Magic Mile Power Rankings: Martinsville
Well, that was quite the eventful Sunday at Martinsville Speedway now, wasn't it? From a budding rivalry renewed to a champion's sendoff, the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup championship has turned into a good old fashioned bar fight. Joey Logano, who looked well on his way to a fourth consecutive win, had his run spoiled by Matt Kenseth with a little more than 50 laps to go. That left the door open for Jeff Gordon, who drove right through, punching his ticket to the Championship Race at Homestead-Miami Speedway with his ninth career victory, the most by any driver in NASCAR history.
Now Gordon has a chance to end his career as a champion, earning an automatic bid into one of the four coveted spots for the Championship Race on Nov. 22.
With just three weeks remaining in the regular season, here's a look at the rankings heading into the 34th race on Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas:
- Joey Logano (34 points) - While Sliced Bread's run-in with Kenseth has put a serious damper on his title hopes, the native of Middletown, Conn., has still be so hot that it's done little to his MMPR ranking.
Last week: First, --
- Jeff Gordon (22 points) - The dream is now a foregone conclusion, as the No. 24 will race for his fifth Sprint Cup championship at the end of this month.
Last week: Fourth, +2
- Kevin Harvick (20 points) - Logano's loss is Harvick's gain, as the reigning champion now looks primed to make a run at one of the three remaining spots in the title race. His eighth-place finish on Sunday was his first top-10 in three races.
Last week: Second, -1
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. (15 points) - While his championship aspirations have gone to the wayside, Junior is still racing hard and strong for his faithful. That three top-fives in his last five starts.
Last week: 10th, +6
- Kyle Busch (15 points) - This is the point of the season that Kyle is typically just racing for pride. But amidst all the chaos of the last two weeks, Rowdy is still very much alive in the Chase. In fact, if the Championship Race was this week, he would be in.
Last week: Seventh, +2
- Denny Hamlin (12 points) - Another former Chaser that's still running like he's still in the hunt. Hamlin's third-place finish on Sunday was his third top-five in his last four starts - a 37th at Talladega being the only blemish that has him on the outside looking in.
Last week: Sixth, --
- Martin Truex Jr. (11 points) - Yeah, he's still in the Chase. And yes, he's still very much a contender. Truex has put together a very consistent and strong Chase. Now he needs to find a way to a win to secure his spot on Nov. 22. Otherwise, it could all be for naught.
Last week: Eighth, -1
- Carl Edwards (11 points) - Edwards was good, but not great on Sunday at Martinsville. Unfortunately, that's kind of been the way the season has gone for the No. 19. But with Texas (three career wins) and Phoenix (two career wins) still on the docket, it's still a safe bet that he'll be racing for a title in South Florida.
Last week: Third, -5
- Brad Keselowski (9 points) - Bad Brad's bid at a second championship took a severe hit on Sunday. But this time has shown the ability to get hot when they need to, so let's not count out the 2 team just yet.
Last week: Fifth, -4
- Kurt Busch (8 points) - After a 34th this weekend, it's likely going to take a win for Kurt to sneak into the Championship Race.
Last week: Seventh, -3
Wave Around: Jamie McMurray - As usual, McMurray is getting hot in the Chase, finishing second this week at Martinsville. Unfortunately, it's too little, too late.
*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)