NASCAR Top-10 Power Rankings: Phoenix

Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.: Earnhardt finished second at Phoenix and maintained the Sprint Cup points lead. He leads Brad Keselowski by six.

“It easily could have been my second win this year,” Earnhardt said. “And two consecutive wins would have sent Junior Nation into a frenzy, which is another word for ‘alcohol-induced coma.’

“But I’m really pleased with our start to the season. This could be the year that I finally fulfill my destiny and win the Sprint Cup championship. I’m hoping fate can lead me there, because no one else has been able to.”

2. Kevin Harvick: Harvick led 224 of 312 laps in winning the Profit For CNBC 500 at Phoenix, his second consecutive spring win in the desert. Harvick kept his challengers at bay on a number of restarts in the final 50 laps.

“It was great to celebrate in Victory Lane with Miss Sprint Cup,” Harvick said. “Richard Childress is not a woman, but you can call him ‘Misses Kevin Harvick’ anyway.

“And speaking of the ‘misses,’ I celebrated my 13th wedding anniversary. After 13 years, my wife DeLana has assured me that she has no intentions of replacing me with Austin Dillon.”

3. Brad Keselowski: Keselowski won the pole and finished third, leading a strong Penske Racing at Phoenix. Teammate Joey Logano started alongside Keselowski and came home fourth.

“I won the pole in NASCAR’s first knockout qualifying session,” Keselowski said. “In my book, that’s called a ‘BKO.’

“And congratulations to my crew chief Paul Wolfe. He missed the race to be by his wife’s side for the birth of their first son. I’ve already bought little Caden a gift. It’s a Kyle Busch driver’s suit he can wear on Halloween. That way, he’ll be a ‘Wolfe in sheep’s clothing.’”

4. Jeff Gordon: Gordon finished fifth in the Profit For CNBC 500 as Hendrick Motorsports again placed three driver in the top 10, duplicating their feat from Daytona. Gordon is fourth in the point standings, ten behind Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

“Most importantly,” Gordon said, “I finished eight spots ahead of Clint Bowyer. That was weird, because I always feel like Clint is only two steps behind me.”

5. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson posted his second top-10 result with a sixth at Phoenix, following a fifth at Daytona. The six-time Sprint Cup champ is fifth in the points standings, 12 behind Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

“Have you heard?” Johnson said. “Texas Speedway president Eddie Gossage is upset that Formula 1 has a race scheduled in Austin on the same day in November that NASCAR is in Fort Worth. I’m not sure what Eddie stands to gain. Of course, it’s not the first time NASCAR has been accused of ‘running in circles’ where Formula 1 is concerned.”

6. Joey Logano: Logano finished fourth at in The Profit On CNBC 500, joining Penske teammate Brad Keselowski, in third, in the top 5. Logano is sixth in the points standings, 15 out of first.

“In case you didn’t know,” Logano said, “’The Profit’ is a show on CNBC. It’s only slightly more informative than Michael Waltrip’s pre-race walk through the pit lane on Fox. But you’ve got to commend Michael. He’s not afraid to ask to tough questions. Heck, he asked if he could kiss 50 Cent at Daytona. And I don’t even think it was a rhetorical question.”

7. Matt Kenseth: Kenseth finished seventh in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Home Depot car, posting his first top 10 of the season. He is seventh in the Sprint Cup points standings, 20 out of first.

“That car was made famous by Tony Stewart,” Kenseth said. “What else has been made famous by Tony Stewart? This Danica Patrick-Richard Petty feud. One would think that after starting his own race team, Tony would learn to mind his own business.

“Personally, I would love to see Patrick and Petty in a race. It could be huge. All that’s needed is a pay-per-view audience, Stewart to continue his role as hype man, and a catchy slogan, like ‘The King And Eye (Candy),’ or ‘Age Before Beauty?,’ ‘Is This Really Necessary?’”

8. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin followed up his second-place run at Daytona with a disappointing 19th at Phoenix. Hamlin pitted during a late caution while most of the leaders stayed out, costing him track position which he could not recover.

“The No. 11 FedEx Toyota dealt with handling issues all day long,” Hamlin said. “I can’t tell you how many pit stops we made. Luckily, with the race being in Arizona, I wasn’t denied service based on my sexuality.”

9. Carl Edwards: Edwards led the Roush Fenway Racing contingent at Phoenix, scoring an eighth-place finish in the Profit For CNBC 500. He is ninth in the points standings, 25 out of first.

“What a performance by Kevin Harvick,” Edwards said. “He was so much better than everyone else, especially on restarts. Just ask Richard Childress—when Kevin says ‘goodbye,’ he means it.”

10. Ryan Newman: Newman posted a seventh at Phoenix, leading the way for Richard Childress Racing as former RCR driver Kevin Harvick won easily.

“I’m driving the No. 31 car formerly piloted by Jeff Burton,” Newman said. “But I’m not your typical RCR driver. Two things to remember: I’m not Richard Childress’ grandson, and Wadd Button is not my brother.”

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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