Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.
[media-credit name=”CIA Stock Photo” align=”alignright” width=”238″][/media-credit]1. Tony Stewart: Stewart zoomed past Clint Bowyer’s sputtering No. 33 Chevrolet with two laps to go at New Hampshire, capturing his second-straight win and moving to the top of the Sprint Cup point standings. Stewart is 2 for 2 in the Chase and now leads Kevin Harvick by seven points.
“I was past Bowyer in a flash,” Stewart said. “I saw ‘Cheerios’ then said my ‘bye bye’s.’ I left Bowyer faster than Richard Childress.
“As I cryptically stated before, we turned things around by unloading some ‘dead weight.’ A Stewart-Haas press release states that no further clarification of what or who ‘dead weight’ is or was is forthcoming. The ‘weight’ is over, and as soon as I have a bad finish and need a convenient scapegoat, the ‘wait’ will be over, and I’ll name names.”
2. Brad Keselowski: Keselowski charged late to finish second in theSylvania300, earning his fifth finish of third of better in the last eight races. He leaped three spots in the point standings to third, and now trails Tony Stewart by 11.
“I’m just curious,” Keselowski said. “If I win a race in the Chase, do I get credit for it?
“Anyway, for anyone who’s doubted my ability as a viable championship contender, this should prove once and for all that I can win it all. I’m no longer just a ‘Cinderella’ story, but I’ve ‘made believers’ out of many.”
3. Jeff Gordon: Gordon led a race-high 78 laps, and looked to be on his way to the win before a problem on a gas can exchange on his final pit stop dropped him back in the field. He finished third and vaulted six spots in the point standings to fifth, 23 out of first.
“If it’s not another team sabotaging a sure win,” Gordon said, “it’s my own. When you have a car as good as the No. 24 Chevy was on Sunday, you should ‘get more out’ of it than a third place. By that same token, my re-fuelers should ‘get more in.’”
4. Carl Edwards: Edwards finished eighth at New Hampshire, posting his series-best 19th top-10 result of the year, and second of the Chase. He sits fourth in the point standings, 14 out of first.
“Tony Stewart and the No. 14 team are peaking at the right time,” Edwards said, “which happens to be six months later than I did.”
5. Kevin Harvick: Harvick finished a disappointing12th in the Sylvania 300, as a stop for fuel left him mired in traffic and unable to make a run towards the front. He dropped out of the lead in the point standings, but trails new leader Tony Stewart by only seven points.
“I really could have used a teammate’s spin,” Harvick said, “but I think it would have been too much to ask Clint Bowyer to spin while he was leading the race. Clint, understandably, isn’t willing to ‘take one for the team’ because Richard Childress is willing to ‘take one from the team.’”
6. Kyle Busch: Busch finished a lackluster 11th at Loudon, as an ill-handling car left him frustrated. After entering the Chase For The Cup on top of the standings, he’s fallen into a tie for sixth, 26 out of first.
“I’m running myself right out of championship contention,” Busch said. “I ‘took a bow’ four times during the regular season. I think I’ve got one more in my. That would be my ‘final bow,’ because it’s ‘curtains’ for my title hopes.”
7. Matt Kenseth: Kenseth finished a solid sixth at Loudon as all four Roush Fenway cars cracked the top 10. Kenseth jumped four spots in the standings and is now tied for sixth, 26 behind Tony Stewart.
“Roush Fenway has two cars in the Chase,” Kenseth said, “and two cars out of the Chase. And four cars with no chance of winning the Sprint Cup.”
8. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson was competitive early in the Sylvania300, but faded late after contact with Kyle Busch. He finished 18th and tumbled two places to tenth in the point standings. It’s the first time Johnson has ever been lower than ninth in the Chase standings.
“Most people are saying it’s time to show ‘what we’re made of,’” Johnson said. “That’s wrong. I know what we’re made of—five Cups of championship.”
9. Ryan Newman: Newman started from the pole and led the first 62 laps at Loudon, only to see a solid finish derailed by a loose right front wheel five laps from the end. He finished a lap down in 25th and dropped five places in the points to 11th.
“Me and Tony finished 1-2 here back in July,” Newman said. “I guess I didn’t hold up my end of the bargain this time. I felt like the ‘third wheel’ this time, thanks to my fourth wheel.”
10. Kurt Busch: Busch’s No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge failed pre-race inspection and was late to pit road before the start of the Sylvania300. He finished 22nd and dropped five places to ninth in the point standings.
“You heard right,” Busch said. “The ‘F’ word was uttered on live television—the ‘fail’ word. NASCAR said the car’s rear-end housing didn’t fit the templates. It was too high. I’ll tell what’s not too high—my opinion of this team.”