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Magic Mile Power Rankings: Pocono
Race 21: GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway
It was another historic race for Jeff Gordon, who picked up his fifth-career victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday. Could be a fitting win for the veteran pilot, whose convincing points lead can't help but make people think that the "Drive for Five" is officially alive. Now the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series turns to Pocono Raceway, where Gordon's teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr., will be looking for the season sweep.
Here's another rundown of the new MMPR format.
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 21 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday:
1. Brad Keselowski (40 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.
Previous ranking: First, --
2. Jeff Gordon (28 points) -Twenty years after winning his first Brickyard 400, there was Gordon kissing the bricks again last Sunday. Regardless of where your 24 fandom stands, that was a surreal moment.
Previous ranking: Seventh, +5
3. Kyle Busch (23 points) - Second on the podium in three of the last five races, Busch has been red-hot of late. He is, however, winless at Pocono. There's a first time for everything.
Previous ranking: NR
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (22 points) - Junior has four top 10s in his last five starts, with his worst finish being a 14th at Daytona, which is the ultimate crap-shoot.
Previous ranking: Second, -2
5. Matt Kenseth (19 points) - Outside of a 42nd at Sonoma, Kenseth has been a top-five guru. But right now the Joe Gibbs Racing 20 team needs to find that elusive first win.
Previous ranking: 10th, +5
6. Ryan Newman (15 points) - An 11th last weekend at Indy had to be a bit disappointing for Newman, who was the defending champion at his home-state track.
Previous ranking: Fourth, -2
7. Carl Edwards (15 points) - Edwards was a big storyline last week, as Roush Fenway Racing announced that the 99 was done with the only NASCAR Sprint Cup Series organization he's every known. And with no top-10s since his it's going to take a really strong finish at Pocono this week to keep him in the MMPR.
Previous ranking: Fifth, -2
8. Aric Almirola (12 points) - Talk about a guy hanging on by the skin of his teeth. Thank goodness for that win at Daytona.
Previous ranking: NR
9. Austin Dillon (11 points) - Consistency has been there for the 3, but it's still going to take a win for him to make the Chase - which at this point has to be the most important thing.
10. Kasey Kahne (10 points) - Things have gotten better for Double K, but like many of his adversaries above, the focus right now can't be on running well, but rather running to win.
Wave Around: Kyle Larson - The rookie is heating up.
*This list is comprised of drivers that compete in the Sprint Cup Series on full-time basis.