Week 2 - Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway

Well, we're two weeks into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and it's been quite a ride so far. Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards have already found victory lane at Daytona and Phoenix, respectively; Tony Stewart was the lone bright spot in a rough day for Stewart-Haas Racing; and Ricky Stenhouse and Aric Almirola are pleasant surprises in a season that's been anything but ordinary, so far.

Here's a look at the Magic Mile Power Rankings* heading into Week 3 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday:


 1. Jimmie Johnson - How about that finish? After Denny Hamlin used the apron to make a pass on both Five-Time and the defending champion, Johnson calmly stayed on his line and beat Hamlin back to the finish line by inches. First last week, a runner-up this week; not a bad way to start the season.
Previous ranking: First, --
Consecutive Weeks in MMPR: 2

2. Brad Keselowski - it was a another strong day for the reigning Cup champ, who picked up his second consecutive top-five finish on Sunday. Bad Brad was good down the stretch, pushing Cousin Carl on a late restart to make a run at the win, but Edwards's Ford was simply better than Keselowski's.
Previous ranking: Fourth, +2
Consecutive Weeks in MMPR: 2

3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - Two races in and Junior has an average finish of 3.5. Maybe being the second-most popular driver in NASCAR's elite series - insert Danica joke here - will take the pressure off of him and let him make run at that elusive first championship.
Previous ranking: Fifth, +2
Consecutive Weeks in MMPR: 2

4. Clint Bowyer - His 2012 season is looking less and less like a fluke with every race. Two races into the 2013 season and Bowyer has an 11th-place finish in the Daytona 500 and a sixth at Phoenix, despite a serious gaffe on pit road. There is word, though, that he confused one of his crewman on pit road for Jeff Gordon.
Previous ranking: Fifth, +2
Consecutive Weeks in MMPR: 2

5. Denny Hamlin - If only every race had the kind of drama Sunday produced. Sure, Carl Edwards ran away from the field during the Green-White-Checkered finish, but Hamlin made the fight for second high drama indeed. Darting down into the apron and back up onto the track was downright gutsy.
Previous ranking: Seventh, +2
Consecutive Weeks in MMPR: 2

6. Greg Biffle -  The Biff struggled a bit at Phoenix, a real surprise considering he finished inside the top seven in his last two starts there. But there's something to be said about consistency given he started fifth and finished sixth at Daytona, and started 17th and finished 17th at Phoenix.
Previous ranking: Third, -3
Consecutive Weeks in MMPR: 2

7. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - Sorry, Mr. Danica Patrick for those of you unfamiliar with the two-time defending Nationwide Series champion. While the focus has been primarily on his girlfriend, Stenhouse has put two solid races together (12th at Daytona, 16th at Phoenix) in his first two races a full-time Cup competitor.
Previous ranking: 10th, +3
Consecutive Weeks in MMPR: 2

8. Aric Almirola - No sophomore slump for this guy. Almirola followed up a solid showing at Daytona with another strong finish at Phoenix. Given the fact that Daytona and Phoenix are vastly different tracks, Almirola is an easy fit on the this list. Now, can he stay here?
Previous ranking: Not ranked
Consecutive Weeks in MMPR: 1

9. Carl Edwards - It was hard to believe that it had been 70 races since Cousin Carl's last trip to victory lane. But the excitement surrounding his trademark backflip certainly put it in perspective. Boy, it had been a while, huh? Don't expect him to drop off this list anytime soon. The concensus is that Edwards is back - and in a big way.
Previous ranking: Not ranked
Consecutive Weeks in MMPR: 1

10. Jeff Gordon - After falling of the map at Daytona, Gordon rebounded with a top-10 finish at Phoenix despite being talked about very little by the FOX crew on Sunday. Gordon didn't lead a lap on Sunday and never cracked the top-three, but used smart pit strategy and a strong car down the stretch to garner a ninth.
Previous ranking: Not ranked
Consecutive Weeks in MMPR: 1

Free Pass: Tony Stewart - With Danica Patrick and Ryan Newman picking up 39th- and 40th-place finishes, respectively, the owner stepped it up and rebounded from a terrible day at Daytona with an eighth at Phoenix.

Dropped out of the MMPR: Danica Patrick, Ryan Newman, Michael McDowell

*This list is comprised of drivers that compete in the Sprint Cup Series on full-time basis.