Power Rankings: All-Star Race
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
Denny Hamlin, Juan Pablo Montoya
Joey Logano, David Ragan
Kyle Busch jumps three spots from seventh to fourth.
Brad Keselowski falls four spots from fourth to eighth.
Tony Stewart, Johnny Mantz
No. 1. Matt Kenseth
The Silent Assassin went old school, doing like drivers used to do in the 1950s and '60s and picking up two wins in five days. One win came on the racetrack, the other in an appeals hearing.
No. 2. Jimmie Johnson
Ho-hum. Another top-10 finish, another week sitting atop a massive 40-something-points lead in the standings.
No. 3. Carl Edwards
Every week around the midway point of the race I expect the 99 to fade away, like it did so many times last year. But every week, as the race enters its final stanza, there's Cuz in the top five.
No. 4. Kyle Busch
If anyone's ever dumb enough to about question Shrub's wheelman abilities, remind them of the night he stayed off the wall and still finished sixth in a car that had a flat right rear tire for nearly 20 laps.
No. 5. Clint Bowyer
Finishing 11th might not seem like it should be a big deal for a racer of Bowyer's ilk, but that's only if you've never taken a look at his previous Darlington numbers.
No. 6. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
A gritty ninth-place finish should calm Junior Nation's nerves. Maybe. In a related note, an oddly mounted Diet Mountain Dew cardboard standup of him scared the snot out of me in a Florence, S.C., gas station.
No. 7. Kasey Kahne
First, that was some seriously awesome racing between Kahne and Kyle Busch. Second, I have watched the replay of their wreck 100 times. The "Star Wars" nerd in me says that Busch used a force push.
No. 8. Brad Keselowski
Look on the bright side, BK fans. It's better to struggle now than struggle in September. Then again, if he struggles too much now, September might not matter.
No. 9. Jeff Gordon
Gordon was a great sport about all the 700th career start talk even as most of it was a thinly veiled way of saying, "What's it like to be a grizzled old veteran?" Then he grabbed his 300th career top-5.
No. 10. Kevin Harvick
If there had been one of those wild late cautions and restarts that have become so common, then Happy might have pulled off another comeback win.
No. 11. Aric Almirola
Don't feel too bad, Aric. The Southern 500 was always one of The King's few real Achilles' heels.
No. 12. Martin Truex Jr.
Truex was visibly bummed about finishing 12th, especially after starting fifth at a place where he finished fifth last year. Just get me to Dover ... just get me to Dover ...
No. 13. Greg Biffle
Biffle is also a guy who has to feel like he let a good opportunity slip through his gloves. He's usually pretty good at Charlotte, too, ranked fifth in career driver rating at everyone's hometown track.
No. 14. Jamie McMurray
You get the feeling that Jamie Mac is going to be in that group that will be fighting for a wild-card spot via wins. Oh, by the way, two of his six career wins have come at Charlotte.
No. 15. Ryan Newman
The bad news? He finished 10th at a track where he expects top-5s. The good news? He still finished 10th ... and unlike last week, he never had another car land on his windshield.
No. 16. Paul Menard
After a 19th-place finish, he finally fell out of the top 10 in points. With all the big names around him, it's going to be mighty hard to climb back up in there.
No. 17. Kurt Busch
It's amazing Busch continues to keep this team in contention for wins on a weekly basis. But to make the Chase, he'll need to actually get one of those wins. And then do it again. Maybe three times.
No. 18. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Continues to hang out at 16th in the standings while the group behind him slides backward. If his learning curve stays on its current trajectory, he could create some Chase chaos come late summer.
No. 19. Denny Hamlin
Speaking of potential Chase chaos, Hambone is now officially back, and after his remarkable runner-up finish sits 61 points -- roughly a race and a quarter -- out of 20th in the standings. Stay tuned ...
No. 20. Juan Pablo Montoya
OK, you JPM fans can get off my back now.
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