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?Jimmie Johnson (LW: 1): Ho hum, another top five finish for JJ. Did anyone else have a sneaking suspicion that Johnson was going to get past Matt Kenseth before that final caution flag flew? Instead, Johnson was fifth, and saw his points lead trimmed by an astonishing two points. What a slacker. Tony Stewart's move during last fall's Talladega race had us thinking: what if Edwards had made another move when Ragan dashed to his inside on the backstretch? Who would have won the race? Anyone? David Ragan and David Gilliland (LW: NR): This is an appropriate spot, isn't it? Almost everyone else in this neighborhood of Power Rankings got bit by Talladega. The charge by Ragan and Gilliland was also an appropriately dramatic end to the 7.5 hour marathon that Sunday afternoon turned into. No offense to any of the drivers in the top three of our rankings, but if they, or a host of others win the race, it's remembered primarily for the delay. Now, it's remembered as Front Row's day. Colleague Geoffrey Miller nailed it about Keselowski's comments regarding the restart order. After looking at several replays of that final caution, it was Scott Speed who changed lanes and not David Ragan. Ragan was slated to start on the high side of the track anyway. The defending champ is now fifth in the standings. Kyle Busch. And Kevin Harvick. And Tony Stewart. And so on. Will Kahne do everything in his power to avoid being anywhere near Busch on track when the series returns to Daytona in July?
Lucky Dog: No, this isn't sponsor symmetry, but finishing fourth in your first race since February is worthy of mentioning, Michael Waltrip.
Dropped Out: Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano.
The DNF: Sheesh, with the two big crashes, it's hard to pick anyone. Eight drivers officially retired from the race because of crash damage, and another two (Trevor Bayne, Joey Logano) suffered engine trouble.
- Motor Racing
- Sports & Recreation
- Matt Kenseth
- David Ragan