Power Rankings


Jimmie Johnson cemented his spot on top of the Power Rankings by moving well ahead in the Chase, closing in on his sixth Sprint Cup title. (Photo: Getty Images)


Jimmie Johnson cemented his spot on top of the Power Rankings by moving well ahead in the Chase, closing in on his sixth Sprint Cup title.

1. Jimmie Johnson: It got dicey a couple times, but Johnson was able to avoid disaster and knock down a third-place Phoenix finish.  He has his shoe firmly on the throat of his competitors and is ready to step down hard for Sprint Cup championship No. 6 this weekend.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 110.3
Point Standings: 1st
Previous Ranking: 1st

2. Matt Kenseth: Not sure what I'm more surprised by, the fact Kenseth's car was so uncompetitive in Phoenix or how his crew completely failed on the fateful Lap 165 trip down pit road.  Any way you slice it, the performance has left Kenseth with nothing more than the longest of long shots for the title.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 110.0
Point Standings: 2nd
Previous Ranking: 3rd

3. Kevin Harvick: Put Harvick's back against the wall and he'll perform, which is exactly what he did again Sunday with Phoenix career win No. 4 under some more-than-awkward circumstances with the Richard Childress Racing team.  Let's see how the "29" team fares in Harvick's RCR farewell this weekend.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 95.0
Point Standings: 3rd
Previous Ranking: 5th

4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Four top-five finishes in his last seven starts and "Junior" has the third-best average finish in the Chase, 5.9.  Great stats, but the best one of all for "Junior Nation" would be victory No. 1 of the season Sunday in South Florida.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 97.8
Point Standings: 5th
Previous Ranking: 3rd

5. Kyle Busch: Was the best of the Joe Gibbs Racing contingent on Sunday with a top-10 finish.  Too bad the Nationwide Series performances don't count in the Power Rankings.  That series has been Busch's playground this year, where he's won 12 times.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 101.7
Point Standings: 4th
Previous Ranking: 4th

6. Jeff Gordon: Looked like he'd be a major player Sunday with the "24" car out front for 49 laps.  But he faded quickly in the second half of the race and could do no better than to hang on for a 14th-place finish.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 92.2
Point Standings: 6th
Previous Ranking: 6th

7. Brad Keselowski: Seems like an eternity since Keselowski was being hailed as a new kind of NASCAR champion.  Had a decent day in Phoenix and will look to end the year on an up note with a Homestead win.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 93.9
Point Standings: 14th
Previous Ranking: 8th

8. Joey Logano: Logano had a rocket ship of a racecar at one point on Sunday and finished inside the top 10.  Avoided major controversy when Jimmie Johnson was able to save his car after Logano made contact on the opening lap.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 92.1
Point Standings: 9th
Previous Ranking: 9th

9. Clint Bowyer: A mediocre day, at best, in Phoenix as Bowyer moves closer to ending what will certainly be one of the seasons he'd rather forget for a number of reasons.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 93.5
Point Standings: 8th
Previous Ranking: 7th

10. Greg Biffle: Challenging day for Biffle, who started at the rear of the field after a transmission change and had to rally for a 13th-place finish.  Can he return to Homestead glory this weekend at a track where he once won three straight?

Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 83.3
Point Standings: 7th
Previous Ranking: 9th

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