New Leader in Power Rankings

M.Kenseth

On the strength of a series-leading five victories with his Bristol win, Matt Kenseth has surged to the top of this week's Power Rankings. (Photo: Getty Images)

On the strength of a series-leading five victories with his Bristol win, Matt Kenseth has surged to the top of this week's Power Rankings.

1. Matt Kenseth: He locked up a Chase spot with victory No. 5 Saturday night in Bristol and looks to be back in the same form he started the year with.  After an up-and-down summer, Kenseth is heading in the right direction with the post-season right around the corner.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 109.2
Point Standings: 6th
Previous Ranking: 7th

2. Jimmie Johnson: All of a sudden, the "48" team doesn't look that unbeatable, does it?  Two bad races in Michigan and Bristol have sliced Johnson's lead to just 18 points.  But more importantly, momentum has disappeared from the five-time champion.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 108.7
Point Standings: 1st
Previous Ranking: 1st

3. Kasey Kahne: If you expected Kahne to punt Kenseth to win Saturday night at Bristol, you haven't been paying attention to his career.  Bigger picture is that the No. 5 team is running on all eight cylinders and then some as the playoffs approach.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 101.2
Point Standings: 8th
Previous Ranking: 10th

4. Clint Bowyer: It's not often you see the race leader get knocked out of the top spot by a back marker, but that was Bowyer's fate Saturday night in Bristol.  It may have been his best chance for a win, which he desperately needs before the Chase begins.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 93.4
Point Standings: 2nd
Previous Ranking: 3rd

5. Kevin Harvick: NASCAR officials should not have blocked Harvick's way when he tried to discuss what happened Saturday night with Denny Hamlin.  The sport needs emotion and that sucked the life out of a dramatic moment in "Thunder Valley."

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 92.7
Point Standings: 4th
Previous Ranking: 2nd

6. Carl Edwards: Led the way for 199 laps in Bristol until he was sidelined by an engine failure.  Cause for alarm inside the Ford camp?  The No. 99 team says no, but it was a disappointing way to end what could have been a magical night.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 93.6
Point Standings: 3rd
Previous Ranking: 6th

7. Kyle Busch: After taking the first two races of the Bristol tripleheader, Busch found things much more difficult in the main event.  Started in the hole after a qualifying mishap but still turned in a decent 11th-place finish.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 101.9
Point Standings: 5th
Previous Ranking: 4th

8. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Led 32 laps and came away with a top-10 finish at Bristol to stop the recent bleeding.  The "88" team can breathe a sigh of relief for now, but the pressure to make the Chase will still be on at Atlanta and Richmond.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 94.9
Point Standings: 7th
Previous Ranking: 8th

9. Joey Logano: Rebounded from an early-race incident to follow his Michigan victory with a fifth-place run in Bristol.  That effort helped the Penske Racing driver surge into the Chase field for now, unfortunately at the expense of teammate Brad Keselowski.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 88.8
Point Standings: 10th
Previous Ranking: N/R

10. Kurt Busch: A loose wheel doomed his night before it started.  Busch slipped out of the Chase field and now that his future is secure at Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014, it will be interesting to see how the Furniture Row Racing team responds the rest of 2013.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 93.8
Point Standings: 12th
Previous Ranking: 5th

Dropped out: Brad Keselowski

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, Matt Kenseth

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