Magic Mile Power Rankings: Kansas
New Englander Joey Logano made the next two races much easier on himself with a win at Kansas Speedway on Sunday. The victory locks Logano into the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship's Elminator Round.
While it was a great day for Logano, it wasn't so much for teammate Brad Keselowski, and Hendrick Motorsports teammates Kasey Kahne, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Jimmie Johnson. Those four currently sit outside the top eight and will have their hands full trying to climb back into contention.
Logano's win has him into the next round and atop the Chase standings, but was he able to climb into the top spot of the Magic Mile Power Rankings?
Here's a look at the MMPR (last five weeks' point total in parentheses) heading into the first race in the Contender Round at Kansas Speedway on Sunday:
1. Joey Logano (35 points) - Sliced Bread has been quite toasty lately, finishing inside the top-five in his last four races, including two wins. Going back five races, he finished sixth at Richmond. Yeah, he's for real.
Previous ranking: Third, +2
2. Brad Keselowski (29 points) - Coming off back-to-back wins, a seventh here and runner-up at Dover, Bad Brad's 36th at Kansas should be considered an abberation. But with the new Chase Grid, the 2012 Sprint Cup champion has some serious work ahead of him to move on.
Previous ranking: First, -1
3. Kevin Harvick (23 points) - What does this guy have to do? After three straight top-fives (races he led a total of 200 laps), Harvick has taken the last two poles and led 284 laps in those races, but finished 13th and 12th at Dover and Kansas, respectively. Seriously, what does this guy have to do to win a race?
Previous ranking: Second, -1
4. Jeff Gordon (19 points) - It's been front-row finishes or bust for the 24 team over the last few weeks. It's safe to say Sunday at Kansas was simply a rough day for all drivers at Hendrick Motorsports. Charlotte could be the perfect playground to recover.
Previous ranking: Fourth, --
5. Kyle Larson (18 points) - The rookie looked at the camera before exiting his runner-up car on Sunday and pinched his fingers ever-so close together. He will get a win before the end of this season, it's just a matter of when not if.
Previous ranking: Sixth, +1
6. Kyle Busch (15 points) - Kansas was the measuring stick for Rowdy, whose scored his first-ever top-five at the 1.5-mile track on Sunday. It's probably time to start taking the 18 a whole lot more serious these days.
Previous ranking: Eighth, +2
7. Jamie McMurray (11 points) - The No. 1 for Ganassi Racing has leveled off a bit over the last two weeks, but the three straight top-10s, including two top-fives is proof that it wasn't simply a case of the right place at the right time.
Previous ranking: Seventh, --
8. Jimmie Johnson (18 points) - There's serious cause for concern in the 48 camp after a 40th at Kansas. But all that goes away with a win at Charlotte this weekend, a track Johnson has won at seven times in his career, including back in May of this year.
Previous ranking: Fifth, -3
9. Ryan Newman (9 points) - This guy just keeps plugging along week in and week out. He could safely race himself into the next round if he keeps this up.
Previous ranking: Ninth, --
10. Martin Truex Jr. (7 points) - Hard to believe Kansas was his first top-five all season.
Previous ranking: NR
Wave Around: Carl Edwards - That was a clutch fifth-place finish for Edwards, who will need to continue that at Charlotte if he hopes to get into the Eliminator Round.
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
*The most recent five races are counted.
**This list is comprised of drivers that compete in the Sprint Cup Series on full-time basis.