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NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 28

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 28

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 28

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Jeff Gordon
— Gordon finished 11th in the Dodge Dealers 400 at Dover, which was good enough to boost him to sole possession of the lead in the points. He leads Tony Stewart by two points and Jimmie Johnson by four.

"I'm just glad I'm back in the points lead," says Gordon, "although my current lead is peanuts compared to the 300-point lead I had before this Chase thing started. Carl Edwards is complaining about being fined 25 points for a slight height infraction? At least he didn't get docked 300 points for dominating the first 26 races of the year."

2. Tony Stewart — Stewart finished ninth, one lap down, to inch closer to the points lead. He trails Jeff Gordon by a mere two points, and has some advice for teammate Denny Hamlin.

"Never admit fault," says Stewart, "even when you're at fault. And never, under any circumstances, let a driver get away with smacking your visor, especially a driver with a pony-tail."

3. Jimmie Johnson
— Starting from the pole, Johnson endured a flat tire midway through Sunday's race and fell two laps down. Then, with just 15 laps remaining, Johnson was involved in the crash triggered by Kurt Busch's spin. Sounds disastrous, right?

"I was lucky to pull out a 14th after all that," says Johnson. "To finish 14th and be two laps down? That's got to be a testament to my great driving, or a testament to pathetic driving by everyone that finished below me."

4. Carl Edwards — After Matt Kenseth fell from the lead due to mechanical issues, Edwards took over the Roush Fenway banner and dominated the remainder of the race. Edwards led 92 laps and won in Dover for his third win of the year. However, Edwards' car failed post-race inspection because of a right fender that was too low, and he was docked 25 points, which places him sixth in the points.

"NASCAR is a game of inches," says Edwards, "and I just lost the game. In the words of Jimmie Johnson: 'Nobody 'Knaus' the trouble I've seen.'"

5. Kyle Busch — Busch finished fifth in Dover for his second top-five of the Chase, and his fifth at Dover was highest among Chase contenders who didn't get busted for cheating. He is fourth in the points, but is only 10 points out of first.

"Things are looking up for Kyle Busch," says Busch. "I'm contending for the Cup, and I've got a new team, new car, and new sponsor for 2008. If you would have told me a year ago that I'd be driving a Toyota for Joe Gibbs with M&Ms on the hood, I would have said 'You're crazy' or 'Is Dale Earnhardt going to Hendrick Motorsports?'"

6. Martin Truex, Jr. — Truex was running smoothly and poised for a top-five finish when he was caught in the pile-up that ensued when Kurt Busch slammed the wall 15 laps from the finish. He limped home to finish 13th, and now stands seventh in the points, 46 out of first.

"That Miller Lite car caused problems for half the field," says Truex. "I think more drivers on the track were impaired by beer than fans leaving the track after the race."

7. Clint Bowyer — Bowyer's car was damaged in the Denny Hamlin-Kyle Petty incident, and Bowyer could manage only a 12th-place finish. Luckily, most of the other Chase contenders had problems of their own, and Bowyer is only 18 points out of first.

"Hamlin was clearly at fault in that wreck," says Bowyer. "He caused me damage because of his driving, too. You can best believe if I were Petty, I would have done more than just slapped Hamlin's visor. I think NASCAR should look to the NHL for proper fight etiquette when tempers flare. Hockey players toss their gloves before battling; drivers from now on should take off their helmets before rumbling."

8. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth led a race-high 192 laps and clearly was the car to beat until a busted valve sent his car smoking on lap . He finished the race 26 laps down in 35th, which was better than only Denny Hamlin among Chase qualifiers. Kenseth is now 116 points out of first in 10th place.

"That was my race to win," says Kenseth. "Sure, I'm disappointed, but 116 points can be made up easily over the duration of eight races. I'm just not sure it can be done by qualifying 31st and finishing 12th in each race."

9. Kurt Busch — Many predicted that Busch could make some noise in the Chase, and they were right. Busch blew a tire on lap 386 and slammed the wall, then bounced to the center of the track, causing a pileup that affected several Chase contenders.

"I even wrecked my own teammate, Ryan Newman," says Busch. "I know he's upset, but I think we still have a good working relationship. However, Ryan did slip up and call me 'Rusty' in the middle of a stream of profanities."

10. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin bumped Kyle Petty's Dodge from behind on lap 204, sending Petty into the wall and out of the race, but that wasn't the last altercation with Petty Hamlin would experience.

"Yeah, Kyle came over and slapped me in the face," says Hamlin. "That was totally uncalled for. I was honored, to be honest. I mean, Kyle is Richard Petty's son, right? And I'm 158 points out of first in the standings. I guess you could say getting slapped by the son of a former Cup champion is the closest I'm getting to a Cup title."

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