Power Rankings

Power Rankings

Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards closed out the 2010 season on top of their games and the power rankings. (Photo: Getty Images)

Jimmie Johnson tops the season-ending Power Rankings after winning his fifth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. 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: For the fifth year-in-a-row, Johnson won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. This year's battle wasn't as easy as in previous years, as the title came down to three very capable drivers in the season finale. But with his bankable consistency, Johnson pulled away from the other competitors and tied his best finish in the finale (second) en route to the record-setting title. Throughout the season, it looked like Johnson may have left the door wide open for challengers with 10 finishes outside the top 15. In the end, though, he turned it on when it mattered most - in the Chase. Johnson scored seven of his series-leading 17 top fives over the course of the last nine races this season to give him a commanding 107.7 driver rating.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 107.7
Final Point Standing: First
Last Week's Ranking:
Third

2. Carl Edwards: Edwards ended the season on a high note - as a two-time winner. After going winless all season, the Roush-Fenway Racing driver captured back-to-back wins at Phoenix and Homestead-Miami to finish fourth in the final standings. He led 183 of his season's total 427 laps during the final two races and posted the seventh-best season driver rating as a result. His 11.8 average finish was second best out of all drivers and his three pole positions marked a career high for a season.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 91.8
Final Point Standing: Fourth
Last Week's Ranking: Fifth

3. Kevin Harvick: Harvick was close to grabbing the 2010 championship after leading for much of the pre-season. Instead, with a third-place finish in the season finale, he had to settle for a career-best third-place standing in the points. Harvick's season was filled with many career firsts. He had the most top fives and top 10s of any other of his previous 10 seasons and ended with his best average finish. Harvick also led in a few categories over all other drivers this season with the most top 10s (26) and best average finish (8.7).

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 98.0
Final Point Standing: Third
Last Week's Ranking: Second

4. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin's finish to the season was the worst possible outcome for the young driver. After leading the field at the start of the Chase and staying either first or second in the points throughout the post-season, Hamlin had to settle for second-place instead of the championship. With an early spin and a crucial missed pit stop late in the Ford 400, Hamlin saw his 15-point lead heading into the finale disintegrate. His 14th-place finish at Homestead was his worst result in the Chase, and coupled with a 12th-place finish the week before in Phoenix, he essentially handed Johnson the title. Still, Hamlin's season overall is commendable. He won the most races, had the fifth-best driver rating and was the closest driver over the last five years to unseat Johnson from the championship.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 96.2
Final Point Standing: Second
Last Week's Ranking: First

5. Matt Kenseth: Kenseth had his first winless season since 2008 this year, but still managed to finish fifth in the final standings. That's a welcome result over last year, when he failed to even make the Chase. Kenseth leaves the season on another high note too, after scoring three consecutive top 10s to finish out the season, including a ninth-place finish in the season finale.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 86.0
Final Point Standing: Fifth
Last Week's Ranking: Ninth

6. Greg Biffle: Biffle finished 10th in the Ford 400 to move up two positions to sixth in the final standings. The finish was his 19th top 10 and it came in his fifth multiple win season of his career. Biffle posted the 12th-best driver rating (88.4) of the season and ended the year with one win and five top 10s in the 10 Chase races.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 88.4
Final Point Standing: Sixth
Last Week's Ranking: Seventh

7. Joey Logano: Logano saw his streak of five consecutive finishes of seventh or better come to an end at Homestead-Miami Speedway after a disappointing finish of 39th. Logano was taken out of the race after an incident with Juan Pablo Montoya on the backstretch on lap 141. Although he did not win a race, the 2010 season saw Logano double his numbers in his sophomore season with seven top fives, 16 top 10s and 53 laps led. His 16th-place finish in the standings was an improvement of four spots compared to 2009.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 80.3
Final Point Standing: 16th
Last Week's Ranking: Fourth

8. Mark Martin: Martin ended the season strong, posting the fifth best average finish (11.5) in the last 10 races of the year. Although he did not win a race this season, after scoring five in his first season with Hendrick Motorsports in 2009, Martin did post 11 top 10s and was the top non-Chase driver in the points. Martin's 16th-place finish in the Ford 400 was only his second finish outside the top 15 in the 10 Chase races.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 82.8
Final Point Standing: 13th
Last Week's Ranking: Eighth

9. Clint Bowyer: Bowyer ended the season with two wins and was able to finish 10th in the standings after finishing 12th in the Ford 400. He would have finished fifth in the standings if not for a 150-point penalty following his win in the opening Chase race at New Hampshire. Bowyer was tied for the eighth best average finish (13.9) among all drivers in the 10 Chase races and has the eighth best driver rating (91.7) in the 36 races this season. Bowyer led 400 laps to mark a season high in five years of full-time competition.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 91.7
Final Point Standing: 10th
Last Week's Ranking: N/R

10. AJ Allmendinger: Allmendinger ended the 2010 season on a high note by finishing fifth in the Ford 400. He started fifth in the race, but had to battle a loose car in the end in his hunt to give 43 lucky fans a new Ford Fiesta if the No. 43 went to victory lane. The top-five finish was Allmendinger's second of the season and it came at a time where the team is undergoing a reorganization heading into 2011. Allmendinger posted career numbers in just about every category, which includes top 10s (8), poles (1) and laps led (181).

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 79.1
Final Point Standing: 19th
Last Week's Ranking: N/R

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup

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