Pre-Richmond Power Rankings

By Toby Christie (Originally appeared on

Welcome to the first edition of the ‘Power Rankings’. Each week we will analyze the hottest drivers in the Sprint Cup Series, but only their performances over the past six races will be considered. This week I have placed two drivers atop my standings who have stood above the rest over the last sixth of the season.

Rank (Last) Driver 2010 Point Standing Comment
1 (N/R) Tony Stewart 5 Smoke caps off another smoltering summer performance, with his first victory in the last 31 Sprint Cup Series races. The victory also comes with a bigger prize… the top spot in our coveted ‘Power Rankings’.
2 (N/R) Carl Edwards 4 Nobody has scored more points over the last six races than Carl Edwards. Though he hasn’t yet won in 2010, the team is getting it’s act together just in time.
3 (N/R) Kevin Harvick 1 Harvick has been solid all season, but a shredded tire in Atlanta proves that at any time, any team can unravel. Thankfully for him the chase hasn’t started just yet.
4 (N/R) Kyle Busch 3 In the past six weeks KyBu has pulled off the hat-trick in Bristol, clinched his spot in the chase, and has jumped from sixth to third in the point standings. Heading into possibly his best track, the sky is the limit.
5 (N/R) Jamie McMurray 14 McMurray may just come up short in making the chase during his cinderella season, but he has remained consistent as of late, which is the only thing keeping his chase hopes alive.
6 (N/R) Juan Montoya 17 Montoya has began to leapfrog several drivers in the overall point standings. Had he not been as risky earlier in the season, he very well could have been in the chase two years in a row.
7 (N/R) Greg Biffle 11 Even with a 36th place finish in Atlanta, Biffle remains among the highest scoring drivers over the last six races.
8 (N/R) Jeff Burton 6 Jeff Burton re-opens some eyes with a fourth place finish this week. Don’t forget he has been in the running for just about as many wins as Jeff Gordon has this season.
9 (N/R) Clint Bowyer 12 Bowyer has thrived under the pressure of making the chase. He will say that he still isn’t confident, but I will go ahead and say he has reason to be confident heading into Richmond.
10 (N/R) Matt Kenseth 9 Kenseth rebounded from a tire rub to finish 11th. He hasn’t made many headlines in 2010, but has he ever? As long as he is around, he is a threat… but a quiet one.
11 (N/R) Ryan Newman 13 How heartbreaking is the 2010 campaign for Ryan Newman? He finally got his first victory since the 2008 Daytona 500, but it was the restrictor plate races that have all but doomed his chase hopes.
12 (N/R) Martin Truex Jr. 20 Truex’s replacement Jamie McMurray has captured more headlines this season, but MTJ has had a very successful first season with Michael Waltrip Racing.
13 (N/R) Jeff Gordon 2 I know what you’re saying… “He’s second in points, so why is he mired 13th in the power rankings?” It’s simple his average finish over the last six races is a pedestrian 15th.
14 (N/R) Kurt Busch 8 First how did Kurt Busch not crash when Kasey Kahne slammed into him? Second how did he go on to finish sixth? I honestly can’t answer either of those questions.
15 (N/R) David Reutimann 16 Career win number two… check. First career chase appearance… maybe next year.
16 (N/R) Jimmie Johnson 7 Sure he is going for five straight championships, he has five wins this year, and he is locked into the chase. That doesn’t quite explain his 18.3 average finish in the past six races.
17 (N/R) Kasey Kahne 18 One minute Kahne was battling for the lead, and looked to have a shot getting his first win of the season… The next he was 15 laps down in 32nd wondering what went wrong.
18 (N/R) Marcos Ambrose 25 Ambrose has turned it on in the most recent stretch of the season. A 10th at Atlanta coupled with a third at Watkins Glen means he has doubled his season total of top-tens in the past six races.
19 (N/R) Mark Martin 15 Martin’s season has become one to forget. For those keeping track at home both cars that come out of this shop at Hendrick Motorsports will miss the chase.
20 (N/R) A.J. Allmendinger 22 ‘Dinger’ has been a pleasantly consistent top-20 finisher all season long. Expect him to take another step forward in his progression next season.
21 (N/R) David Ragan 24 Bad luck has plagued Ragan all season long, but lately even bad luck can’t stop him from decent finishes. Ragan continues that trend with a 19th in Atlanta.
22 (N/R) Joey Logano 21 Logano was one of many who had engine trouble this past week. Somehow though Logano was able to nurse his car on seven cylinders to the end of the event.
23 (N/R) Denny Hamlin 10 In the past six races Hamlin has three finishes of 15th or better, but he also has three finishes of 34th or worse. This week a blown engine resulted in a last place finish.
24 (N/R) Dale Earnhardt Jr. 19 Rick Hendrick said this week that he would not be splitting up Earnhardt and crew chief Lance McGrew, because they have “chemistry”. Really? There wasn’t much chemistry involved with this weeks 22nd place finish.
25 (N/R) Paul Menard 23 I would call Menard’s season a roller coaster ride… but that is simply not true. There have been far more downs than ups.

Author: Toby Christie

Toby is the Editor of and Social Media Director of all things @TheFinalLap. He is the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly radio show and podcast, and he is the writer and co-host of the Racing Legends podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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