Power Rankings – STP 500 From Martinsville


Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The “western swing” is now behind us, and the series heads back east to Martinsville this week.  Short-track action at its finest…. and for those of us in the Eastern and Central time zones, normal start times.  Power Rankings headed into the STP Gas Booster 500 are below:

Honorable Mentions

NASCAR OFFICIALS . HM. (Last Week: NR) — Kudos to NASCAR for waiting to see if Biffle could clear his car from the track, which he was able to do when the leaders were exiting turn 2.  The car was cleared, and the race ended under green.  Had Biffle’s car not gotten started again, or if debris was all over the track, you still have about 1.5 miles to slow the field under a caution.  Conspiracy theorists will argue they waited to make sure Kurt Busch didn’t win.  Stop already, people.  Just stop.. Sprint Cup Series director Richard Buck.

No. 16. Roush Fenway Racing. GREG BIFFLE. HM. (Last Week: NR) — See above.  Nice job by Biffle of being aware of the situation and doing what he could to remove his car from the track after the spin.  At least Greg’s description of his team’s “slow death” didn’t apply to his spin’s effect on the outcome.

Power Rankings

#10. (Last Week: HM) — A honorable mention last week, followed-up by a 12th-place finish at California.  Consistency and determination make this team a worthy successor to the spot vacated by Kasey Khane’s departure from the rankings this week.. No. 51. H. Scott Motorsports. JUSTIN ALGAIER

#9. (Last Week: 9) — Gutsy call to stay out on the next-to-last caution.  Might not have fallen to 10th without the second GWC restart, but at least he finished for the second week in a row.. No. 24. Hendrick Motorsports. JEFF GORDON

#8. (Last Week: 7) — No penalties, and his car made it through tech four times throughout the weekend on the first attempt each time.  Chad and crew are just boring when they play by the same rules.. No. 48. Hendrick Motorsports. JIMMIE JOHNSON

DALE EARNHARDT, JR.. #7. (Last Week: 8) — He proposed a retro line of NASCAR apparel this weekend, which seemed to garner instant appeal and fan support.  Unfortunately, that was the biggest piece of news he generated all weekend.. No. 88. Hendrick Motorsports

JOEY LOGANO. #6. (Last Week: 6) — Marginal call at best on the pit penalty with 44 laps to go for not controlling the tire, but crew chief Todd Gordon did the right thing by topping off with fuel during the penalty stop.  Had the race gone green until the end, who knows?. No. 22. Team Penske

#5. (Last Week: HM) — The only session he didn’t win this weekend was the race.  Won practice.  Won qualifying.  Won a lot of folks’ respect with another solid ride this week.  Must have taken Carl Edwards’ banzai driving course though, because he sure tried to duplicate Edwards’ move from Kansas a few years ago.  You know, the one that “worked in the video game.”  He finished third at California a year ago too and won Martinsville the following week.  Deja vu, anyone?  . No. 41. Stewart-Haas Racing. KURT BUSCH

(Last Week: 4) — Don’t look now, but Ryan has gotten that consistency thing going again.  Three consecutive top-5’s.. No. 31. Richard Childress Racing. RYAN NEWMAN. #4

#3. (Last Week: 3) — The top-10 finish streak in every race of the year continued this past week.  This Colorado-based team will be home before everyone else on the way to Martinsville.  A little extra preparation time could push them over the top this week.  Martin winning in Martinsville is sorta catchy, don’t ‘ya think?. No. 78. Furniture Row Racing. MARTIN TRUEX, JR.

#2. (Last Week: 1) — Awful tough to drop him a spot, but he qualified and ran 2nd this week.  The difference from last year to this year for this team is the absence of last year’s bad luck, but they are performing just as reliably.  The mind shudders at where this could be headed. . No. 4. Stewart-Haas Racing. KEVIN HARVICK

#1. (Last Week: 2) — Four tires turned out to be the right call with two GWC finishes to give the strategy time to play out, as he was 14th on the first restart, 6th on the second one and in victory lane at the end.  Both Penske drivers have now secured Chase berths.  I hope this makes the lady from the south very, very happy.. No. 2. Team Penske. BRAD KESELOWSKI

What do you think?  Did your driver make the list?  Who would you have included?  Excluded?  If you don’t agree, tell me why – it’s more productive than just saying, “I don’t agree.”

Also coming soon:  A weekly Top 10 listing of stupid stuff Darrell Waltrip says, and why he’s just wrong with so much of his analysis.

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