Magic Mile Power Rankings: Bristol
Next Up: Bojangles' Southern 500
For the 10th time this season, Kevin Harvick has been relegated to second place. Not a bad stat for the defending Sprint Cup Series champion, but what might get under his skin a bit is that for the second time this year, the car in front of him was the No. 22 of Joey Logano.
Logano's win at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday night was his third of the season and second in three weeks. Logano took over toward the later stages of the race and never looked back for his second career win at the half-mile Colosseum, having won the August race there last year, too.
It will likely be Logano and Harvick battling it out at the end of the season once again this year, but it will hardly be a two-horse race for the title with so many quality drivers having won races this season. But, with that said, who's the hottest right now? Did Logano climb into the top spot or has Matt Kenseth done enough over the last five weeks to put a blown-engine finish behind him and into the rearview mirror?
Here's a look at the rankings heading into the 25th race of the season on Sept. 6 at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, S.C.:
- Joey Logano (30 points) - Just when it looked like Saturday night's Irwin Tools Night Race was Kyle Busch's to lose, in steps Logano, who for the second time in three weeks was in the right place at the right time to take advantage of another driver's misfortune. Finishing worse than seventh only once in his last seven starts doesn't hurt, either.
Last week: Second, +1
- Matt Kenseth (26 points) - Hard to blame the pilot for a mechanical error, but Kenseth's blown engine ended a streak of six straight single-digit finishes. Guess that's why a 42nd-place finish only drops him one spot in the MMPR.
Last week: First, -1
- Kyle Busch (20 points) - Eighth had to feel like last after leading a race-high 192 laps on Saturday night.
Last week: Third, --
- Kevin Harvick (19 points) - Happy Harvick has only three finishes outside of single-digits all season. That's just dumb. So is the fact that he's finished third twice in the last five races and has back-to-back runner-up finishes, yet still ranks fourth in the MMPR.
Last week: Fifth, +1
- Brad Keselowski (17 points) - Make it six consecutive top-10s for Bad Brad. The fact that he hasn't won a race in 19 starts has to be a bit concerning for the 2 team, though.
Last week: Fourth, -1
- Denny Hamlin (14 points) - It's been a weird year for Hamlin, who has a win, including 11 top-10s to go along with nine finishes of 21st or worse. Consistency wins championships, and right now the 11 team has it with three top-fives in their last five starts.
Last week: Ninth, +3
- Carl Edwards (13 points) - Four straight top-10s for Edwards, who - having finished outside the top-10 in 10 of his first 11 starts this season - might just be showing signs of a life after all.
Last week: Sixth, -1
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. (10 points) - Three top-10s in his last four starts with an 11th mixed in certainly doesn't make this a bad stretch for Junior, but a win would certainly ease the fans a bit.
Last week: Seventh, -1
- Clint Bowyer (9 points) - Good to see the 15 team was able to put away the bad finish at Michigan and the news of MWR's exit from NASCAR for its fourth top-10 in the last five races.
Last week: NR
- Jimmie Johnson (8 points) - It's been more than two months since the 48 last visited Sunoco Victory Lane. Another amazing stat is that Saturday's fourth-place finish was his first top-five in his last seven starts.
Last week: NR
Wave Around: Justin Allgaier - Gotta get this guy on the chart at some point. A 12th-place ought to do it.
*This list is comprised of drivers that compete in the Sprint Cup Series on full-time basis.
Win: 10 points
Top-5: 5 points
Top-10: 3 points
Most Laps Led: 2 points
Pole: 1 point
*The most recent five races are counted.
(Last five weeks' point total in parentheses)