NASCAR Top-10 Power Rankings: Texas
by Jeffrey Boswell On Tue, Apr. 17, 2012
1. Greg Biffle: Biffle passed Jimmie Johnson with 30 laps to go at Texas, and pulled away to win the Samsung Mobile 500, his first win in 49 races. Biffle extended his lead in the Sprint Cup point standings, and now leads Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Matt Kenseth by 19.
“That’s one winless streak over,” Biffle said. “Pity poor Jimmie Johnson. He’s got his own winless streak to contend with—he hasn’t won a championship in 43 races.
“Winning in Texas is always a thrill. It’s not often I get to put on a cowboy hat and wave guns around, while still clothed.”
2. Matt Kenseth: Kenseth finished fifth at Texas on a strong day for Roush Fenway Racing, as Greg Biffle took the victory and Carl Edwards finished eighth. Kenseth now sits in a tie for second in the point standings, 19 behind Biffle.
“That was the shortest race in Texas history,” Kenseth said, “and most boring. They say everything is bigger in Texas, and apparently, that includes fan disappointment.
“But I’m glad to see Biffle finally win one. He’s always solid at Texas, and the same goes for Kansas, where he’s won twice in his career. So it looks like we could see much of the same at Kansas Speedway—-a Biffle win, and monotony.”
3. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.: Earnhardt posted his fifth top-10 finish of the year, scoring a 10th in the Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. He is second in the Sprint Cup point standings, still looking for his first win in 136 races.
“I’m still searching for that elusive next win,” Earnhardt said. “Luckily, I have legions of Junior Nation fans supporting me. So, every week, the Nation hosts the world’s greatest ‘search’ party. Of course, they’re lucky if they can find their keys come race’s end.”
4. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson led a race-high 156 laps at Texas, but was outclassed by the Ford of Greg Biffle, who slipped by Johnson with 30 laps to go and never looked back. Johnson is now eighth in the point standings, 40 out of first.
“It was quite a windy day at Texas Motor Speedway,” Johnson said. “You could say there was more ‘drafting’ on Saturday in Texas that any day at Talladega or Daytona. Finishing second to Biffle? That blows, too. I felt good after hearing the pre-race weather forecast, which called for ‘just wind, baby.’
But when I needed a caution, NASCAR wouldn’t give me one. Normally in NASCAR races, it doesn’t take wind to make the yellow flag wave. Two cautions in a race that boring was simply not enough. It’s time for NASCAR to institute a companion rule to the ‘competition caution’ and call it the ‘repetition caution.’”
5. Martin Truex, Jr.: Truex came home sixth in the Samsung Mobile 500, posting his fifth top 10 of the year to continue his strong start to the season. He is now fourth in the point standings, 20 behind Greg Biffle.
“’Martin Truex, Jr.’ and ‘championship contender’ are not two words one would normally associate,” Truex said. “Much like ‘Michael Waltrip’ and ‘masculinity.’
“But the Truex fan base is growing in droves. My fan club, appropriately known as the ‘Soul Patch,’ is probably the 20th most-influential in NASCAR.”
6. Tony Stewart: Stewart finished a disappointing 24th at Texas, finishing two laps down for his worst result of the year. He tumbled four places in the point standings to seventh, and trails Greg Biffle by 39.
“One race I’m invincible,” Stewart said, “and the next, I’m anything but invincible. Some say there are two Tony’s. Those who claim I’m overweight say there’s enough there for two Tony’s.”
7. Kevin Harvick: Harvick finished ninth at Texas, piloting his No. 29 Budweiser Chevy to his fourth top-10 result of the year. He is now fifth in the Sprint Cup point standings, 24 out of first.
“It was a windy day at Texas Motor Speedway,” Harvick said. “You may have seen a $100 bill stuck to my car’s grill during the race. That’s a sure sign of one of two things: either one of NASCAR’s rinky-dink race teams ‘blew’ their entire budget, or Delana and I should name our son ‘Benjamin Franklin.’”
8. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin came home 12th in the Samsung Mobile 500, one spot behind Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch. Hamlin moved up one spot to sixth in the point standings, 31 out of first.
“We needed to make adjustments,” Hamlin said, “but the long green flag runs wouldn’t allow it. There were only two cautions the entire race, making it a ‘Texas two stop.’
“I spent my off-week caddying for Bubba Watson in the Masters par 3 contest. He was the only player to use a ‘driver’ on a par 3.”
9. Jeff Gordon: After a dismal qualifying effort of 34th, Gordon quickly zoomed towards the front and finished fourth, leading two laps and posting his first top-5 finish of the year. Gordon has led a lap in all seven races this year.
“All four Hendrick Motorsports cars placed in the top 10,” Gordon said, “even Kasey Kahne. That was by far Kasey’s best finish of the year. Mostly, he’s struggled. It seems Kasey’s taken the switch from a Camry to an Impala a little too seriously, because he’s been driving that Chevy ‘like a rock’ so far.
“And speaking of ‘Rock,’ Kasey won the Craftsman Truck series race at Rockingham on Sunday. Apparently, a Hendrick driver can win on a Sunday.”
10. Carl Edwards: Edwards joined Roush Fenway teammates Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth in the top 10, posting an eighth in the Samsung Mobile 500. Edwards is now 11th in the point standings, 58 out of first.
“My former girlfriend, Amanda Beard, just released a tell-all biography,” Edwards said, “and had few good things to say about me. Apparently, she just wasn’t into the NASCAR lifestyle. I think the final straw was when I plugged a sponsor while sweet-talking her.
“Otherwise, I have no comment. I’ve been told that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. That explains the silent treatment Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle have been giving me all these years.”