Power Rankings

Kyle Busch may have finished just shy of his teammate Denny Hamlin at Richmond, but he managed to grab the top spot in the rankings with his second-place finish. Motor Racing Network's rankings are based on a combination of season-to-date loop data, season standings and staff selections by Jeff Wackerlin and Rachael West.

1. Kyle Busch: Busch took over the lead in the rankings after finishing second to his teammate Denny Hamlin at Richmond. He and his team came up just about a half-second short of catching him at the finish line. Busch will try to do better than his best Chase result of fifth in 2007 starting in New Hampshire. He enters the weekend fourth in the standings. In 11 starts there, he's posted one victory and five top-10 finishes. In his last three starts there, Busch has finished 11th or better.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 98.4
Point Standing: Fourth
Last Week's Ranking:
Second

2. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin made a huge jump in the rankings and the standings after posting his sixth win of the season, which gave him the lead in the championship standings heading into the Chase after entering the Richmond race in 10th in the points. The win came after a rough two weeks that included him exiting the Atlanta race early due to engine problems. Hamlin led 62.8 percent of the laps from the 14th starting postion and posted the best driver rating at 141.5. Hamlin will try to hold off the other drivers with this weekend's race at New Hampshire. He's finished 15th or better in each of his nine starts at the track, including a victory in June 2007.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 93.9
Point Standing: First
Last Week's Ranking: N/R

3. Carl Edwards: Edwards started on the pole at Richmond and led twice for 95 laps before suffering handling issues and falling back to finish in 10th. It was his 14th top 10 of the season, but with no victories yet, he starts the Chase with a 60-point deficit. He might have trouble making up some ground at NHMS, where he's finished outside the top 15 in his last three starts. He has only managed two top-10 finishes in 12 starts at the track.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 88.9
Point Standing: Ninth
Last Week's Ranking: First

4. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson challenged for the win at Richmond after running in the top five for most of the race. He had to settle for third, though, and watch Hamlin secure the top spot in the standings heading into the Chase. Johnson could very well challenge for the win at New Hampshire too. He won the June race and has finished in the top 10 in his last seven races there. In 2003, he became the first of two drivers to sweep both NHMS events.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 107.4
Point Standing: Second
Last Week's Ranking: Fourth

5. Tony Stewart: Stewart dropped in the rankings after finishing 16th at Richmond. But despite his mediocre finish, he is starting the post-season in sixth in the standings as he attempts to win his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. New Hampshire is a good track for him to start his quest. Stewart is a two-time winner there in 23 starts. He's coming off a second-place finish there earlier this year and has posted two top fives in three starts with his own team.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 92.7
Point Standing: Sixth
Last Week's Ranking: Third

6. Kevin Harvick: After leading the point standings for much of the regular season, Harvick saw his lead slip away when the points were reset for the Chase. But, his ninth-place finish at Richmond shows that he's still a consistent force to be reckoned with heading into the post-season. Harvick managed to bring home his series leading 17th top 10 of the season after starting 20th. He'll have to put that hard work to task again this weekend. Despite his fifth-place finish there earlier this year, Harvick hasn't done very well in recent years at New Hampshire. His average finish in the last six races at the track is 18.7.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 95.8
Point Standing: Third
Last Week's Ranking: Sixth

7. Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya failed to make the Chase this year, but he grabbed his fifth consecutive top-10 finish with a seventh-place result in the last race before the Chase. He ran all but five laps in the top 10 and even managed to lead three of them. Montoya will have to work hard to continue his streak at New Hampshire. After scoring a track-best third-place finish for his only top 10 at the track last fall, he crashed out of this year's first race at the track. He's started on the pole for both of those last two races and has led 147 laps in the last three races at the track.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 95.5
Point Standing: 16th
Last Week's Ranking: Fifth

8. Clint Bowyer: Bowyer is back on the rankings after securing the final Chase spot with a sixth-place finish at Richmond. He managed to not only steer clear of trouble during the race, but also run the whole race within the top six after qualifying fourth. Bowyer can't rest too easy as the Chase starts. He sits 60 points behind the leader in the 12th spot in the standings heading to New Hampshire. The track is the site of his first win in the Cup Series, though, and he's got three top-10 finishes in nine starts there. Two of them have come in the last two races at the track.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 91.4
Point Standing: 12th
Last Week's Ranking: N/R

9. Jeff Gordon: Gordon never managed to capture a win during the Sprint Cup pre-season and despite scoring 10 top-five finishes during the first 25 races, he couldn't grab one at Richmond. Gordon pulled off a 12th-place finish in the final race before the Chase and slipped to eighth in the standings as a result. He'll attempt to get back towards the top of the standings at New Hampshire. Gordon is coming off a fourth-place finish there earlier this summer. In 31 starts, he's captured three victories, 14 top fives and 17 top 10s.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 102.7
Point Standing: Eighth
Last Week's Ranking: Seventh

10. Joey Logano: Logano is back on the rankings after completing a top-five team effort at Richmond for Joe Gibbs Racing. He followed teammates Hamlin and Busch across the finish line in fourth. This is the first time since Logano joined the team full-time in 2009 that all three drivers finished in the top five. Logano may be able to help complete the feat again for JGR with this weekend's NHMS race. He captured his only career Sprint Cup victory there last year, and is coming off a ninth-place finish this June.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 76.7
Point Standing: 21st
Last Week's Ranking: N/R

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2010

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