Power Rankings

Carl Edwards

Carl Edwards emerged as the points leader following the Auto Club 400. (Photo: Getty Images)


Season-to-Date Driver Ratings

This week's Power Rankings has Carl Edwards leading after taking the point standings lead following Auto Club Speedway. 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. Carl Edwards: Edwards was able to take over the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points lead with a sixth-place finish at Auto Club Speedway. He made the choice to stay out during the final caution of the race, which helped him maintain a spot in the top 10 at the finish and his standing atop the Power Rankings for the third straight week. Edwards will try to maintain his standing with this weekend's trip to Martinsville, where he's coming off back-to-back eighth-place finishes.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 103.0
Point Standing: First
Last Week's Ranking: First

2. Kyle Busch: Busch had the strongest car during last Sunday's Auto Club 400, except at the end when it mattered most. The driver of the JGR No. 18 Toyota led 151 of the event's 200 laps, but saw his lead lost in the closing laps when the field was reset following the final caution. Busch settled for third-place, instead of grabbing his second consecutive NASCAR weekend sweep. He will have to try to reverse his spring Martinsville fortune if he wants to mount a challenge on the points lead. Busch has finished 22nd or worse in the last three spring races at the track, despite two fourth-place finishes in the fall during that span.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 114.0
Point Standing: Fourth
Last Week's Ranking: Second

3. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson maintains his spot on the Power Rankings after finishing second in California. He was close to winning the race after passing Kyle Busch in the final laps, but couldn't hold on to the lead after facing off with Kevin Harvick. Despite not winning, the finish showed his continued strength in the series. He's now scored three top-three finishes this season and, with the most recent, moved up two spots to fifth in the standings. Johnson is a pretty safe bet at Martinsville, where he's won six times and finished in the top 10 in all but his first of 18 starts at the track.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 95.0
Point Standing: Fifth
Last Week's Ranking: Third

4. Ryan Newman: Newman earned his fourth straight top-10 finish this season with a fifth-place result at ACS. Several smart pit decisions throught the 200-lap race helped him maintain his track position, including the decision to stay out during the last caution. Newman heads to Martinsville just nine points out of the lead in second place. He's scored three top-10 finishes at the track in his four starts with Stewart-Haas Racing.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 102.1
Point Standing: Second
Last Week's Ranking: Fifth

5. Kevin Harvick: Harvick led the single most important lap of the Auto Club 400 - the last one - to earn his 15th career victory and first since last August's win at Michigan. He was able to methodically gain positions during the race after starting 24th, and a decision to stay out on the final caution, ultimately led to him being in position to get around Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson in the last few laps. The victory was also the first for him and Richard Childress Racing at Harvick's homestate track. In addition to this victory momentum, Harvick is coming off his best Martinsville finish with a third-place run last fall. The result was his first top five at the track in 19 starts.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 89.6
Point Standing: Ninth
Last Week's Ranking: 10th

6. Matt Kenseth: Kenseth made the choice to pit for two tires during the final caution of the race, and it paid off in the form of a top-five finish. He ended up being the highest finisher of those who chose to pit. His fourth-place finish is his second consecutive top five this season after he finished fourth at Bristol, and helped move him three spots in the standings, into the top 10. Kenseth is in search of his first top-five finish at Martinsville since 2007 this weekend. He has two top fives and six top 10s in 22 starts at the track.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 83.2
Point Standing: 10th
Last Week's Ranking: Eighth

7. Tony Stewart: Stewart held his No. 14 Chevrolet inside the top five for much of the Auto Club race and even led four times for a total of 11 laps. But, his challenge on the lead faded in the closing laps of the race while he suffered an ill-handling race car. The owner-driver had to settle for a 13th-place finish and three-place drop in the standings to sixth. Stewart is a former winner at Martinsville, having won twice with Joe Gibbs Racing. Since starting his own team, though, he's posted two top 10s in four starts.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 110.6
Point Standing: Sixth
Last Week's Ranking: Seventh

8. Clint Bowyer: Bowyer made it on to the Power Rankings this week after finishing seventh at ACS. His first top-10 finish of the season helped vault him up seven spots in the standings. He'll try to keep the good runs coming at Martinsville this weekend, where .

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 83.6
Point Standing: 17th
Last Week's Ranking: N/R

9. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Earnhardt Jr. was able to improve from his 30th-starting spot in California to grab a 12th-place finish. Despite dropping three spots in the standings as a result, the consistency that the team is experiencing to start the season is a welcome phenomenon. Junior has finished 12th or better in the last four races. He'll try to duplicate or better his fall effort from Martinsville last year - a seventh-place finish - to remain in contention in the standings.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 85.7
Point Standing: 12th
Last Week's Ranking: Ninth

10. Kurt Busch: Busch dropped in the rankings this week after finishing 17th at ACS. He and his team were unable to find much speed at the track and dropped out of the point standings lead to third as a result. Busch will try to get back on track at Martinsville this weekend. He's a previous winner at the track, but has yet to post a top-10 finish in 10 starts with Penske Racing.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 98.9
Point Standing: Third
Last Week's Ranking: Fourth

Off This Week: Paul Menard
Other Notable Drivers Making Moves in the Point Standings: Brian Vickers, +7 to 24th; Jeff Burton, +4 to 25th

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