NASCAR Top-10 Power Rankings: Indianapolis

Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Carl Edwards: Edwards took a run through the Indianapolis Motor Speedway grass, damaging the front splitter of the No. 99 car and setting him back in the field with 33 laps to go. Forced to resume in fuel conservation mode, Edwards went the rest of the way without pitting and finished 14th. He remained atop the point standings, and leads Jimmie Johnson by 11.

[media-credit name=”Adam Lovelace” align=”alignright” width=”239″][/media-credit]“How is a spin through the infield grass like my free agent negotiations?” Edwards asked. “In both cases, there’s a lot of ‘green’ up ahead. I’ve had more money thrown at me than the Dale Earnhardt, Jr. merchandise trailer.”

2. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson raced in the top 5 at Indianapolis for most of Sunday’s Brickyard 400, but like many other drivers, fell victim to cautions that sabotaged pit strategies. After pitting for fuel and four tires late, he crossed the line 19th as Paul Menard posted his first Sprint Cup win.

“I can certainly relate to the advantages of having the financial backing of a large home improvement chain,” Johnson said. “Paul Menard’s win at Indianapolis was a huge surprise. There are those that say Menard’s win had everything to do with the advantages of having financial backing from his billionaire father, John Menard. I say give Paul some credit, not only for his driving, but also for serving as the impetus to the Menard’s chain of stores’ brand new slogan: “Menard’s: Where You Can Buy Anything.”

3. Kyle Busch: Busch survived two incidents, one with Tony Stewart on pit row, the other with the wall, and bounced back to finish 10th at Indianapolis, scoring his 12th top-10 result of the year. Busch is now fourth in the Sprint Cup point standings, 16 out of first.

“One thing’s for sure,” Busch said, “the wall at Indy smacks harder than Richard Childress.

“I can’t help but ponder the possibilities of having Carl Edwards as a teammate here at Joe Gibbs Racing. I could teach Carl a thing or two, and when that goes sour, he could teach me a lesson.”

4. Kevin Harvick: After struggling with a tight-handling car for much of the race, Harvick and the No. 29 team gambled on pit strategy, coming in for a splash of fuel under green on lap 129, which allowed them to reach the finish without another stop. He finished 11th as Richard Childress teammate Paul Menard took the Brickyard 400 victory.

“Congratulations to Paul Menard,” Harvick said. “It’s refreshing to hear a driver thank his sponsor and really mean it.”

5. Jeff Gordon: Gordon took the runner-up spot at Indianapolis, finishing second to surprise winner Paul Menard, denying Gordon his fifth Brickyard 400 win. Gordon is seventh in the Sprint Cup point standings, 52 behind Carl Edwards.

“Despite the money trail,” Gordon said, “I still couldn’t catch Menard. “I knew with a few laps to go I wouldn’t be able to catch him. As Brickyard 400’s, as well as Sprint Cup championships, go, I knew I was running out of time to win my fifth.”

6. Matt Kenseth: Kenseth led the Roush Fenway Racing charge at Indianapolis, finishing fifth at the Brickyard to post his seventh top-5 result of the year. He improved one spot in the point standings to fifth, and now trails Carl Edwards by 16.

“I may lack style,” Kenseth said, “or a wealthy benefactor, but I don’t lack substance. I haven’t finished out of the top 20 since early May. I’ve got no problem being called ‘Mr. Consistency.’ Heck, I’m just glad that anyone calls me ‘Mister.’”

7. Tony Stewart: Stewart was up front and in charge with 15 laps to go, but had to pit, knowing the No. 14 Office Depot Chevrolet couldn’t make it on fuel. He settled for 6th and moved up two places in the point standings to ninth, 73 out of first.

“Normally,” Stewart said, “I’m not one to play it conservative, unless it involves an attractive female politician with delusional views on American history and family values. Sadly, the state of American politics requires that the speaker of that statement to ‘be more specific.’

But there’s no room for politics in NASCAR, although I do love a good party. If I use the term ‘bi-partisan,’ it’s usually to describe punching Kurt Busch with my right and left hands.”

8. Kurt Busch: Busch’s No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge suffered damage when he dove through the infield grass to avoid Landon Cassill’s spinning No. 51 car. The damage bent the splitter upwards into the grill, hindering airflow and causing an overheating problem. Repairs left Busch with serious handling issues, and he eventually finished 20th after a late stop for fuel. He tumbled three spots in the points to sixth and is now 18 out of first.

“I was not happy with my car,” Busch said. “And as you know, when I’m not happy with my car, I often say a ‘blessing,’ which is often replete with vulgarity. But nothing I’ve ever said is as vulgar as a pre-race blessing containing the words ‘boogity, boogity, boogity’ and ‘smoking hot wife,’ among others. I’m appalled, that I haven’t been attending church all these years.”

9. Ryan Newman: Knowing a win was unlikely given his circumstances at the Brickyard 400, Newman pitted with 29 laps to go for three seconds of fuel and rallied to post a 12th-place finish. It was another strong showing for Stewart Haas Racing after he and teammate Tony Stewart finished 1-2 at Loudon on July 17th. Newman is now eighth in the point standings, 64 out of first.

“This is one case,” Newman said, “in which ‘Rocket’ fuel slows you down.”

10. Denny Hamlin: After an engine change during Friday’s practice, Hamlin started from the rear of the field on Sunday. He worked his way through the field, but like many others, fuel mileage spoiled any chances for the win. After a late stop for fuel, Hamlin crossed the finish line 27th, and now sits 11th in the point standings, 95 out of first.

“I’m in a very precarious points position,” Hamlin said. “Luckily, the new Chase wildcard spots work in my favor. However, since winning at Michigan on June 19th, I’ve finished 37th, 13th, 11th, 3rd, and 27th. That’s taking the term ‘a win to fall back on’ a bit too literally.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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