Power Rankings After Auto Club
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on March 22, 2016 | 9:04 A.M. EST
Jimmie Johnson became the first repeat winner of 2016 at Auto Club Speedway and takes the top spot in this week's Power Rankings. (Photo: Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson became the first repeat winner of 2016 at Auto Club Speedway and takes the top spot in this week's Power Rankings.
1. Jimmie Johnson: A strong performance by Johnson and the No. 48 team yielded his second win of the year, sixth of his career at ACS and Sprint Cup Series triumph No. 77, which moved him past Dale Earnhardt on the all-time list ... quite the homecoming for the Southern California native.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 111.3
Points Standing: 1st
Previous Ranking: 5th
2. Kevin Harvick: It's back to his nickname of "Mr. Second Place" as Harvick finished in the runner-up spot for the 15th time since the start of the 2015 season. Had not the late-race caution flown, Harvick could easily have scored back-to-back wins after his Phoenix triumph the week before.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 124.4
Points Standing: 2nd
Previous Ranking: 2nd
3. Denny Hamlin: Had the lead on the day's final restart but could not keep it and finished third. Still, considering challenges with his radio communication and a speeding penalty on pit road, it was not a bad day for the Daytona 500 winner.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 95.8
Points Standing: T-4th
Previous Ranking: 3rd
4. Kyle Busch: Despite not having one of the fastest cars in the race, Busch made a strong push late in the race and had moved into second place ... until he shredded a right-front tire, ending his streak of four straight top-five finishes to start the year.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 106.0
Points Standing: T-4th
Previous Ranking: 1st
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Wasn't happy most of the race, which began with him making contact with Kurt Busch. The team worked on the No. 88 car's handling all day and ended up with a decent (if not flashy) 11th place.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 94.0
Points Standing: 8th
Previous Ranking: 4th
6. Joey Logano: The top-five finish for Logano isn't the whole story. He got into a skirmish with Martin Truex Jr. that ended with the No. 78 car hitting the wall and Logano apologizing for the incident. However tensions seem to remain high between the two.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 105.2
Points Standing: 6th
Previous Ranking: 9th
7. Brad Keselowski: Decent rebound from his previous disappointment at Phoenix. Keselowski had to overcome a penalty on pit road in Fontana but rallied to post a top-10 finish.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.4
Points Standing: 9th
Previous Ranking: 7th
8. Carl Edwards: There were times on Sunday when Edwards was very good and running near the lead. Other times, he fell back including when it counted late in the race. It added up to a seventh-place finish.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 98.1
Points Standing: 3rd
Previous Ranking: 8th
9. Kurt Busch: It was a weekend in Southern California that the older Busch brother would like to forget. He scraped the wall in practice and things got worse in the race, when Dale Earnhardt Jr. made contact with the Stewart-Haas Racing driver early in Sunday's Auto Club 400.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 88.2
Points Standing: 7th
Previous Ranking: 6th
10. Austin Dillon: His Fontana weekend started off great with a Sprint Cup Series pole and XFINITY Series victory. However, Dillon couldn't stay near the front of the field in the Auto Club 400 after starting from the best position and finished a disappointing 24th.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 88.5
Points Standing: 10th
Previous Ranking: 10th