Magic Mile Power Rankings: Talladega
Two rounds down, one round and one championship race to go.
The Chase field has been dwindled down to eight drivers, with Brad Keselowski getting in by the skin of his teeth thanks to a hard-fought win at Talladega Superspeedway last Sunday.
While six-time champion Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, and Kasey Kahne are now on the outside looking in, they're still very much alive in the Magic Mile Power Rankings. But did any of them make this week's list? And how far did Bad Brad climb after picking up his sixth win of the season? Was it enough to vault him into the top spot, which has been occupied by teammate Joey Logano for several weeks now?
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.
**Names in yellow indicate championship eligible drivers
(Last five weeks' point total in parentheses)
Here's a look at the MMPR (hashtag edition) heading into the first race in the Eliminator Round at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday:
1. Joey Logano (32 points) - Hard to believe, but Sliced Bread's 11th on Sunday was his worst finish so far in the Chase. Logano will look back to a fourth at Martinsville in March as a confidence point heading into this weekend. #ChaseFavorite
Previous ranking: First, --
2. Kevin Harvick (26 points) - Even with essentially nothing to race for on Sunday, Harvick found himself contending for the win with a ninth-place finish. With two straight top-10s at Martinsville, it's unlikely Harvick will put himself behind the 8-ball this weekend. #FastEverywhere
Previous ranking: Second, --
3. Brad Keselowski (16 points) - He could only advance with a win at 'Dega, and he did just that. Double hashtags for Mr. Twitterverse. #NuffSaid #Clutch.
Previous ranking: Sixth, +3
4. Kyle Larson (16 points) - Seventeenth at Talladega? Time to hit the panic button on the 42. #Sarcasm
Previous ranking: Fourth, --
5. Ryan Newman (14 points) - Instead of waiting for this team to blow up, maybe it's time to start taking this guy seriously. He's still alive in the Chase, has led at least one lap in the last three races and hasn't finished outside the top 10 since an 18th here at the Magic Mile in September. #RocketmanIsForReal
Previous ranking: Eighth,+3
6. Kyle Busch (14 points) - While he's not the most popular driver in the series, it was impossible not to feel bad for the 18 on Sunday. He did all he could to avoid a wreck in front of him only to be slammed into from behind. Lots of props to his crew to getting that car good enough to race. #WrongPlaceWrongTime
Previous ranking: Third, -3
7. Jeff Gordon (13 points) - He's doing all he can to stay alive, but it's been an inconsistent Chase so far for the 24. If that continues, he's going to likely need a win to advance into the championship race. #RunningOutOfSteam
Previous ranking: Fifth, -2
8. Matt Kenseth (9 points) - Like Keselowski, Kenseth had to be nearly perfect at 'Dega to move on. And he was, finishing second. #DangerousDude
Previous ranking: Tenth, --
9. Carl Edwards (7 points) - Doing just enough to get by isn't going to cut it in this round. #NeedsAWin
Previous ranking: Ninth, --
10. Martin Truex Jr. (7 points) - He's cooled off a bit over the last two weeks, but it's nice to see him running well. #ToughSeason
Previous ranking: Tenth, --
Wave Around: Clint Bowyer - A very solid third-place finish for the 15. Bowyer would like nothing more than to find some momentum heading into 2015.
*This list is comprised of drivers that compete in the Sprint Cup Series on full-time basis.