Power Rankings

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch had great runs at Phoenix International Raceway. (Photo: Getty Images)


Season-to-Date Driver Ratings

This week's Power Rankings saw a big shake up as the start of what some drivers might call the "real season" began at Phoenix International Raceway. 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 jumps to first in the rankings and first in the standings as the Sprint Cup Series heads to his home track of Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Busch finished second at Phoenix and 1.137 seconds off of completing his second sweep of all three of NASCAR's top divisions in one weekend. Busch rallied back from early contact with Carl Edwards in the race where he fell to 36th place for repairs to score his first top five at PIR since winning in 2005. Busch will now look to keep his place atop the standings with a good run at Las Vegas where he won from the pole in 2009.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 104.5
Point Standing: First
Last Week's Ranking: N/A

2. Jeff Gordon: Gordon also made a big jump in the rankings and standings (21 positions) after he ended a 66-race winless streak at Phoenix. Despite contact with Kevin Harvick on lap 59, Gordon had the fastest car all day with 26.4 percent of the fastest laps on the day on his way to leading a race high 138 laps. Gordon's performance at PIR gave him the best driver rating in the race along with the best average running position at 4.9. Gordon dominated last year's race at Las Vegas, leading 219 laps, but lost the race in the end to his teammate Jimmie Johnson.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 98.2
Point Standing: Fifth
Last Week's Ranking: N/A

3. Kurt Busch: Busch trails his brother Kyle by three points on the standings after finishing eighth from the second starting position at Phoenix. Busch, who led 31 laps, was the fastest driver early in a run at 130.214 mph, but as the race went on, the Shell-Pennzoil team were unable to get the car to turn through the center of the corner. He was the only driver to run all 312 laps while in the top 15. Although he won the pole last year at Las Vegas, Busch has yet to post a top-10 finish in five starts with Penske Racing at his home track.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 113.7
Point Standing: Second
Last Week's Ranking: Third

4. Carl Edwards: Edwards took a hit in the rankings and in the standings (-11) after Kyle Busch made contact with him on lap 59 at Phoenix. The contact sent Edwards' pole winning car to the garage after leading 21 laps. The crew was able to put Edwards back on track to a 28th-place finish. Edwards will look to make up the points he lost at Phoenix with a good run at Las Vegas where he won in 2008..

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 83.2
Point Standing: 12th
Last Week's Ranking: Second

5. Ryan Newman: Newman posted his third consecutive top-five finish at Phoenix with a fifth-place result. With seven laps led during the race, Newman earned the sixth best driver rating of the event and left with a 12 spot jump in the standings. Unlike at Phoenix, Newman hasn't done well at Las Vegas since joining Stewart-Haas Racing. He's posted finishes of 25 and 18, respectively, despite having a 4.5 average starting position over the last two races there.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 105.4
Point Standing: Eighth
Last Week's Ranking: Seventh

6. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson started deep in the field at Phoenix, in 28th, as the team was in test mode to learn for this year. Johnson and the Lowe's crew were able to rally to a third-place finish after a number of adjustments on the Lowe's Chevrolet. Johnson’s finish was his 11th top five in 14 races at PIR. Johnson won last year's race at Las Vegas for his fourth triumph in nine races there.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 77.6
Point Standing: 13th
Last Week's Ranking: N/A

7. Kevin Harvick: Harvick was able to rebound from a difficult start at Phoenix to claim a spot on the rankings this week with a fourth-place finish in the race. He overcame trouble on pit road and an early race spin to move up 15 spots in the standings. Harvick will try to repeat the success at Las Vegas where he's coming off a runner-up finish last year.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 71.8
Point Standing: 22nd
Last Week's Ranking: N/A

8. Tony Stewart: Stewart moved up nine spots in the standings to third with a seventh-place finish at Phoenix. He was looking for a better result after leading late in the race and combining for 59 laps led on the day, but an ill-timed caution late in the race foiled his strategy. Stewart will attempt to win the 40th race of his career this weekend at Las Vegas where he's so far gone winless in 12 starts, despite seven top-10 finishes.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 110.9
Point Standing: Third
Last Week's Ranking: N/A

9. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Earnhardt Jr. battled from a poor qualifying effort, loose wheel in the race and a speeding penalty on lap 68 to post a 10th-place finish at Phoenix. He made the most green flag passes with 66 during the race to earn his best finish in the last five races at the track. Junior may be able to gain more footing in the standings at Las Vegas, where he has a 9.3 finishing average in three starts with Hendrick Motorsports at the track.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 87.5
Point Standing: 17th
Last Week's Ranking: Eighth

10. Kasey Kahne: Kahne equaled his best finish since joining Team Red Bull with a sixth-place finish at Phoenix. He spent 291 of the race's 312 laps in the top 15 after starting third. Kahne will make his Las Vegas debut with Red Bull this weekend. In seven starts at the track, he's earned two poles and four top-10 finishes.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 91.5
Point Standing: 15th
Last Week's Ranking: N/A

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