NASCAR Power Rankings: Texas

Jeffrey BoswellAnalyst IApril 22, 2010

FORT WORTH, TX - APRIL 19:  Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 of the FedEx Ground Toyota, celebrates by shooting off pair of Turnbull 45 Colt-style, single-action revolvers in victory lane after he won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 19, 2010 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
John Harrelson/Getty Images

Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.

Jimmie Johnson

Johnson finished second at Texas, avoiding a late pile-up that collected several top contenders, including Hendrick teammate Jeff Gordon, who engaged Johnson in some hard racing late in the race.

Johnson led 39 laps on the day, surpassing the 10,000 laps led milestone in Sprint Cup races, and expanded his lead in the points to 108.

“Wow. 10,000 laps,” Johnson said. “That’s a lot of zeros. And that’s to be expected, because as the four-time defending Cup champion, I’ve been running ‘circles’ around these guys for years.”

“As for Gordon, we’ll sort our differences out like professionals, which, in this sport, equates to subtle criticisms lobbed harmlessly back and forth via the media. That little bump I gave Gordon is nothing to be alarmed about. To me, it’s just ‘hard racing.’ To Gordon, it’s a ‘brush with greatness.’ Besides, he’s my teammate as well as my car owner. With that being said, I’ve got four consecutive Cups and three wins this year. So, it’s a legitimate question to ask ‘Who owns who?’”

Greg Biffle

Biffle scored his series-best seventh top-10 finish this year, coming home 10th in the Samsung Mobile 500 in the No. 16 3M Post-It Ford.

He is third in the Sprint Cup point standings, 128 behind Jimmie Johnson.

“Top 10’s are very well and good,” Biffle said, “but we need wins. Right now, like all but four drivers, we have no wins. Hey, what do you get when you adhere a Post-It note to David Reutimann’s car? ‘Stuck on zero.’”

Jeff Gordon

Gordon led 124 laps in the Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, boasting the day’s dominant car, before a promising finish was canceled by a big lap 317 melee triggered by Tony Stewart that collected nine cars.

Gordon finished 31st, 17 laps down, and is fifth in the Sprint Cup point standings, 220 out of first.

“Most of you are probably wondering what I said to Stewart when we met after exiting our wrecked cars,” Gordon said. “My words to Tony were simple and direct: ‘Can I blame Matt Kenseth for this?’”

“I think it was very noble of Tony to immediately take blame for the accident, although it would have been convenient, and believable, had he pointed the finger at Carl Edwards. Not that Carl did anything wrong, but it would be easy to throw Carl ‘under the bus,’ as, where Carl is concerned, that bus would probably be airborne.”

Kevin Harvick

Harvick scored his first top-10 finish since Atlanta on March 7th with a seventh in the Samsung Mobile 500.

He maintained the fourth position in the Sprint Cup point standings, and is 141 out of first.

“All would have been lost had I not avoided that huge pile-up on lap 317,” Harvick said. “I owe it all to my spotter, Bill O’Dea, who’s quite talented at the art of guiding me through the carnage of huge wrecks. In those cases, he’s responsible for ‘Happy trails.’”

“I was glad to see Tony Stewart take responsibility for the accident. That saved me the trouble of having to do it. He’s the proprietor of a NASCAR team, so it makes sense for him to ‘own’ up to the deed.”

“Tony took out quite a bit of the ‘field’ in that one. It wasn’t all bad for Tony, however. That’s the first time since 2005 he’s been called the ‘cream of the crop .’”

Kyle Busch

Busch posted his best Cup finish of the year, finishing third at Texas in the rain-delayed Samsung Mobile 500.

After the race, Busch hopped in his No. 18 Nationwide ride and dominated the O’Reilly’s 300, leading 153 or 200 laps for his fifth-straight Nationwide win at Texas Motor Speedway.

“That’s 534 laps in a single day,” Busch said. “Rapper Eminem may be famous for 8 Mile ; now I’m famous for ‘800 Miles.’ Incidentally, I love M&M’s.”

“It was a solid day for Joe Gibbs Racing. Denny Hamlin displayed a lot of heart out there. It was very clear he was uncomfortable. No, not because of soreness in his surgically-repaired left knee; he just seemed out of place in a ten-gallon hat with a couple of six-shooters. Usually, when Denny says he’s ‘packing heat,’ he’s got a hot water bottle on his knee.”

