Power Rankings: GEICO 500 From Talladega


Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

The Power Rankings leaving Richmond and heading into Talladega are given below.  This week saw some movement on the list, both up and down.  Anything and everything can happen next Sunday, so be sure to check back weekly!

New to the list this week:  1, 5, 20, 48

Falling off the list this week:  2, 19, 43, 88

Note:  While the No. 88 car of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. probably would have fallen off the list anyway this week due to the strong runs by the No. 5 and the No. 48 coupled with his 14th-place finish, he should ask his Hendrick teammates what happens when you mess with the No. 14.  Hint: It doesn’t help.

Honorable Mentions

HM. (Last Week: NR) – Very impressive for only his 2<sup>nd</sup> Cup start. He finished on the lead lap and ahead of three of last week’s top 10. If Martinsville wasn’t the introduction to the Cup series he was looking for, today certainly helped.. No. 25. Hendrick Motorsports. CHASE ELLIOTT

HM. (Last Week: NR) – Justin became ill late in the race, but managed an 18<sup>th</sup>-place finish after running in the top 10 (and often top five) for most of the day. One certainly hopes that this was legitimately-earned after NASCAR took three sets of his tires for inspection. I would expect no findings from a Steve Addington-led crew.. No. 51. H. Scott Motorsports. JUSTIN ALLGAIER


Power Rankings

MATT KENSETH. #10. (Last Week: NR) – I think the JGR cars were clearly set up for a night race, so when that got bumped to Sunday, they never adjusted effectively, except for Matt. I guess when you marry a race whose excitement level was on par with Matt’s personality, good finishes will happen.. No. 20. Joe Gibbs Racing

#9. (Last Week: NR) – When the car is just right, Kasey can drive with anyone – give him some adversity and he’ll bring up the rear. Example:  His Friday performance. Lightning fast in practice, but qualified slower than my grandmother. He marched forward from his 40<sup>th</sup>-place starting position to finish sixth, earning him a parole after last week’s suspension from the list.. No. 5. Hendrick Motorsports. KASEY KAHNE

#8. (Last Week: 9) – Larson started and finished 12<sup>th</sup> on Sunday, which is enough to remain on the list this week and move up a spot due to slips from a few above him last week. Circle the Kansas date in two weeks for this team – you heard it here first!  . No. 42. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. KYLE LARSON

#7. (Last Week: NR) – The box score will show that this team both started and finished in the top 10, which is true. However, there was this little matter about falling to 31<sup>st</sup> after an early pit stop blunder, and then marching solidly back to earn the finish. You have to respect that.. No. 1. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. JAMIE MCMURRAY

#6. (Last Week: NR) – Johnson also earned a get out of jail free card this week, and was remarkably similar in performance to his cell mate Kahne from last week. Friday practice was fine, followed by a lifeless qualifying run only to be capped off by a well-deserved 3<sup>rd</sup>-place finish. The last two times a Richmond race has been postponed, he won.  This team looks great heading into May.. No. 48. Hendrick Motorsports. JIMMIE JOHNSON

MARTIN TRUEX, JR.. #5. (Last Week: 7) – Dude, why did you even give Bowyer the time of day after the race?  You did nothing wrong. Remember, it was Clint’s antics here (along with some other Michael Waltrip Racing nonsense) 19 months ago that screwed you out of the Chase. Martin’s 10<sup>th</sup>-place finish moves him back up in the rankings this week, which is where he belongs.. No. 78. Furniture Row Racing

No. 24. Hendrick Motorsports. JEFF GORDON. #4. (Last Week: 2) – The only thing keeping him from 3<sup>rd</sup>-place on the list was the fact that Logano finished ahead of him on Sunday and led 94 laps, giving a higher driver rating. Otherwise, this team is all there, as is to be expected.  Next up: Talladega with Hendrick horsepower… what else could you want?

#3. (Last Week:3) – Another group who would have benefitted from a night race.. No. 22. Team Penske. JOEY LOGANO

KURT BUSCH. #2. (Last Week: 6) – We all knew that a win was coming for this team, given their week-in and week-out performance since Kurt’s return. He led the most laps for the fourth time this year, and also led the most laps he has ever led in a single race. With the monkey off of Kurt’s back and the stones out of crew chief Tony Gibson’s kidneys, this deserving group is feeling just fine.. No. 41. Stewart-Haas Racing

#1. (Last Week: 1) – The tradition of sitting son Keelan in the car before the start was broken this week, because his wife said a 1PM start was too close to nap time and didn’t want to disrupt a delicate sleep schedule. Um, wake the boy up, he can sleep later… that’s clearly the difference between a win and second! Yet again, nothing from this week indicates anything but the top spot.. No.4. Stewart-Haas Racing. KEVIN HARVICK

What do you think?  Did your driver make the list? Who would you have included? Excluded? Discuss below!

Next: Which Drivers In This Week's Power Rankings Also Made The Top 100 Of All Time List?