- Ryan McGee, ESPN The Magazine, NASCAR
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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.
Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin all jump three spots.
Aric Almirola drops five spots from 14th to 19th.
New This Week
Martin Truex Jr.
Jamie McMurray, Jeff Burton, Ray Harroun
1. Brad Keselowski
This year we're writing all the stuff we expected to be writing about him last summer.
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
I know I've said this before, but it's worth repeating: The sign that a team is ready to be a title contender is that it's now bummed about finishes that it would have been throwing parties over four years ago.
3. Jeff Gordon
I get asked all the time what's the difference between Gordon 2014 and Gordon 1998. Honestly, he's happier now. I can't imagine how happy he'd be if he can finally win his fifth championship.
4. Matt Kenseth
A guy who is seeking his first win of 2014 and is also seeking his first win at Indianapolis? Seems kind of destiny-ish, doesn't it?
5. Jimmie Johnson
After seven straight top-10s, he posted back-to-back 42nd-place finishes. But here's some free fantasy racing advice for you: He's really good at the Brickyard. You're welcome.
6. Joey Logano
Fun fact: The active Cup driver with the best career average Indy finish not named Tony Stewart or Jeff Gordon? Morgan Shepherd, with a finish of 10.0 in four starts. Sorry, couldn't resist.
7. Carl Edwards
Ford teams keep winning, but over the next six weeks we'll find out if Roush Fenway Racing is really up to speed. You can't hide issues at places like Indy, Pocono, Michigan and Atlanta.
8. Ryan Newman
Within the wad of guys desperate for a win to make the Chase, there's a handful who have won the Brickyard before. This guy is the most recent.
9. Kyle Busch
In nine career Indy starts, he's finished outside the top 10 only twice.
10. Denny Hamlin
This summer Hambone has posted a pair of top-10s, followed by three finishes of 26th or worse, followed by a pair of top-10s.
11. Kevin Harvick
Call it hard luck, but my confidence continues to wane with this team. He won the Brickyard in 2003 and finished second in 2010 but hasn't cracked the top 10 since.
12. Clint Bowyer
The only thing worse than not having a win when the Chase starts will be not having a win the week before the Chase starts at Richmond. Y'all remember last year, right?
13. Paul Menard
He's also in the wad of guys desperate for a win to make the Chase who have won the Brickyard before.
14. Austin Dillon
He's not in the wad of guys desperate for a win to make the Chase who have also won the Brickyard before, but both of his teammates are. That's gotta be worth something, right?
15. Kasey Kahne
In 10 Brickyard starts he's either been a legit contender, with five finishes of seventh or better, or a nonfactor, with five finishes of 12th or worse. That's a pretty accurate snapshot of his career.
16. Greg Biffle
With 19 career victories, The Biff has always been a winner, but I've always believed The Biff still needs a signature win. I'd say an Indy victory would do that, wouldn't you?
17. Kyle Larson
You ever see one of those scenes when James Bond's plane disappears into a canyon then miraculously pulls up at the last second and starts climbing again? That's what Larson just did.
18. Tony Stewart
And here would be the leader of that wad of guys desperate for a win to make the Chase who have won the Brickyard before. Amazingly, he's the lowest ranked of the bunch.
19. Aric Almirola
Oh, stock car racing ... it giveth one week, and the next week it taketh away.
20. Martin Truex Jr.
To quote Cole Trickle at Daytona: "Remember me?"