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Power Rankings: Darlington

Each week of the Sprint Cup season, ESPN The Magazine's Ryan McGee ranks the top 20 drivers in the series. Last week's rankings are in parentheses, as are the top-10s.

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.

New this week

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., David Ragan

Dropped out

Mark Martin, Jeff Burton

Biggest mover

Martin Truex Jr. jumps four spots from 14th to 10th.

Biggest losers

Kevin Harvick and Greg Biffle fall three spots each.

Also considered

Marcos Ambrose, Michael Waltrip, Regan Smith, Jim Cantore

No. 1. Jimmie Johnson

Cars are upside down. The infield is flooded. Second-tier teams are winning. Cats and dogs are living together. Five-Time is hammering out top-10 finishes like a GM assembly line.

No. 2. Matt Kenseth

Put the 50-point penalty and pending appeal in perspective, people. He has been the best car at the track for the past month. OK, now go back and read that first sentence aloud as fast as you can.

No. 3. Carl Edwards

Don't look now, but Cuz is back to being a title contender. It's always nice to go to Talladega with a crew chief who can pull out notes taken from working with Bobby Allison.

No. 4. Brad Keselowski

I saw "Iron Man 3" Friday night. The middle hour, when Tony Stark got his butt kicked at every turn, reminded me of Keselowski's past few weeks. Like Stark, we'll have to see how the Champ reacts.

No. 5. Clint Bowyer

He didn't score his fifth top-5 in seven weeks or earn his third Talladega win. But he finished unwrecked and moved up to fourth in points, so ... yay! He's generic at Darlington, with one top-10 in seven tries.

No. 6. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

On paper, finishing 17th isn't a great day. But on paper, you can't see left-rear damage from the start of the race, an unscheduled pit stop, and barely snaking through every wreck on the track.

No. 7. Kyle Busch

For all the flak we've given him over the years for his radio rants, let's give him credit for this transmission after the Lap 44 "big one" -- "I'm all right," he told his team. "And I caused it."

No. 8. Kasey Kahne

This guy will not disagree with Busch's assessment.

No. 9. Aric Almirola

Almirola is the Martin Truex Jr. 2012 of '13. We keep waiting on him to fade away as spring rolls along, but instead he keeps getting stronger. Finished 19th one year ago in his lone Darlington start.

No. 10. Martin Truex Jr.

Meanwhile, Truex is the Kasey Kahne 2012 of '13. A horrible early start made a Chase berth look impossible. Now he's only seven points out of the top 12. He finished fifth at Darlington last May.

No. 11. Jeff Gordon

So many times Gordon has had a great car that finished poorly. On Sunday he took a car with a Driver Rating of 61.2 (that's bad) and finished only three spots behind Kenseth, who scored a 132.7 (that's good).

No. 12. Kevin Harvick

How quickly glory can vanish in this sport. One week after winning, Happy finished 40th and fell three points positions, barely hanging on to the bottom rung of the Chase field.

No. 13. Greg Biffle

You ever see a fight where one guy goes to punch another guy but misses and ends up knocking out some poor dude who happened to be standing nearby? On Sunday, Biffle was the guy who got punched.

No. 14. Paul Menard

Only at Talladega can a guy finish 27th, four laps down, and move up two spots to eighth in the points standings.

No. 15. Jamie McMurray

Only at Talladega can a guy finish 23rd, one lap down, and I move him up three spots in the Power Rankings. But be honest. Shouldn't he be ranked ahead of the guys below?

No. 16. Ryan Newman

When Newman retires, Talladega Superspeedway should erect a statue of him on that spot outside the infield care center where he has given all those epic WTH post-wreck interviews.

No. 17. Joey Logano

Logano's 2013 yo-yo of a season continues. His career Darlington numbers suggest that isn't going to change. His four career finishes: ninth, 37th, 25th, 10th.

No. 18. Kurt Busch

"Hey, Ryan Newman, it feels like something's wrong underneath my car. Let me land on your windshield so you can take a look at it for me."

No. 19. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Quietly, beneath that giant hat and behind all the chatter about his love life, it feels as though this rookie is right on schedule for a second-half performance surge. But yeah, he caused that last "big one."

No. 20. David Ragan

I can hear the Montoya fans now. "Really? You didn't put Juan in this spot after Richmond!" True. But Montoya didn't win. And his team doesn't spend weekdays looking under the couch cushions for tire money.