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From The Marbles

Power Rankings: Jeff Gordon stays at the top, but Joey Logano is right on his heels

NASCAR: Toyota Owners 400
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Apr 26, 2014; Richmond, VA, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Jeff Gordon (24) and NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Joey Logano (22) during the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway. (Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports)

Our Power Rankings are far from a scientific formula. In fact, it's the perfect blend of analytics and bias against your favorite driver. And you think we dislike your favorite driver, so it makes sense, right? Direct all your complaints to us at happyhourmailbag@yahoo.com.

No. 1 Jeff Gordon (LW: 1): A winless driver atop Power Rankings still? Sacre bleu! Gordon still has the points lead and probably had the best car throughout the entire race on Saturday night. Any of the four drivers in the battle for the lead with five laps to go had a chance to win the race and it simply came down to where drivers were when the contact started to happen. Gordon was trapped behind Brad Keselowski and Matt Kenseth, and by the time he got by both of them, Joey Logano was long gone.

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No. 2 Joey Logano (LW: 6): As colleague Geoffrey Miller wrote Monday, this is the Joey Logano we've been told about. Not only does Logano have a second win this season, but he did it at a short track. It may seem insignificant, but all of Logano's previous wins had come on big tracks, save for the fuel-mileage gamble at New Hampshire. Plus, he's been horrible, historically, at Richmond. Logano is a Cup contender and will be for many years. Don't be surprised if Logano gets his first title before Brad Keselowski gets his second.

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No. 3 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (LW: 2): Junior started saying his brake pedal was going soft not much past the halfway portion of the race Saturday night. Those must have been some really good brakes, because they held out long enough for Junior to stay near the leaders the entire night. He also had a really good handling car too, and that helps with the longevity of an iffy brake pedal. Junior may be our next multiple-winner this season.

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No. 4. Matt Kenseth (LW: 4): Matt Kenseth's car was flat charging forward in the final stages of the race. After being consistently in the back-half of the top 10 all evening, Kenseth found something at the end of the race and moved towards the lead. And he was doing one heck of a job of maintaining it before the game of bumper cars ensued, knocking him out of the lead. Can we all agree that Kenseth was doing what he had to do to keep the lead and that Keselowski was well within his rights to move him out of the way like he did?

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No. 5 Kyle Busch (LW: 7): Had the race been 10-15 laps longer, this man would have been your winner. Crew chief Dave Rogers made the decision for Busch to come down pit road and take tires late in the race and it paid off, as Busch made up a ton of ground off the final two restarts. He was chasing down the leaders as the four-car gaggle for the lead was happening, and had it continued for a couple more laps, it would have been a five-car fight.

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No. 6 Kevin Harvick (LW: 5): Harvick was good for most of the evening, but his car fell off dramatically on one set of tires, which cost him a chance for the win. He ended up 11th, which is a good finish for Harvick's spot in the points standings. However, it really isn't indicative of his night as a whole. He was better than that for the majority of the race.

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No. 7 Brad Keselowski (LW: 10): When listening to Brad Keselowski's comments after the race about Matt Kenseth's driving style over the final laps, it was hard not to harken back to Texas 2012, when Keselowski and Johnson went up the track. Johnson ultimately won that race and Keselowski was second, though he won the championship. We're not using Keselowski's words against him, just that it feels like comments about driving styles can be purely circumstantial. It's human nature, right?

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No. 8 Jimmie Johnson (LW: 3): Johnson takes a five-spot tumble after a tire issue derailed his day. However, the drop in the rankings is more so because all of the drivers ahead of him finished in the top 11 and four of them had a chance for the win. Richmond has been the No. 48's nemesis lately, which seems to poke a hole in the "momentum heading into the Chase" theory. He's finished out of the top 10 in five of the last six races there, including three finishes worse than 30th.

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No. 9 Carl Edwards (LW: 8): The last driver to win a race at Richmond before Joey Logano (Remember? Edwards won in September) was much like Kevin Harvick. Consistently near the front of the field. But while Harvick led laps, Edwards didn't. Edwards ended up ninth. He's in third in the points standings, but he's 28 points behind Gordon.

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No. 10 Kyle Larson (LW: 9): Before we talk about Larson's race performance, how in the world did Fox miss his turn one, lap one spin? The broadcast went to a full-field shot as the field entered turn one, so all viewers saw live was the smoke from the spin past the camera and then Larson's car at the end. Yes, he ended up behind the proverbial eight-ball having to restart the race in the back of the field, but he ended up 16th. However, he got inside the top 20 near the halfway point of the race. He just got stalled there.

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No. 11 Ryan Newman (LW: 12): Here's another driver who spent most of his evening near the front of the field. Newman was eighth and he's ninth in the standings. A quarter of the way through the season, the answer on the Harvick and Newman driver swap is success for both parties, right? Newman was never going to replicate what Harvick did at RCR, but he's maintaining his success with SHR.

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No. 12 A.J. Allmendinger (LW: NR): Did you know that Allmendinger finished sixth? Unless you checked the box score after the race or are an Allmendinger fan, you probably didn't. The move to an RCR-alliance is paying off for JTG-Daugherty so far. They're not reaping the benefits like Furniture Row did a year ago with Kurt Busch, but Allmendinger is 17th in the standings and hasn't finished lower than 26th.

Lucky Dog: We're going to give it to Casey Mears for not having a black eye after the punch from Marcos Ambrose.

The DNF: We talked about Clint Bowyer's day on Saturday night, so let's go with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Staying out a lap after hitting the wall turned out to be a very bad decision.

Dropped Out: Tony Stewart

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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