<
>

Power Rankings: Sonoma

6/19/2014

Each week of the Sprint Cup season, ESPN The Magazine's Ryan McGee ranks the top 20 drivers in the series. Don't agree with McGee's list? Let him -- and the rest of the world -- know in the conversation section at the bottom of the page. But remember, make your mama proud.

Biggest Mover

Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne jump three spots each.

Biggest Loser

Brian Vickers falls from 14th to 19th.

New This Week

Paul Menard, AJ Allmendinger

Dropped Out

Austin Dillon, Martin Truex Jr.

Also Considered

Kurt Busch, Ray Fox

1. Jimmie Johnson

If they didn't have that pit road mess at Pocono, we might be talking about him tying the modern era record of four consecutive victories ... for the second time.

2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

In the middle of the postrace media scrum, he was complaining about the car becoming too loose on the final run, and then he caught himself. "It's nice to be this disappointed with finishing seventh."

3. Jeff Gordon

Hendrick Motorsports has won five in a row. This man very easily could run that to six in a row this weekend at Sonoma. The five-time winner hasn't finished outside the top 10 there since 2006.

4. Brad Keselowski

It was June 2013 when the wheels started wobbling off the Keselowski wagon. This June, he's posted finishes of second, second, and third.

5. Kevin Harvick

In the time it takes you to read this sentence, Kevin Harvick has already started and concluded an entire postrace news conference.

6. Joey Logano

Forget your local theme park. The hottest summer roller coaster is the Sliced Bread Scream Machine. His past 10 finishes: first, 35th, first, 32nd, fourth, 12th, eighth, 40th and ninth. Wheeeeee!

7. Matt Kenseth

In 14 Sonoma starts, Kenseth owns one lone top-10 finish. No wonder when you ask him about road-course racing, he makes the face of a man just offered a bite of a turnip sandwich.

8. Kyle Larson

Note to self: When racing at Michigan, install the rear bumper ejection mechanism.

9. Denny Hamlin

I can't put my finger on Hamlin's season. He has the win, but only four other top-10s in 14 starts. Then again, he'd probably prefer I don't put my fingers anywhere near his season.

10. Kyle Busch

Much as I feel about his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates, Kenseth and Hamlin, I'm not sure what's going on here. But I am sure that one of the three probably will win at Kentucky two weeks from now.

11. Clint Bowyer

Clint Bowyer's career Sonoma stats -- one win, six top-10s in eight starts, and the second-best career average in the garage (9.1) -- might be shocking to you and me, but not as shocking as they are to him.

12. Ryan Newman

Get me to New Hampshire ... get me to New Hampshire ...

13. Tony Stewart

The good news? He's one of only two drivers (the other being Gordon) in this weekend's field with multiple Sonoma wins. The better news? He's OK after dang-near knocking the wall down during an Indy tire test.

14. Carl Edwards

Is there a chance that Cuz and his team stopped at Frosty Joey's ice cream stand on the way to Michigan, and those were actually stand-ins that looked so totally lost at the track they once owned?

15. Greg Biffle

And is there a chance that Biffle's team was with them, too?

16. Kasey Kahne

Talking to Hendrick brass, there's a lot of confidence that Kahne will win soon. I don't expect that to happen at Sonoma. But then again, I didn't expect it when he won there in '09 with a bankrupt team.

17. Jamie McMurray

I'm not saying not to put Jamie Mac on your fantasy roster this weekend. But I am saying that if you do, right after you hit "enter," pick up your laptop and drop it on your bare toes.

18. Paul Menard

I drove by a Menard's store last weekend and was tempted to walk in the door, sneak onto the loudspeaker and yell, "Ollie's Bargain Outlet 250 champion, y'all!" and drop the mike.

19. Brian Vickers

I asked BV if he had any races circled as "I'll win there and get us into the Chase." Initially he tried to say no, but then admitted yes. He won't have Sonoma circled, but plenty of guys will.

20. AJ Allmendinger

And yes, this man will be one of them, along with Marcos Ambrose. Now the trick will be to not let desperation drive them off the course and into the dirt.