NASCAR Top-10 Power Rankings: Pocono

Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Carl Edwards: Edwards finished seventh at Pocono, just days after signing a multi-year contract extension with Roush Fenway Racing, leading two laps on the way to his 13th top-10 result of the year. He remains atop the Sprint Cup point standings, and leads Jimmie Johnson by 11.

“Jack Roush went ‘all in,’” Edwards said. “Now, he’s ‘all out,’ and I’m a very rich and happy man. He made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, and I put my name on the dotted line. That’s called a ‘dollar sign.’”

[media-credit id=43 align=”alignright” width=”226″][/media-credit]But how about that finish in Saturday’s Nationwide Series U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway, in which I crashed into and pushed Ricky Stenhouse’s car across the finish line. What a great time for Nationwide insurance to push their ‘accident forgiveness’ promotion.”

2. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson posted his seventh top-5 finish of the year, taking fourth in the Good Sam RV Insurance 500 at Pocono. Johnson and Kurt Busch scrapped for third place during the final laps, and after the race, the two exchanged words and had to be separated by their crews. Johnson is second in the point standings, 11 behind Carl Edwards.

“Kurt Busch is a lot like a cosmetic surgeon’s scalpel,” Johnson said. “He really knows how to get under your skin. Lucky for him, I have compassion for a driver whose personal life is obviously in turmoil. Kurt is just a few weeks removed from marital breakup; I didn’t want him to get ‘dumped’ again, so I held back.”

It’s true that Kurt and I had to be separated by our crews. And it’s also true that Kurt and I are separated by four Sprint Cup championships.”

3. Kyle Busch: Busch chased Brad Keselowski down the stretch at Pocono, but was unable to catch the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, falling short of his fourth win of the year and instead settling for the runner-up spot. Busch improved one spot in the point standings and is now 16 out of first.

“In a footrace,” Busch said, “the result would have surely been different. But let’s give Keselowski credit for dealing with the pain, and by ‘pain’ I don’t mean his teammate, and my brother, Kurt Busch. Brad puts the ‘Ow!’ in Keselowski.”

4. Kurt Busch: Busch outdueled Jimmie Johnson for third at Pocono, banging doors down the stretch in a battle that continued after the race. Busch and Johnson argued vehemently after the race and had to be pulled apart by their respective crews. Busch improved two spots in the point standings to fourth and is now 14 out of first.

“They say the No. 48 crew is one of NASCAR’s best,” Busch said. “I agree. Not only did they keep Johnson out of trouble, they also did the same for me, because without their intervention, I likely would have been punched.”

But I refuse to back down from Johnson. And I’ll tell him that. I’ll speak my mind, and say to him the same thing I would say to my most bitter rival, or my car owner, or the former Penske technical director. I have a dirty mind, and I’m not afraid to speak it.”

5. Kevin Harvick: Harvick finished a mediocre 14th at Pocono, his fourth-consecutive finish outside the top-10. Since winning atCharlotte in late May, Harvick’s best finish is a fifth, and while he’s still considered a championship contender, he needs to rekindle his winning ways before the Chase starts.

“I’ve got three wins on the year,” Harvick said, “and not much else lately. It’s known around here as the Harvick ‘win or else’ strategy.”

But if I need a good kick in the behind, recent history tells us that Richard  Childress is probably good for it.”

6. Jeff Gordon: Gordon overcame a poor qualifying effort, starting 31st, on the way to a solid finish of sixth at Pocono, his tenth top-10 result of the year. He remained seventh in the Sprint Cup point standings, and is 52 out of first.

“Did you see the size of Brad Keselowski’s broken left ankle?” Gordon said. “With that being said, let me congratulate him on such a ‘swell’ victory.”

7. Matt Kenseth: Kenseth faced handling issues and faltering brakes at Pocono, yet recovered late in the race to finish 16th. Kenseth fell one spot in the point standings to sixth, and is now 26 behind Carl Edwards.

“What’s the significance of Jack Roush’s lucrative offer to Carl Edwards here at Roush Fenway?” Kenseth asked. “Well, it means there’s at least one person who wants Carl around.”

8. Tony Stewart: Stewart finished 11th in the Good Sam RV Insurance 500, following Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Ryan Newman, who finished fifth, across the line at Pocono. Stewart overcame a flat tire early in the race, falling a lap down, before rallying to nearly crack the top 10.

“Let’s hear it for Brad Keselowski,” Stewart said. “The guts it must take to not only drive, but win, with a broken foot. It appears nothing can stop young Keselowski, except a wall at Road Atlanta.”

9. Ryan Newman: Newman finished fifth at Pocono, scoring his seventh top-5 result of the year. He remained eighth in the Sprint Cup point standings, 62 out of first and a well-cushioned 40 point edge over Denny Hamlin in 11th.

“I imagine Brad Keselowski had to be gentle with his broken left ankle,” Newman said. “For that kind of courage, Tony Stewart and I commend him. That’s something I think neither Tony nor I would be able to do, because, as our personalities suggest, we’ve never ‘pussy-footed’ around anything.

10. Brad Keselowski: Keselowski took an unlikely victory, winning at Pocono despite a broken left ankle suffered in a scary crash at Road Atlanta on Monday. Keselowski zoomed past Kyle Busch on a lap 185 restart and held off Busch over the final 15 laps. It was Keselowski’s second victory of the year, and placed him in prime position to claim a Chase For The Cup wildcard spot.

“I guess it’s now a good thing to be called a ‘wildcard,’” Keselowski said. “Sure, my win at Pocono was a surprising one. Surprising not because a driver won with a broken foot. Surprising because a driver was taking legal pain killers.”

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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