Power Rankings

Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson finished third at Auto Club Speedway. (Photo: Getty Images)

Jimmie Johnson extended his points lead in Fontana's final fall event and remains on top of the power rankings for the second consecutive week. 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. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson came close, but he wasn't able to grab a third consecutive victory in Fontana on Sunday after he flubbed a late-race restart. He started on the inside next to Tony Stewart with only a few laps remaining, but couldn't find the speed to challenge for the win. He did manage to grab a third consecutive top-five finish in the Chase, though, and grow his points lead to 36 with a third-place result. And he heads to one of his most successful tracks on the circuit this weekend - Charlotte - where he's won six times and led a lap in all but his first start. Last year in this event, Johnson won at the track and tied with Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison for the most victories by any Cup driver.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 108.5
Point Standing: First
Last Week's Ranking:
First

2. Tony Stewart: Stewart was able to cross another track off his 'to-do' list when he won Sunday at Auto Club Speedway. After leading three times for 27 laps over the final 51 laps of the race, Stewart was able to hold off Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson in a late restart to win his second race of the season. The victory catapulted him from 10th to fifth in the standings and restarted his championship battle. Stewart has won at Charlotte Motor Speedway over his career, but while driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. He has yet to record a top-10 finish in three starts at the track with his team, Stewart-Haas Racing.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 94.1
Point Standing: Fifth
Last Week's Ranking: Seventh

3. Kevin Harvick: Harvick brought home his 20th top-10 finish of the season at Fontana to remain in the fight for the championship. The finish wasn't easy though, as Harvick overcame a 21st-starting spot and a pit-road speeding penalty on lap 98 that left him the last car on the lead lap. His seventh-place finish at Auto Club leaves him as the driver with the most top 10s for the season, but also still trailing in the standings by 54 points as the series heads to Charlotte. Harvick didn't manage to score a top-10 finish there earlier this year as he finished just outside in 11th. In fact, he hasn't finished in the top 10 at the track since 2003 and only has three top 10s there in 19 starts.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 95.9
Point Standing: Third
Last Week's Ranking: Third

4. Jeff Gordon: Gordon also had a tough battle en route to a top-10 finish in Fontana. He ran in the top 10 early in the race after starting 17th and even led 11 laps, but had to overcome a pit road speeding penalty with less than 40 laps remaining to salvage a ninth-place finish. Gordon will try to make up some of his points deficit this weekend in Charlotte where he's coming off a sixth-place finish this spring. He has finished 14th or better in his last six starts there, including a win in this event in 2007 and five top 10s.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 102.9
Point Standing: Fourth
Last Week's Ranking: Fourth

5. Ryan Newman: Newman has been posting some very consistent finishes lately, including a fifth-place finish at Fontana last weekend, for his sixth top 10 in the last seven races. He fought his way from 16th to fifth over the last 13 laps of the race to help bring Stewart-Haas racing its first double top-five effort since June of last year. Newman has seen a pretty consistent record at Charlotte over his last three races with Stewart-Haas. His average finish is 7.3 with two poles and a best second-place finish in last year's Coca-Cola 600.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 83.3
Point Standing: 13th
Last Week's Ranking: 10th

6. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin didn't let a start at the back of the field stop him from putting on a strong effort in Fontana to hold on to his championship hopes. He worked hard through the race to move up through the ranks, and was able to get and stay inside the top 10 for most of the second half. His work paid off in the form of an eighth-place finish and a hold on second place in the standings heading to Charlotte. Hamlin will have to channel that positive energy for the 1.5-mile track, where he's yet to score a top five in 10 starts. With his last of three top 10s coming at the track in 2007, Hamlin has seen his average finish there drop to 18.5.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 94.3
Point Standing: Second
Last Week's Ranking: Sixth

7. Carl Edwards: Edwards slipped in the rankings after suffering a parts malfunction in Fontana on his No. 99 Ford. While running 12th in the race, he became sidelined in the garage for 15 laps as a result of a broken rotor button in the car's distributor. His 34th-place finish from 13 laps down dropped him three spots in the standings to seventh. Edwards may be able to make some ground up at Charlotte, where he's posted seven top 10s in 11 starts.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 89.7
Point Standing: Seventh
Last Week's Ranking: Second

8. Clint Bowyer: Bowyer jumped back on to the rankings with a runner-up effort in Fontana. In his first outing without his crew chief, Bowyer led 40 laps and held off Johnson while giving Stewart a run for his money in the final laps. It's still not quite enough to make up for his penalty, but the finish helps solidify his place among the Chase contenders. Bowyer may get a little more confidence with this weekend's trip to Charlotte, where he's coming off two consecutive top-10 finishes.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 92.8
Point Standing: 12th
Last Week's Ranking: N/R

9. Mark Martin: Mark Martin is back on the rankings after running a solid race in Fontana. He led a race-high 41 laps en route to a sixth-place finish. The effort marked the first time he's led that many laps this season and also his first top-10 finish since Pocono. Martin will try to carry that momentum to Charlotte, where he finished fourth earlier this year.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 80.3
Point Standing: 15th
Last Week's Ranking: N/R

10. Kurt Busch: Busch holds on to the last spot in the rankings despite finishing 21st at Auto Club Speedway. He appeared to be headed to a top-10 finish until a run-in with David Ragan with less than 20 laps to go caused damage to his car and derailed his effort. The finish dropped him from a 70-point deficit on Johnson to a 140-point one heading into the fifth race of the Chase this weekend. Busch will try to get his season's effort back on track with a return to Charlotte Motor Speedway. He won his first career race at the track this May after starting second. The victory was only his fifth top-10 finish in 20 starts.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 94.7
Point Standing: Sixth
Last Week's Ranking: Ninth

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