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NASCAR Top-10 Power Rankings: Bristol

Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Kevin Harvick: Harvick led 184 laps at Bristol, but his fortunes turned dramatically when he crashed into David Ragan’s spinning No. 18 car. Harvick finished 38th, 43 laps down, ending his streak of seven consecutive top-10 finishes this season.

“Jimmie Johnson started that wreck,” Harvick said. “That wasn’t the only one. Let’s just say his Sprint Cup titles aren’t the only reason they call Jimmie ‘Six Time.’”

2. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson survived numerous incidents at Bristol to pull out an unlikely runner-up result in the Food City 500.

“I was involved in quite a few spins,” Johnson said, “and those spins affected several other drivers. Put it this way: there were a lot of drivers looking at me ‘sideways.’”

3. Joey Logano: Logano’s day at Thunder Valley soured early when a wreck by teammate Brad Keselowski damaged the No. 22 Ford. Logano eventually finished 40th, 59 laps down.

“That wreck knocked us both out of contention,” Logano said, “and knocked our relationship into contention.”

4. Brad Keselowski: Keselowski started second at Bristol and ran into early trouble when he lost control on lap 18 and slammed the wall, collecting Penske Racing teammate Joey Logano. Both Penske cars suffered extensive damage; Keselowski finished 35th while Logano finished 40th.

“I’m not sure what happened,” Keselowski said. “Usually, when I take a hard right like that, I expect Denny Hamlin to be in the way, not the wall.”

“My good buddy Kyle Busch is out of his wheelchair. He’ll probably be racing this summer, and I expect Kyle to be back better than ever. I bet you he’ll be doing 195 miles per hour in the No. 18 at Daytona in July, or the same down some residential area in Moore County, North Carolina in a street car.”

5. Martin Truex Jr.: Truex finished a disappointing 29th in the Food City 500, the first time he’s finished out of the top 10 this season.

“Kurt Busch looked strong,” Truex said, “until he decided to pit late in the race. Then he rear-ended Carl Edwards. That just killed Kurt’s chances. That’s why he’s known as the ‘Stewart-Haas-assin.’”

6. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Earnhardt finished 16th at Bristol, as Hendrick teammates Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon took second and third, respectively. Earnhardt is sixth in the Sprint Cup points standings, 73 behind Kevin Harvick.

“From start to finish,” Earnhardt said, “Sunday’s race lasted nine hours. Most NASCAR races only seem to last that long.”

7. Matt Kenseth: Kenseth started on the pole in the Food City 500 and took the win, earning his first win of the season and a spot in the Chase For The Sprint Cup. Kenseth pulled away from Jimmie Johnson to capture his first win since the 2013 season.

“It’s been a tough year for Joe Gibbs Racing,” Kenseth said. “Kyle Busch has a gimpy ankle, Denny Hamlin has a bum neck, and Carl Edwards has a knucklehead.

“I must admit I was surprised when Kurt Busch pitted from the lead with 25 laps to go. Of course, it’s not like I’m the only person to question a decision made by Kurt.”

8. Kasey Kahne: Kahne was a victim of a late pileup triggered when Carl Edwards got loose racing side by side with Jeff Gordon. Kahne finished 37th, the worst result among Hendrick Motorsports drivers.

“Have you seen Kyle Busch lately?” Kahne said. “You know, Kyle used to drive the No. 5 car for Hendrick. His condition now should remind him of his final days at HMS, because he’s ‘got the boot.’”

9. Jeff Gordon: Gordon battled back from a loose wheel that set him back two laps to finish a solid third at Bristol. Gordon started second on the green-white-checkered finish but was no match for Matt Kenseth, who restarted on the preferred outside line.

“Unlike me,” Gordon said, “Kenseth has no intentions of retiring. Me? I’ve done enough in this business to call it a career. Four Sprint Cup titles and more money than I know what to do with. So I quit this rich.”

10. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin was running fifth when neck spasms forced him from the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota on lap 22 during the race’s first rain delay. JGR developmental driver Erik Jones took over and finished 26th.

“That’s some neck ‘restraint,’ something even a HANS device would be proud of,” Hamlin said.

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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