Jimmie Johnson finished behind Brad Keselowski at Kansas, but the fact that he left the speedway with the same deficit (seven points) he had entering the race certainly makes for a wipe of the brow moment for the No. 48 team. Johnson did an admirable job racing his crunched Chevy to a top-10 finish, and thus we have an interesting battle with just four races remaining in the Chase. And with Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer and Kasey Kahne still within striking distance, this could be shaping up to be as exciting as last year’s finish between Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards.
Here’s a look at the power rankings as the Chase heads to Martinsville Speedway on Sunday with (probable) headlines for Monday morning:
1. Jimmie Johnson (Last Week: 1) – Seventh Heaven: Mr. Five Time Wins Again at Martinsville
2. Brad Keselowski (Last Week: 2) – Bad Brad Surprises, Top-Five Keeps Keselowski atop Chase Standings
3. Clint Bowyer (Last Week: 4) – Solid Day, but Bowyer Loses Ground in Chase
4. Denny Hamlin (Last Week: 3) – Most Laps Led Doesn’t Translate to Win for Hamlin
5. Kasey Kahne (Last Week: 5) – Title hopes end with a thud for KK at Martinsville.
6. Martin Truex Jr. (Last Week: 7) – True Finish: Another Top-10 for Truex
7. Tony Stewart (Last Week: 8) – Stewart Struggles at Martinsville, Repeat Hopes all but Extinguished
8. Matt Kenseth (Last Week: 10) – Kenseth Can’t Double-Dip at ‘The Paperclip’
9. Jeff Gordon (Last Week: 6) – Comfortable Track Breathes New Life into Gordon
10. Kevin Harvick (Last Week: N/A) – No Surprise: Harvick Finishes Just Outside Top-10.