NASCAR Top-10 Power Rankings: California

Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Kyle Larson: Larson took the lead with two laps remaining and held on for his second career win at California.

“Racing in clean air was key,” Larson said. “And that might be the only time ‘clean air’ is used in connection with California.

“I’m sure Chase Elliott is not happy with me. I unintentionally sent him into the wall late in the race. It was an honest mistake. Using the word ‘unintentionally’ was not an honest mistake, because it was a lie.”

2. Austin Cindric: Cindric started on the pole at California and finished 12th.

“I think I’ve proved that I’m a force to be reckoned with,” Cindric said. “Brad Keselowski has proven that he’s a force to be wrecked with.”

3. Joey Logano: Logano finished fifth in the Wise Power 400.

“Matt Kenseth radioed me from the Fox broadcast booth,” Logano said. “As was the case after he wrecked me at Martinsville in 2015, my words to him were, ‘I get the message loud and clear.'”

4. Aric Almirola: Almirola survived a late spin and came home sixth at California.

“Mine wasn’t the only spin,” Almirola said. “There were several drivers that lost it with no help from anyone. I guess spinning out on your own is one way a driver can emulate Jimmie Johnson. Unfortunately, they’re emulating Jimmie Johnson the Indy Car driver, and not Jimmie Johnson the seven-time Cup champion.”

5. Ryan Blaney: Blaney faded late and finished 18th in the Wise Power 400.

“The race winner at California gets a surfboard trophy,” Blaney said. “It used to be that the fans at California were the only ones that got ‘bored.’

“But things have changed, it appears. Sunday’s race saw a lot of close racing, blown tires, cautions, etc. All it lacked were punches thrown. Maybe that will come in the Hendrick team meeting when Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott discuss their on-track incident. I can’t think of a better place to be a fly on the wall. I can think of worse places to be a fly on the wall, and that’s any public restroom used by NASCAR fans.”

6. Martin Truex Jr.: Truex started 12th and finished 13th at California, scoring the best result for Joe Gibbs Racing.

“I think we put on a great show for the fans in Fontana,” Truex said. “And they showed their appreciation. If the fans in Sonoma are the ‘wine and cheese’ crowd, then the fans in Fontana are the ‘fortified win and macaroni and cheese’ crowd.”

7. Austin Dillon: Dillon finished second at California after battling late in the race with Kyle Larson and Danie Suarez.

“I had a really good view of the Larson-Chase Elliott dustup,” Dillon said. “I can see why Chase was irate. His radio communication was quite colorful, to say the least. Depending on who you ask, Chase either blew a fuse or dropped a bunch of ‘FU’s,’ or both.”

8. Kyle Busch: Busch fell five laps down early due to an overheating issue, but methodically worked his way back to the lead lap and salvaged a 14th-place finish.

“Credit goes to my crew for their efforts,” Busch said, “as well as all the drivers responsible for the wreck and spins that resulted in 12 cautions. And that, my friend, is the extent to which I’m able to give a fellow driver credit for anything.

“It looks like Kyle Larson is back to his winning ways. When all is said and done this year, Kyle might be called a ‘repeat champion.’ That’s assuming he can distinguish what to repeat and what not to repeat.”

9. Kevin Harvick: Harvick took seventh at California.

“The No. 4 Subway Ford was strong,” Harvick said. “And speaking of Subway, they’ve been a partner of mine for less than a year. That doesn’t even compare to Busch Light, with whom I’ve had a partnership with for over five years. Eventually, I hope my partnership with Busch beer lasts longer than that of most alcoholics.”

10. (tie): Daniel Suarez: Suarez took the lead with about three laps to go at California, but couldn’t hold off Kyle Larson, who zipped past Suarez after a big run and held on for the win. Suarez finished fourth.

“The name ‘Kid Rock’ was emblazoned on the hood of my car in connection with my sponsor deal with Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge,” Suarez said. “That tells you two things: Kid Rock doesn’t know where I’m from, and I don’t know anything about Kid Rock.”

10. (tie): Chase Elliott: Elliott was battling for the lead with Kyle Larson and Daniel Suarez late when Larson inadvertently ran Elliott into the wall and out of contention. Elliott limped home with a 26th-place finish.

“Kyle Larson needs to watch where he’s going,” Elliott said, “which is, in fact, to the playoffs.”

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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