NASCAR Top-10 Power Rankings: Pocono

Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Chase Elliott: Elliott finished third in the M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400 at Pocono, but was awarded the win when first and second place winners Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch were disqualified.

“My goals this season are twofold,” Elliott said. “First and foremost, I want to win my second Cup championship. Secondly, I want to see if I can convince fans to select me as NASCAR’s most popular driver for the fifth time, even with this villainous mustache.”

2. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin got past Ross Chastain on a Lap 19 restart and held off Kyle Busch over the final laps to win at Pocono, his seventh career win at the Tricky Triangle. But the win was later negated when Hamlin’s No. 11 car failed post-race inspection.

“This might be the biggest story in all of the sports world,” Hamlin said. “I may be biased, but I think NASCAR is the greatest sport in the world. In short, NASCAR rules.

“As for Chastain, if by ‘got past’ you mean ‘sent into the wall, then yes, that’s what happened. Ross had this coming, so it was well-deserved, and well, deserved. Sending a message to Chastain was No. 1 on my list of things to do, and I obviously sent it Fed Ex Priority.”

3. Kyle Busch: Busch took second in the M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400, but was disqualified after failing post-race inspection.

“I’m gonna plead ignorance,” Busch said. “I tried that in court once for a reckless driving charge, and it didn’t work.

“But if you want to hear about a real ‘Tricky Triangle,’ ask me about my agent, Joe Gibbs Racing, and myself in contract talks.”

4. Ross Chastain: Chastain finished 34th after Denny Hamlin squeezed him into the wall on a restart with 19 laps to go. Chastain’s No. 1 Chevy bounced off the wall and into the path of Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 Ford.

“It’s one thing to have it coming,” Chastain said, “and it’s another thing to see it coming. I had both.”

5. Martin Truex Jr.: Truex finished ninth at Pocono as all four Joe Gibbs Racing cars posted top-10 finishes, although Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch were later disqualified

“What a day for Joe Gibbs,” Truex said. “Not only did JGR cars dominate, but his grandson Ty Gibbs subbed for Kurt Busch and looked strong with an 18th-place finish. It all adds up to Joe’s belief that any Busch brother, Kurt or Kyle, especially, is replaceable.”

6. Ryan Blaney: Blaney got loose coming out of Turn 3 and slammed the inside wall hard on Lap 136. He finished 35th.

“Wow,” Blaney said, “I can’t believe Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch were disqualified. Those are some high profile ‘DQ’s.’ You know what else is a high profile ‘DQ?’ Any Dairy Queen at which Jimmy Spencer chooses to eat.”

7. Christopher Bell: Bell followed up his win at New Hampshire with a solid sixth at Pocono.

“Make that a fourth,” Bell said. “Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch were disqualified for failing post-race inspection, and since I also drive for Joe Gibbs Racing, I’d like to disassociate myself from them.”

8. Joey Logano: Logano finished 22nd at Pocono.

“There’s gonna be a race next season in Chicago on a street circuit,” Logano said. “The race is scheduled for July 2nd, 2023, and I’m expecting it to be a huge success. I mean, how can it not be great for the city? It’s Chicago, for Christ’s sake; having race cars flying through the streets means there won’t be bullets doing the same.”

9. Kyle Larson: Larson finished third in the M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400 at Pocono.

“First and second place finishers Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch were disqualified for failing post-race inspections,” Larson said. “There are words in this sport you never want to hear, and as an expert on the subject, I can tell you definitively that ‘disqualification’ is high on the list.”

10. Kevin Harvick: Harvick finished a disappointing 29th at Pocono after suffering damage when he was collected in the Denny Hamlin-Ross Chastain incident with 19 laps to go.

“I may be one of the oldest drivers in the Cup series,” Harvick said, “but I’m sick and tired of being the ‘adult in the room.’ I hate being collateral damage in someone else’s feud. It disgusts me and leaves a bad taste in my mouth, just like Busch Light Apple.”

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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