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, shall we?Kasey Kahne (LW: 3): Kahne quickly moved his way to the front after starting 16th and was one of the handful of drivers who tattooed (ha!) the wall off turn two thanks to the oil that was put down from Timmy Hill's car. But unlike most everyone else in that incident, Kahne got back towards the front despite the tape on the right side of his car and only finished 9th because of the drivers behind him that took tires during the final caution flag. Brad Keselowski (LW: 2): Does Keselowski now drive for Joe Gibbs Racing? We kid, but it was not a good weekend in the engine department for the champ. He blew an engine in practice and started at the back of the pack and then saw his engine go sour late in the race on Sunday. In between, he had a rocketship of a race car early in Sunday's race. Like Kahne, he hit the wall in Hill's oil. Unlike Kahne, his car wasn't as fast afterwards. Kyle Busch (LW: 6): Is that the first race that you can remember that Busch has come from (relative) nowhere to win? Maybe it's because the images of Busch leading a ton of laps are burned in our brains, but it was a bit of a late laps role reversal for Busch. Of course, he also led 125 laps, so that wasn't all that new. It was just the combination of all the laps led and the win that's so striking. Joey Logano (LW: 8): If Kyle Busch drove the best race on Sunday, Logano was a close second. He hung near the front all day and was the only driver to consistently challenge Busch, and on the low side of the track to boot. And perhaps more importantly, it was a great statement race for Logano to show that he can drive with his former teammates and he wasn't backing down from Denny Hamlin. Though it's not much of a stretch to think that Logano would have driven turns 3 and 4 on lap 200 exactly the same if it wasn't Hamlin on his hip. He was going for the freaking win! Carl Edwards (LW: NR): It's almost unfathomable to think that through five races Edwards has as many top five finishes in 2013 (3) as he in 2012. But it's true, thanks to Edwards' fourth place finish on Sunday. Edwards crept near the front, but was never a threat for the win. But you know what? He was near the front. That wasn't uttered often last year. Paul Menard (LW: 9): ALL ABOARD THE PFM TRAIN! An eighth place finish has Menard... eighth in the points. It ain't spectacular, but it sure is solid, much like Menard's RCR career. At this rate, he's going to be again in contention for the Chase. Except he won't be in the "also has a mathematical shot but we know it's not going to happen" category. Tony Stewart or Jeff Gordon or someone else?
Dropped out: AJ Allmendinger, Clint Bowyer
Lucky Dog: Let's give a shoutout to Casey Mears, who finished 15th. He's a spot ahead of Stewart in the standings. You could have gotten really good odds on that in Vegas.
The Tony Stewart DNF: Goes to Tony Stewart again! (Yeah, it wasn't much of a DNF, but that was one heck of a slide backwards) That frustration you saw from Smoke was one fueled by frustration at that freefall through the field over the last 11 laps. Had Smoke finished in the top 10, he might have had some choice words for Logano in his postrace quotes, but that would have been that.
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- Kyle Busch
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- Joey Logano