The fourth race of the Chase is over, and that means it's time for Power Rankings! But we're doing things a little differently now that we're in the postseason. It's all-Chasers, all the time. Good job, good effort for those of you that didn't make it, but we've got bigger fish to focus on. We'll be judging who's running well, considering not just finishing position but quality of run, expected potential, and general gut feelings. As always, we hate your guy and are biased against him. Now, enjoy.
1. Brad Keselowski: All right, here's the deal. There's absolutely no way to make any kind of objective judgment about how each driver is doing based on Talladega, so we're going completely the other direction. We're using the Mafia Name Generator to transform your favorite NASCAR drivers into the world's fastest mob. Hey, it makes about as much sense as determining a race winner by who survives a 31-car pileup. Brad Keselowski? He's @Kes no more. Now he's "Slug-Like Marco Santoro," which makes like no sense in any direction. Hmmm. Clearly this isn't a flawless system.
2. Jimmie Johnson: "Valentino the Stink-Eye." Don't know about the Valentino aspect, but when Johnson lasers his eye on you, you're going to start stinking. Just like the end of Sunday's race did for most Chasers.
3. Denny Hamlin: "Tony Lottaspaghetti." Hmm. No bueno for Denny. But you know what was bueno? The way he managed to dodge most of the mess on Sunday. Of course, hiding out in Birmingham while the rest of the race happens is one way to do that.
4. Jeff Gordon: "Green Jack Ricci." That sounds more like a post-Bieber singer than a made man. Gordon, for his part, continues his amazing run of top-3 finishes, and so once he takes that mulligan he'll be in fine sha- what? No mulligan? Oh. He's screwed.
5. Clint Bowyer: "Luca the Wolf." Yes. YES. Now THAT'S a badass name. Of course, Bowyer ended up like the three little pigs, not the wolf, on Sunday. He looked like he was in line for a big jump, but, well ... no.
6. Kasey Kahne: "Angelo the Bookie." Nah. Kahne's too pretty to be a bookie. Bookies look like they blocked punts with their faces. Kahne? Not so much. He won the pole but not much else at Talladega, and the debt is coming due on his season.
7. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: "Paolo Rubberface." Rub 'er face? But I don't even know her! OHHHHH! Junior was in the lead for awhile, which is mandatory at Talladega, but he got caught up in that whole bloodthirsty wreck and looked more than a little shellshocked afterward. Time's up.
8. Tony Stewart: "Decrepit Roberto Rossi." If there's one thing Stewart is NOT, it's decrepit. Whatever. Just curious, though: what do you think Smoke's reaction would have been if any, and I mean ANY, other driver had caused that wreck? He'd have pulled the guy's skeleton out of his skin.
9. Martin Truex Jr.: "Fat Alphonso Barrow." Aw, come on. Hell, Truex is the only Chase driver who legitimately looks like he could be IN the Mob. AND he's from New Jersey! Hmmm. Anyway, as we've discussed, Truex's window is pretty much slammed shut at this point.
10. Matt Kenseth: "'Heavy Load' Bruno." Yeah, victory when you just happen to be in the right place at the right time is indeed a heavy load to carry. Little bit too late, though, for Kenseth's Chase chances.
11. Kevin Harvick: "Tony Fatface." Hmmm. That seems like it might best apply elsewhere. You know who else ought to apply elsewhere? Anybody working on the 29 crew this season.
12. Greg Biffle: "Twisted Oscar DiMarco." Twisted like Biffle's championship chances, amirite? Better luck next year, Greg.
All right, this didn't quite turn out as well as we'd hoped. Hey, sometimes these columns are ridearounds, too. Anyway, your turn. Oh, and by the way, my Mafia name? "Carlo Chainsaw." YEAH.