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.
No. 1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (LW: 2): Junior Nation was certainly hoping that something would happen to Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson as Junior was the driver poised to capitalize. However, there was no incident and Junior had to settle for a measly third. Which is worth a lot of points, but since the points don't matter, it was an ultimately worthless third place, right? NO. It moved him to the top of Power Rankings.
No. 2 Carl Edwards (LW: 1): Edwards losing the points lead and the Power Rankings lead in the same week. Rough. But Martinsville hasn't been Edwards' best track, so 13th is about right in line with his career averages there. He's got just one top five and five top tens in 20 career starts. Hey Carl, can you give Brian Silas some advice on exiting the vehicle and dismounting properly?
No. 3 Jimmie Johnson (LW: 4): That pesky Jimmie Johnson just doesn't go away. First off, our condolences to Johnson and wife Chandra and their family on the passing of her brother. It's a very rough situation in just an apparent perfect storm of circumstances. Hopefully it's the last tragedy Johnson has to endure while racing at Martinsville. But back to racing for a moment. Johnson's so good at Martinsville that it's almost surprising when he doesn't win.
No. 4 Jeff Gordon (LW: 3): Gordon was good Sunday, but not great, which is really a summation of the last few seasons, right? And before you think it's a diss, keep in mind that Gordon will probably win a race this year (and could already have one) and if he doesn't, he'll be high enough in points to make the Chase. Then, who knows.
No. 5 Matt Kenseth (LW: 7): What has gotten into Kenseth at Martinsville? Has he stolen Denny Hamlin's secrets? He had a very good car once again and was in the top 10 for most of the day before finishing sixth. We all know Kenseth and Johnson will likely win a race this year, so who is going to win one first? It could be Kenseth, and it could happen Sunday.
No. 6 Kurt Busch (LW: NR): Oh Kurt, just when you are on the precipice of convincing people that you've really changed, that the journey you've been on has brought you to a different spot ... you go and do this. Saying "you clowns" was completely and totally unnecessary, but you felt compelled to do it. Why? Maybe because you were being legitimately asked about something you did during the race. If you don't want to be asked questions about things you do, don't do those things. Pretty simple, isn't it?
No. 7 Kyle Busch (LW: 6): Much like Denny Hamlin two weeks ago and Matt Kenseth before him at Auto Club, we figured Kyle Busch would lead some more laps after winning the pole, right? Instead, he led just 22 laps and finished 14th. Not terrible, but again, not what we would have thought to see. One of these days he'll figure out Martinsville. Maybe it'll be in the fall.
No. 8 Brad Keselowski (LW: 5): Maybe I should have manipulated the standings to have Keselowski and Kurt Busch next to each other. Both drivers have vowed retribution at some point, though Keselowski was quick to point out it won't happen at Texas (from his end, anyway.) And besides, if two drivers pledge retribution against each other do we end up in an endless vortex of revenge? That could be fun and also tiring. But admit it, you want to find out.
No. 9 Joey Logano (LW: 12): Not surprisingly, Logano boasts the best average start of anyone in the Cup Series with an average of 8.7. But that number is a skewed small sample size. He started 35th at Daytona, a number that's more than twice the cumulative of Logano's five other starting spots. Yeah, he's been pretty good. And he's been good when he hasn't had bad luck, either. If he didn't have trouble at Fontana, Logano would be right at the top of the standings.
No. 10 Kevin Harvick (LW: 9): Hey, Harvick didn't win and nothing went catastrophically wrong. It's a first in 2014! No, that's not an overstatement either. It really is the first race other than his Phoenix win that Harvick didn't have an issue in. And since he finished in the top 10, it was free Bloomin' Onions for everyone on Monday. On that note, what could be given away for Kurt Busch's top 10s? Footballs for monkeys?
No. 11 Tony Stewart (LW: 8): Smoke qualified well and had a good car for the first portion of the race, but once he stayed out on old tires for track position and fell backwards, he never really made it back to the front of the field. But the baseline Stewart has is clearly higher than it was in 2013, and that's very good news for the No. 14 bunch. It should be a much tastier chicken salad this year.
No. 12 Austin Dillon (LW: NR): Let's replace one rookie with another in Power Rankings this week. Did you know that Dillon is in the top 10 in the points standings? It obviously means that if the Chase started today, he'd be in. We've already got our "First Chase for the No. 3" post written. (That's our porous attempt at an April Fool's joke.)
Lucky Dog: How about both Richard Petty Motorsports drivers? Petty was scheduled to be the grand marshal of the STP 500, but chose to stay home after the passing of his wife Lynda. He missed Marcos Ambrose finishing fifth and Aric Almirola finishing eighth.
The DNF: Man, poor Jamie McMurray. After having a good run ruined by a wreck at Bristol, the same thing happened at Martinsville when he went spinning after contact with Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dropped Out: McMurray, Kyle Larson
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