Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Indy
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
Brian Vickers, Jeff Burton, Aric Almirola
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Marcos Ambrose, Casey Mears
Kasey Kahne and Brad Keselowski jump four spots each. Brian Vickers jumps from unranked to 16th.
Kurt Busch falls six spots from eighth to 14th.
Paul Menard, Morgan Shepherd
No. 1. Jimmie Johnson
Did you really think starting in the back meant he'd stay there? Superman has won four of the past seven at Indianapolis, though his average finish in those three non-wins was a very Clark Kent-ish 27th.
No. 2. Kevin Harvick
Over the weekend I visited the National Historical Park in Lowell, Mass., birthplace of American manufacturing mills. All those textile assembly lines reminded me of Happy cranking out top-10 finishes.
No. 3. Matt Kenseth
Kenseth earned just his second top-10 in his past 11 visits to Loudon. He's go-or-blow at Indy, where he has five top-10s, including a pair of runner-up finishes, but his other eight finishes are 10th or worse.
No. 4. Kyle Busch
The Shrub roller coaster started 2013 with two awful finishes and then five top-5s. After losing his way in April and May, he has posted six top-6 finishes in nine races. He was the Brickyard runner-up last year.
No. 5. Clint Bowyer
Sunday morning I interviewed him for "NASCAR Now" and he said, tongue-in-cheek, "Man, we gotta catch this Jimmie Johnson guy. I've never heard of him. Where did he come from?"
No. 6. Carl Edwards
Finishing eighth might not seem like a big deal, but it is when you consider Jack Roush's cars have been so-so in New England ever since signing on with the Fenway Sports Group. Sort of like John Lackey.
No. 7. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Speaking of so-so, Little E had a quietly generic Loudon weekend. Expect the 88 to move into overdrive one month from now when we hit the Michigan-Bristol-Atlanta-Richmond-Chicago stretch.
No. 8. Kasey Kahne
Exactly how is it that a guy moves up after finishing 11th? Because the guys around him are floundering. Oh, he also has a win, and still has the most valuable skin in the Chase game. And he also has really pretty skin.
No. 9. Martin Truex Jr.
Everything I just said about Kahne, you can pretty much CTL+C right into here, replacing 11th with 16th.
No. 10. Brad Keselowski
He told me on Friday, "We need something -- anything -- to get over this hump." Might a pole and just his second top-5 since March qualify as that something and/or anything?
No. 11. Jeff Gordon
The good news? He jumped two spots up to 12th in points. The bad news? If he stays outside the top 10, then top-10 finishes won't cut it. The wild-card race is getting too star-studded not to have a win.
No. 12. Tony Stewart
I would like to take a moment and be totally selfish here. His running out of gas at the end totally screwed up my fantasy team.
No. 13. Greg Biffle
Not to be rude, but was he even at New Hampshire?
No. 14. Kurt Busch
Yes, he may have had the best car. Yes, he got wrecked. Yes, this is a big drop. But yes, this team is skating on a much thinner sheet of ice than pretty much anyone else.
No. 15. Jamie McMurray
This car could totally win the Brickyard 400.
No. 16. Brian Vickers
Show of hands: Who predicted The Sherriff's New Hampshire win? Mrs. Vickers, put your hand down.
No. 17. Aric Almirola
His first top-5 finish of the year also sets a personal best with five top-10s in one season. More important, it's his first top-10 since four in a row back in April and May.
No. 18. Jeff Burton
On Sunday morning I told Burton he was my sleeper pick for the race. He said, "I don't know. The car's just OK." Liar!
No. 19. Joey Logano
He was very unlucky when he blew a tire and hit the wall on Lap 4. He was very lucky a few minutes later when he didn't put crewman Jay Hackney into intensive care.
No. 20. Ryan Newman
On July 6 he finished 10th at Daytona. On July 10 he officially found out he was out of his ride at Stewart-Haas. On July 14 he finished 39th and wrecked. Boy, that escalated quickly ...
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