Power Rankings – New Hampshire

By Toby Christie (Originally appeared on RubbingsRacing.com)

Race 26 has come and gone, and the field for the Chase is set. However that doesn’t guarantee you the top spot in our weekly power rankings… Heck as Denny Hamlin found out this week, even winning at Richmond on top of being in the Chase didn’t guarantee him the top spot.

Over the last six races there truly is only one driver worthy of being at the top of this list, and he hasn’t even won a race all year long.

Rank (Last) Driver 2010 Point Standing Comment
1 (2) Carl Edwards 9 Edwards enters the chase without any wins, but he has more momentum than anyone else. He may just run the table from ninth in the standings.
2 (6) Juan Montoya 16 Just six races ago the Colombian was outside the top-20 in Sprint Cup points. Since he has clawed his way to 16th… He’s no puppet.
3 (1) Tony Stewart 6 Isn’t it crazy to think that after race 14 Stewart was outside the top-12 in points? Smoke, who is the driver who most resembles a grizzly bear, came out of hibernation.
4 (4) Kyle Busch 4 Possibly the least favorite driver amongst fans in the sport, now has his very own TV show. This guy would like nothing more than a Sprint Cup to shove down his hater’s throats.
5 (3) Kevin Harvick 3 Harvick has led the standings for the majority of the season, but now finds himself back in third after the chase reset. Fun Fact: This is the furthest back in the points he’s been since Texas in April.
6 (11) Ryan Newman 13 How heartbreaking does it have to be for Ryan Newman? 13th is just the first person who knows they wont win the championship. However he can still fight for the lead in our power rankings.
7 (8) Jeff Burton 10 For some reason drivers named Jeff just can’t seem to find a way to win in 2010. Burton has had about 10 chances this year, but luckily now is when it really matters.
8 (9) Clint Bowyer 12 Clint Bowyer came through in the clutch in one of the most intense fights for the chase cutoff ever… That was sarcasm, but in all seriousness Bowyer is looking good lately.
9 (10) Matt Kenseth 11 I had a chance to talk with Kenseth this week, and he said he couldn’t take anyone in a fight… He is now the official candidate for everyone to pick on in the chase. Have at it boys.
10 (16) Jimmie Johnson 2 Jimmie Johnson is the big winner this week in our rankings as he jumps six spots. He has finished third for two consecutive weeks, and now finds himself as the second seed in the chase… watch out everyone.
11 (13) Jeff Gordon 8 Jeff Gordon looked destined to be headed to a 20th or so finish in Richmond. However the original ‘Four-Time’ fought his way to a 12th place finish. Can he break the curse of the Jeff during the chase?
12 (5) Jamie McMurray 14 McMurray has had a Cinderella season, but it will not end in his first Chase appearance. He does however have a chance to end the year with the most wins on the circuit.
13 (12) Martin Truex Jr. 20 Wonder if he thinks he should have stayed at DEI, with replacement Jamie McMurray performing so well? Heck wonder if Dale Jr. feels that way too?
14 (18) Marcos Ambrose 24 Ambrose is beginning to build some momentum heading into 2010. Now if they could just put the seat and steering wheel on the opposite side of the car he’d probably win every week.
15 (15) David Reutimann 17 This guy has been on the verge of a chase appearance for two years now. His team now gets to test for the rest of the year to see if they can find just a little more speed to get there.
16 (7) Greg Biffle 7 Biffle may be in the chase, but motor issues this week have sent him plummeting to 16th in the power rankings… Ouch.
17 (20) A.J. Allmendinger 22 The Dinger climbs three spots this week with his fifth top-five finish of the season. ‘Dinger’ could pilot this 43 car to it’s best points finish since John Andretti finished 17th in 1999.
18 (23) Denny Hamlin 1 Hamlin goes to the top-seed in the Chase with win number six on the season. He’s still here though because a 43rd place finish two weeks ago, and a whole slew of mediocrity of late.
19 (14) Kurt Busch 5 Kurt Busch didn’t have his best stretch of races heading into the chase, but the majority of the chase is ran on 1.5 mile ovals. He’s pretty good at those places if you were wondering.
20 (17) Kasey Kahne 18 Kahne weeks ago had an outside shot to make the playoffs, now he’s just hoping to finish a race. 2011 can’t come soon enough.
21 (19) Mark Martin 15 Fun Fact: This is the first time Mark Martin has missed the chase in a season he ran all of the events… At least he doesn’t have to deal with the heartbreak of finishing second in points again.
22 (22) Joey Logano 21 I actually picked Logano to win Richmond on a hunch, and my hunch was pretty dang close to being right. Joey finished fourth, and was running faster laps than the leader for the majority of the final 100 laps.
23 (21) David Ragan 25 Call me crazy, but I am seeing improvement with Ragan’s team. I believe he will be in the running for the Chase next year.
24 (N/R) Brad Keselowski 26 Man he was really close to winning that Nationwide race wasn’t he? Now when will Penske field cars that will get him close to Sprint Cup wins?
25 (N/R) Sam Hornish Jr. 28 Hornish really hasn’t done anything impressive lately, but he has outscored Dale Jr, and Paul Menard in points over the last six races… He’s in the rankings by default.__________________________

Biggest Mover: Jimmie Johnson (Up Six Spots)

Biggest Loser: Jamie McMurray (Down Seven Spots)

New This Week: Brad Keselowski, Sam Hornish Jr.

Dropped Out This Week: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (24th), Paul Menard (25th)

Author: Toby Christie

Toby is the Editor of TheFinalLap.com 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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