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Magic Mile Power Rankings: Indy
Race 20: Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Well, it's been nearly two weeks since the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rolled into New Hampshire Motor Speedway. And what a weekend it was for Brad Keselowski, who not only won the Camping World RV Sales 301 on July 13, but became the first driver in track history to also win Saturday's Sta-Green 200 Nationwide Series race. The historic weekend was worth a week off, but the season runs straight to the checkered flag at Homestead-Miami on Nov. 16.
Now is also a perfect time to readjust the power rankings. Looking back at the last five weeks, here is the new format for the MMPR:
Win - 10 points
Top-5 - 5 points
Top-10 - 3 points
Most Laps Led - 2 points
Pole - 1 point
21-30 - Minus-1
31-40 - Minus-3
41-43 - Minus-5
Moving forward, the most recent five races will be counted. This should be a more effective system in determining the hottest, most consistent drivers in the Sprint Cup Series. Let us know what you think!
Here's a look at the MMPR (last five weeks' point total in parentheses) heading into Race 20 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday:
1. Brad Keselowski (48 points) - With two wins and only one finish outside the top 20, Bad Brad has solidified himself as not only the hottest driver in NASCAR right now, but a very legitimate threat to win his second championship in three years.
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (22 points) - Junior's worst finish in the last five races is a 14th at Daytona. Maybe the biggest surprise was the 10th he scored at New Hampshire two weeks ago. Earnhardt didn't lead a single lap despite feeling very good after a practice session at the Magic Mile at the beginning of June.
3. Paul Menard (16 points) -This might be the biggest shocker of all the drivers on this list. But it's not without merit, as Menard has two top-fives and has no finishes outside the top 20. Not too bad for a guy that has one win in seven years as a full-time pilot.
4. Ryan Newman (15 points) - The Rocketman's rookie campaign with Richard Childress Racing has been pretty hit or miss, but it's been hit after hit lately. Newman has two top-fives in his last three starts. Now he just needs a win to ensure another trip to the Chase. Indy might be the perfect venue for that to come to fruition given he is the defending champ.
5. Carl Edwards (14 points) - Cousin Carl scored big points in the MMPR thanks to his win at Sonoma a few weeks ago. But that's the only thing keeping him afloat, as the 99 doesn't have a single top-10 in any of the other four races outside of his win. This is a big weekend for Edwards.
6. Jimmie Johnson (14 points) - Talk about feast or famine. Six-Time has three top-10s in his last five races. He has also finished 42nd in his last two races. Wow. Seriously, wow!
7. Jeff Gordon (13 points) - Arguably the most consistent driver this season, Gordon is still a serious threat to win this year's championship. That said, another win wouldn't hurt - and Indy is a very likely spot for that to happen.
8. Kasey Kahne (13 points) - It's been a fairly solid five weeks for Double K, but the fact of the matter is that he needs a win. Like now.
9. Clint Bowyer (11 points) - With four top-10s in his last five starts, Bowyer is in the midst of his best stretch run of the season. But like a number of the drivers above him, it's a win that the No. 15 needs more than anything right now.
10. Matt Kenseth (11 points) - A pair of top-fives, which includes a fourth at New Hampshire, in the last three weeks has the former champion positioned in the final spot in the MMPR. And while he currently sits fourth in the standings, he is still in search of his first trip to victory lane. Hard to believe given he won a series-high seven times in 2013.
Wave Around: Kyle Busch - Two runners-up in two of the last three races, including a third straight runner-up finish at New Hampshire.
*This list is comprised of drivers that compete in the Sprint Cup Series on full-time basis.