Matt Kenseth

Kenseth suffered a flat tire eight laps from the end of the Samsung Mobile 500, falling two laps down and finishing 20th, only his second result outside the top 10 this year.

He lost ground in the points to Jimmie Johnson, but is still second in the standings, 108 out of first.

“Let me get this straight,” Kenseth said. “Tony Stewart admits he was a fault in the wreck that took out Gordon, yet Gordon confronts Stewart like a fan seeking an autograph? Looks like a double standard to me. It seems, according to Gordon, that there are two types of culpability: ‘at fault’ and ‘Matt fault.’”

“Dr. Jerry Punch took the Hippocratic Oath before practicing medicine; I believe Gordon took a similar oath, the ‘hypocritic,’ before distributing blame.”

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Earnhardt led 46 laps at Texas, second to Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon’s 124, and grabbed his third top-10 finish of the year with an eighth in the Samsung Mobile 500.

Earnhardt improved three places in the point standings to seventh, 235 behind Jimmie Johnson.

“I feel like we’re on the verge of something great,” Earnhardt said, “like a win, or, even better, a new endorsement deal. But I’m sure my fans were excited when I took the lead on lap 76 at Texas and led 45 laps thereafter. That’s just a preview of things to come, and with Talladega up next, a victory could be imminent. So, you could say I’m ‘peaking’ at the right time, while my fans are ‘piquing’ at the right time.”

“Now, as someone who’s enjoyed the fruits of the Hendrick empire, it would be hard for me to question Kasey Kahne’s decision to join Hendrick in 2012. You can’t fault the fact that the mighty Kasey ‘struck out’ to seek a better deal. When Rick Hendrick flashes that bank account, it’s hard to say ‘no.’ In this case, it’s not embarrassing at all to get ‘Rick-rolled .’”

Jeff Burton

Burton overcame an early penalty, as well as a late brush with the wall, to capture a hard-earned 12th at Texas. The driver of the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevy is eighth in the Sprint Cup point standings, 243 out of first.

“That infraction is known as a ‘commitment line’ violation,” Burton said, “which, if I’m not mistaken, can also refer to a driver who signs with a new team nearly two years in advance, leaving his current team hanging and his future for next year uncertain. Of course, I’m referring to Kasey Kahne engagement to Hendrick Motorsports. Money talks; Kahne made the HMS walk.”

Mark Martin

Martin finished sixth at Texas, his fourth top-10 finish of the year, as Hendrick Motorsports placed three cars in the top 10.

Martin is now 10th in the points, 254 out of first.

“Once again,” Martin said, “Hendrick Motorsports is NASCAR’s true powerhouse. Whereas last year, I looked to be the best bet to dethrone Jimmie Johnson, this year Jeff Gordon seems to have the desire to be the top challenger to the crown. Jimmie and I had a true ‘civil’ battle for the Cup; this year, there seems to be a ‘civil’ war brewing between Johnson and Gordon.”

“All the talk around Hendrick is the ‘Drive For Five.’ Due to last week’s developments, that not just Johnson and Gordon’s quest for title number five. Kasey Kahne’s ‘Drive For 5’ has begun, and will be completed in 2012 when he takes over my car. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye to this team, but I figure after a full year as a ‘seat’ warmer, my ass will be ready to go.”

Denny Hamlin

Hamlin led the final 12 laps at Texas, taking charge after a huge wreck five laps earlier wiped out several front-runners, including Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, and Carl Edwards.

It was Hamlin’s second win in three weeks, and first victory after surgery to repair a torn ACL. It was also his second Monday win, as his victory in Martinsville came after a rain delay.

Hamlin moved up seven places in the point standings to 11th, and is 275 out of first.

“I’d like to thank my mom and my dad,” Hamlin said, “as well as The Mamas And The Papas for the use of my new victory song, ‘Monday, Monday.’”

"Nothing cures a limp like a victory,” said Hamlin, “although Mark Martin’s No. 6 Viagra car worked wonders in its day.”

“This is a great win for the No. 11 Fed Ex Toyota team. It will go down in history. Days, maybe weeks, from now, people will be calling it ‘leg -endary.’”

“In all honesty, to me it’s no big deal. Heck, it’s a Toyota. You really only need one good leg to drive it anyway; odds are likely that between the gas, brake, and clutch pedals, only one will be working.”


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