Commentary

Power Rankings: Watkins Glen

Updated: August 7, 2014, 10:19 AM ET
By Ryan McGee | ESPN The Magazine

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

Kevin Harvick jumps five spots from 10th to fifth.

Biggest Loser

Kyle Busch falls five spots from seventh to 12th.

New This Week

Marcos Ambrose, Jamie McMurray, Kurt Busch

Dropped Out

Paul Menard, Brian Vickers, AJ Allmendinger

Also Considered

Casey Mears, Justin Allgaier, Billy Wade

1. Jeff Gordon

Edges out his teammate/race winner for the No. 1 spot because he A) had arguably the best car all day, B) continues to hold down the points lead, and (C) his Watkins Glen record is much better.

2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

I wrote a pre-Brickyard Gordon piece for ESPN.com and he won. I had a piece with Earnhardt on the Pocono prerace show and he won. Hey, drivers! I'm taking your orders now!

3. Brad Keselowski

You know who is better at Watkins Glen than you think he is? Bad Brad. He's posted three top-5s in four starts and owns the best career average finish of anyone in the garage with a nifty 6.5.

4. Joey Logano

See? When he actually finishes, he does well. Same applies at The Glen, where his five finishes are 16th, 33rd, fifth, 32nd and seventh. He should have grabbed a bubble level when he was with Home Depot.

5. Kevin Harvick

Don't let his late-dash Pocono finish and 2006 Watkins Glen win lure you into fielding him on your fantasy team this weekend. I still say hang on to him for the Richmond-Chicago one-two autumn punch.

6. Ryan Newman

If you took my advice and sneaked him into your Pocono fantasy lineup, you can make those checks payable to the Ryan McGee's Daughter Buys Too Much Barbie Stuff Fund.

7. Jimmie Johnson

Do they sell Fix-A-Flat at Lowe's? I expect a dramatic turnaround for this team at some point, but don't look for it at The Glen, which is one of only four active tracks where he's never won.

8. Matt Kenseth

I saw "Guardians of the Galaxy" over the weekend. The scene where Rocket Raccoon laughs hysterically reminds me of what Kenseth does when you ask him to describe his love of road course racing.

9. Carl Edwards

On the flip side, the man who likely will be joining Kenseth as a Roush-to-Gibbs refugee is better at The Glen than you might think. He has never won there but has six top-10s in nine starts and finished fourth last year.

10. Kasey Kahne

To everyone who thought that points wouldn't matter under the new Chase system: This guy and everyone in the scrum around him will be convincing you otherwise over the next month.

11. Clint Bowyer

I'm telling you ... dude is going to win Richmond to get into the Chase and there will be a riot.

12. Kyle Busch

Our biggest free faller of the week is saved from dropping further by a nice parachute with the Watkins Glen logo on it. In nine starts, he has eight top-10s and two wins, including one a year ago.

13. Kyle Larson

I honestly have no idea what to expect from the kid at The Glen. This will be his first Cup start there, and his lone Nationwide Series visit ended in a blown engine.

14. Greg Biffle

Saw a real chance to win slip through his fingers. He finished sixth at The Glen two years ago, but I'm betting his eyes are already on Michigan, despite his team's swing-and-miss visit in June.

15. Austin Dillon

Do I think Dillon can one day become a solid road course racer? Yes. Do I think that time is right now? No.

16. Denny Hamlin

It's about time for him to get hurt in some weird way and then come back and win a race, right?

17. Marcos Ambrose

A heads-up: This guy's name might come up a few times this weekend.

18. Jamie McMurray

That spraying sound you hear is Jamie Mac's crew chief, engineering guru Keith Rodden, lubing up his slide rule to try to figure out the best Hail Mary moves to win and get into the Chase.

19. Kurt Busch

The good news? Kurt has four top-10s in his past six Glen races, and after finishing 13th at Pocono, he has his highest points ranking since winning at Martinsville. The bad news? He's still only up to 23rd.

20. Tony Stewart

In the history of stock car racing, he's the all-time Watkins Glen winner with five victories. And that's the only reason he didn't fall completely out of the rankings this week.

Ryan McGee | email

ESPN The Magazine, NASCAR

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