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From The Marbles

Power Rankings: It’s a Joe Gibbs Racing switcheroo at the top

Nick Bromberg
From The Marbles

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It's time for Power Rankings! After every race, we'll opine about who we think is at the top of the Sprint Cup heap and how and why they got there. Remember, this isn't scientific, as our formula is the perfect blend of analytics and bias against your favorite driver. So let's get on with it now, shall we?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Because modifying the number of entries into Power Rankings could be damaging to credibility and integrity of the rankings, Yahoo Sports and From the Marbles have elected not to add a bonus 13th spot to Power Rankings. Doing so would set an unstable precedent that could potentially allow for the creation of "the Danica rule" in which we are obligated to put Danica Patrick in Power Rankings every week.

1. Matt Kenseth (LW: 3): The man who entered the Chase atop the standings only extended that lead Sunday night (Monday morning?). What was most impressive about Kenseth's run was that the team was both good during the day and at night. Given the massive change in conditions, it reasoned that some teams who were good before the rain delay would be slower after it. Definitely not in Kenseth's case.

2. Kyle Busch (LW: 1): Busch was perhaps the greatest example of clean air during the Geico 400. When he had the lead he couldn't be touched, and then when he lost the lead, he couldn't touch his teammate. Still, the fact that he was just one spot away from a weekend three-peat should not be lost. That's impressive, even if Busch in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series races is unfair to everyone else.

3. Jimmie Johnson (LW: 2): OH MY GOODNESS IT WAS A NASCAR CONSPIRACY TO PREVENT JOHNSON FROM WINNING THE CHASE WHEN THE OFFICIAL ON PIT ROAD TOLD THEM TO CHECK THE LUGNUTS FOR NO REASON. WHY DOES THIS ALWAYS HAPPEN TO HIM? CAN'T NASCAR EVER BE NICE TO HIM? Signed, no one.

4. Kevin Harvick (LW: 7): That was quite the typical Harvick race, wasn't it? Team adjusts on the car throughout the first part of the race, dials it in in the middle third, and voila, where the heck did Harvick come from in the waning laps? I'm sure this has been written in this space many times already this season, but can you describe Harvick's third place finish any other way?

5. Kasey Kahne (LW: 4): 10 Chasers finished in the top 12 and Kahne was the 10th of those 10. But he's here because that car got pretty beat up on pit road and at one point he was 31st. Survey time: was anyone disappointed that Kenseth wasn't beating Kahne to the line Sunday? That might have broken poor Kasey's soul.

6. Kurt Busch (LW: 9): Juan Pablo Montoya's debris minefield caution was a fortuitous break for Busch who had taken the Lucky Dog when the race resumed after a speeding penalty on pit road during the day portion. Again, the speed is there, it's just that the Kurt Busch Wheel of Destruction keeps feeling the need to be spun. Thankfully for Busch, the wheel of good fortune also gave it a whirl.

7. Clint Bowyer (LW: 8): Should we do what NASCAR could have done and dock Bowyer Power Rankings points in the Chase? No, we're not that mean, but that had to have been the most uncomfortable media week for a driver since when? Should have called Jeremy Mayfield and asked him to come take some pressure off by crashing NASCAR's press conference or something.

8. Carl Edwards (LW: 5): Edwards says he and his team are going to win the Chase and we completely (100 percent, NASCAR) support his efforts to be confident in his team. However, nights like Sunday are why we can't buy in to what Edwards is selling just yet. The 99 car wasn't bad again, but it wasn't great. And it's going to need to be great.

9. Ryan Newman (LW: 10): If you went to Outback on Monday, you got a free Bloomin' Onion because Newman finished in the top 10. Is that a deal you have to ask for when you go, or do a bunch of non-NASCAR fans luck into free appetizers on these Mondays? Inquiring minds that haven't been to an Outback in 10 years want to know.

10. Jeff Gordon (LW: NR): Jeff, you'd be legitimately in our top 12 this week if you weren't in the Chase. That was a nicely timed caution for Gordon to stay on the lead lap, and that car might have been ultimately faster than the 6th place finish showed.

11. Brad Keselowski (LW: NR): This spot ultimately came down to Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr. or Greg Biffle. All three were plagued by engine issues. That'd be no fun, wouldn't it? That's why we'll go with the defending champion. He's not boring. And we also want to

12. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (LW: NR): Boyfriend! After finishing 8th at Richmond, Stenhouse finished 8th at Chicagoland for the first two top 10s of his career. And yes, this now means that Stenhouse has more top 10s than Patrick. Hope she paid for that Sonic he got during the rain delay.

Lucky Dog: We have to do one of these this week? Let's go Aric Almirola by Morning, because of bacon.

The DNF: Junior and Logano. That was easy.

Dropped out: Joey Logano, Greg Biffle and Dale Earnhardt Jr.


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