By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on March 18, 2014 | 7:36 A.M. EST
Brad Keselowski takes over the No. 1 spot from Dale Earnhardt Jr. in this week's Power Rankings. (Photo: Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski didn't have the best day Sunday in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, but it was good enough to propel him to the top of this week's Power Rankings:
1. Brad Keselowski: Team Penske continues to power through the early part of the season. Keselowski ran into the back of Jamie McMurray when Kevin Harvick had problems in front of them but still notched a 14th-place finish with a battered racecar.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 117.9
Point Standings: 1st
Previous Ranking: 2nd
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: The streak of finishing first or second ended with Earnhardt’s worst outing since an engine failure relegated him to 35th at Chicagoland Speedway in the opening race of the Chase last year. Earnhardt fought an ill-handling car to finish to 24th at Bristol.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 113.0
Point Standings: 2nd
Previous Ranking: 1st
3. Carl Edwards: A big mover this week thanks to his Bristol victory. Got big help from crew chief Jimmy Fennig's pit strategy but still had a fast car and outran the field in the closing laps of Sunday's long race.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 97.7
Point Standings: 3rd
Previous Ranking: 7th
4. Jeff Gordon: The Hendrick Motorsports driver is the only driver to finish in the top 10 in all four races this season. Another solid day in Bristol even with a pit road adventure or two during the day.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 100.5
Point Standings: 4th
Previous Ranking: 6th
5. Kevin Harvick: Once again Harvick had a lightning fast car in Bristol and looked like he'd be the season's first repeat winner for a time. A mechanical failure sent him into the wall and he made a fiery exit from the race.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 106.7
Point Standings: 21st
Previous Ranking: 4th
6. Joey Logano: No power steering frustrated Logano early in Sunday's race. He was able to wrestle through the problem until it returned and managed a respectable - considering the circumstances - 20th-place finish.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 107.6
Point Standings: 6th
Previous Ranking: 3rd
7. Jimmie Johnson: Bristol hasn't been one of Johnson's best tracks, but the six-time champion had a car capable of leading and competing for the win. A tire that literally unraveled hurt Johnson's chances of winning.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 106.3
Point Standings: 5th
Previous Ranking: 5th
8. Denny Hamlin: Started the weekend strong by winning the pole and was fast early. He faded as the race wore on and settled for a sixth-place finish.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 93.7
Point Standings: 7th
Previous Ranking: 10th
9. Matt Kenseth: Was fast early and actually faster after getting rear-ended by Timmy Hill in a weird accident after the caution flew. Kenseth led the most laps Sunday and finished 13th.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 100.3
Point Standings: 8th
Previous Ranking: 9th
10. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Raced his way into this week's rankings on the strength of a solid runner-up finish to Carl Edwards in Bristol and a career-best Sprint Cup Series finish. Didn't get the chance to challenge Edwards in what would have been an interesting green-white-checkered finish.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 75.6
Point Standings: 10th
Previous Ranking: NR
Dropped Out: Ryan Newman