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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Joey Logano (LW: 4): A rash decision? Nah, this isn't even close to the Power Rankings version of adding a 13th car to the 2013 Chase. Logano has been the most consistent driver of the last five weeks so this isn't simply a one race bump. And as we said on Saturday night after the race, if you don't think Logano is one of the top six favorites for the title right now, you're not paying attention.
2. Jeff Gordon (LW: 1): Gordon had a fast car at the beginning but after he pitted and most of the field stayed out, he was back in traffic from then on and never was a factor again. He then went a lap down two separate times, near the finish. Did Gordon's car suddenly get a lot slower? No. He just lost track position. Not every strategy call works out in your favor.
3. Brad Keselowski (LW: 5): After winning his first Truck Series race on Thursday morning, the car he primarily drives in the Nationwide race finished first thanks to Ryan Blaney on Friday and Keselowski was the runner up to Logano on Sunday. That's not too terrible, is it? Team Penske's IndyCar operation didn't come through in Sonoma, however. Had Penske won there on Sunday, it would have been the first NASCAR/IndyCar weekend sweep for Penske.
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (LW: 2): The left side of Junior's car was flat sheared off when he got hit by Denny Hamlin during Saturday night's race. If you were wondering why Junior's team worked so hard to get the car back on track for a few laps, crew chief Steve Letarte said after the race that it was practice for the Chase. A pretty good move. YOu never know when you'll need to salvage a point or two in the Chase.
5. Kevin Harvick (LW: 3): Harvick finished ahead of Gordon and Junior Saturday night but he drops two spots because his wound was self-inflicted. He sped on pit road, meaning he had to restart at the back of the field after a caution. Harvick worked his way up to 11th, but it's another entry in the big book of "things that have derailed strong runs for Kevin Harvick in 2014" journal. Actually, it's probably an encyclopedia at this point.
6. Matt Kenseth (LW: 8): Kenseth and his wife Katie released an anti-bullying children's book on Tuesday, two days after he finished third. Good for both of them for taking a stand against something that unfortunately happens amongst adults too. And hopefully they won't have to deal with any of the ridiculousness our next Power Rankings entrant did after he was part of the Girl Scouts' campaign to ban bossiness.
7. Jimmie Johnson (LW: 4): Kenseth moved ahead of Johnson because he got to stand on the podium and Johnson didn't. Wait, NASCAR doesn't have a podium? Nevermind. It is interesting to see how motorsports with podiums treat and refer to second and third place finishes while in NASCAR second and third elicits thoughts of mandatory media center trips. Because winning is everything, of course.
8. Kurt Busch (LW: NR): Through the first 12 races of the year, Busch finished below 30th six times. In the next 12 races, Busch has finished below 30th just once. Progress! However, it's still too soon to consider Busch a legitimate championship threat. He finished fifth Saturday night and was third two weeks ago at Watkins Glen. But in between was that one finish below 30th. He's at the point where it's not surprising if he's in the third round of the Chase or if he's out after the first.
9. Carl Edwards (LW: 12): Will we remember Bristol as the best two-race track this season for Edwards? After winning in March he finished seventh on Saturday night. It's forgotten in the madness of what transpired last year, but Edwards won last year at Richmond too. However, the real Chase litmus test for the No. 99 isn't in two weeks. It's Sunday night at Atlanta.
10. Greg Biffle (LW: 10): Biffle gets to hold serve here, much like he's doing in the final spot of the Chase. If Biffle's favorite driver is himself -- and who would have a favorite driver that wasn't her or himself? -- he's got 12 drivers tied for second right now. As long as one of those 12 visits victory lane and Biffle can get top 15s, he's in pretty good shape.
11. Clint Bowyer (LW: 7): Sorry for jinxing you, Rawhide. We thought you had a chance at a good run, but once Kyle Busch went spinning off your bumper, all hope for a good finish was gone. On the bright side, Toyotas have won the last two races at Atlanta. But on the bad side, neither of them have been from Michael Waltrip Racing.
12. Jamie McMurray (LW: NR): It was a choice between Ryan Newman, who finished 13th, and A.J. Allmendinger, who finished 14th. So we went neither and picked a guy who led laps and was really good at Bristol again. Without something crazy in the next two races, McMurray is going to be the guy who won the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 in the same year and didn't make the Chase and the one guy who won a (non-points) race to not make the race-winner Chase. Tough.
Lucky Dog: Paul Menard is just setting us all up again to be mathematically alive to get into the Chase via points at Richmond, isn't he?
The DNF: Kyle Busch? Denny Hamlin? Do you want to just pick one?
Dropped Out: Allmendinger, Newman
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- Motor Racing
- Sports & Recreation
- Joey Logano
- Kevin Harvick
- Jeff Gordon