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.
New this week
Dale Earnhardt Jr. jumps five spots from 12th to seventh.
Carl Edwards falls seven spots from fifth to 12th.
Denny Hamlin, Mark Martin, Jody Ridley
No. 1. Matt Kenseth
Not that finishing seventh is exactly what you'd call a horrible day, but look for Kenseth to rebound this weekend at Kansas, where he's won the past two and finished fourth in the two before that.
No. 2. Jimmie Johnson
Say hello to your new all-time Dover winner. I don't know what it is, but if you can overtake Richard Petty and Bobby Allison in any statistic, that's stout. Might he one day also pass The King in Cups?
No. 3. Kyle Busch
How tough is this Chase? After three races, Shrub's average finish is third, yet he's still stuck in third in the point standings. Before this year, he'd never had more than two top-5s in a single Chase.
No. 4. Greg Biffle
The Biff was great on last week's "Marty & McGee" podcast, during which he admitted that he needed a couple of home runs to get back into the title hunt. He has six top-3 finishes in 14 Kansas starts.
No. 5. Kevin Harvick
A sixth-place run was a nice bounce-back after a misstep at Loudon. He slides into one of the "barely hanging on at just inside a race's worth of points" slot vacated by Carl Edwards.
No. 6. Jeff Gordon
Joining Happy at 39 points back is Four-Time, who sounds, well, happy. "Kansas will be the test. If we run well there and then hit Charlotte, Martinsville, places like that. Who knows?"
No. 7. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Literally within seconds of Junior finishing second, my Twitter timeline was filled with the same tired old "He doesn't care enough and needs to get up on the wheel." Really? Did you hear his postrace comments?
No. 8. Ryan Newman
When I run road races, I blow past these quiet, steady-paced people at the start. Then they always march right by my worn-out butt at the end. That's Newman. Trotting his way to a fifth- to eighth-place points finish.
No. 9. Clint Bowyer
Bowyer's 10th-place finish meant Chase drivers swept all top 10 spots in a Chase race for the first time in Chase history. That's a bar bet I would have lost.
No. 10. Kurt Busch
It's not officially time to start focusing on that new 2014 Stewart-Haas ride, but I wouldn't be shocked if he was thumbing through the company catalog and picking out clothes.
No. 11. Joey Logano
After Happy Hour, the 22 crew changed three springs, both bars and all the shocks. When my mechanic does that, he's just trying to overcharge me. Logano's mechanics got him a third-place finish.
No. 12. Carl Edwards
Looked like he had a nice strategy setup for the end, but was undone by a broken left rear. Now he's in the "Really need the top three guys to have a bad race and also wreck at Talladega while I don't" club.
No. 13. Jamie McMurray
Jamie Mac might wrap up the "Best Guy Not In The Chase" award before we even get to Charlotte, his favorite track that still holds Cup races. (He really, really misses Rockingham.)
No. 14. Martin Truex Jr.
The Clam Prince of New Jersey Heritage Tour ended with disappointing finishes of 10th at New Hampshire and 15th at Dover, but he's finished second, second and fourth in his past three Kansas starts.
No. 15. Brad Keselowski
There's a "Breaking Brad" joke in here somewhere.
No. 16. Kasey Kahne
You think your kids are missing summer? Since Labor Day weekend, Ol' Blue Eyes has zero top-10 finishes and an average finish of 22.4.
No. 17. Jeff Burton
The Mayor has gutted out some decent finishes over the past few weeks but it'll take a Rocky-in-the-Russian-barn effort to do the same at Kansas, where he's finished 18th or worse in seven straight.
No. 18. Brian Vickers
The Sheriff barely missed the top 10 at Dover. Still, his six top-10s in only 15 starts is more than eight drivers who have started all 29 races ...
No. 19. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
... including this guy.
No. 20. Paul Menard
Started 21st, led no laps, finished 18th, and maintained his points position of 17th. That pretty much sums up his entire season.