheating involved, but there's a couple of hours on Saturday that Chad Knaus was unaccounted for. He sure as heck didn't set me up with a winning car."

3. Tony Stewart — Stewart finished third behind Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon to maintain third in the points. Stewart cut his deficit to the points leader from 30 to 10.

"I wish there was more to talk about," says Stewart, "but nothing happened in that race. Very few wrecks and no feuds to speak of. Much like a Formula 1 race, just without the $100 million fine. If you're holding a 780-page document of your biggest competitor's secrets and you fail to use it before you're caught, you deserve a $100 million fine."

4. Kyle Busch — Busch finished fourth in New Hampshire to climb three places in the standings to fifth, where he is 35 points out of the lead.

"I feel I'm perfectly capable of winning this thing," says Busch. "It's something I want badly, just so I can rub it in the faces of those who said I couldn't do it, particularly my brother Kurt."

5. Clint Bowyer — Bowyer completely dominated the field in New Hampshire, leading 222 of 300 laps in route to a massive six-second victory over second-place Jeff Gordon. The win moved him from last in the 12-man field to fourth, where he trails Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson by 15 points.

"Having the No. 07 Jack Daniels' Chevrolet out front for so long was a great feeling," says Bowyer. "Not only for me, but for drinkers of Jack Daniels. I just hope they weren't playing the 'Bowyer Leads a Lap, Take a Shot' game."

6. Martin Truex, Jr. — Truex scored his sixth top-five of the year by coming home fifth in New Hampshire. That moved him up one spot in the points to sixth, where he trails the leaders by 40 points.

"So, Kasey Kahne is the new face of Budweiser," says Truex. "And Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s new number is 88. Well, Bud sales to men just dropped, and no one remembers that Dale Jarrett drove the 88 car."

7. Carl Edwards — Edwards wrecked his primary car in Friday practice, forcing him to qualify in the backup. After a solid 11th qualifying position, a rainout of Saturday's final practice left Edwards unable to shake down the backup. Still, he finished a respectable 12th, but seven of the twelve Chasers finished better.

"Isn't it funny how quickly Roush has gone from NASCAR's top team just a few years ago to an alao-ran?" says Edwards. "Do you think it has anything to do with their partnership with Fenway. Maybe some of that red Sox magic rubbed off on us. Nobody blows a lead like the Red Sox."

8. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth, showing the consistency that has made him no threat to win the Cup, had another poor qualifying effort that started him 30th. He still battled his way to a seventh, his 17th top 10 of the year.

"Hey, at least I'm a Team Dish All-Star," says Kenseth. "We'll just keep turning laps and hoping for the best. If a crack in the earth opens up and swallows five or six of the top contenders, then we might have a chance to win this thing."

9. Kevin Harvick — Harvick suffered two flat tires on the Loudon surface last Sunday, one of which caused him to fall from sixth th 36th, a lap down to the leaders. Harvick also avoided disaster when he just missed the spinning car of Reid Sorenson.

"I don't go looking for it," says Harvick, "but excitement always seem to find me. Whether I'm giving the infield a high-speed lawn job or going to war with Juan Pablo Montoya, you always get a show."

10. Kurt Busch — Busch's Dodge lost a cylinder about 120 laps into the Sylvania 300, handicapping his efforts for a solid start to the Chase. Busch finished the race one lap down in 25th, the worst finish among Chase qualifiers. He is now last in the 12-man Chase, 102 points out of first.

"I guess this puts us in a hole," says Busch. "But we've put ourselves in holes before. Like when I nearly ran over one of Tony Stewart's crewmen and was docked 100 points. That penalty was a slap in the face, but it definitely hurt less than the one Jimmie Spencer gave me."

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