CUP: Talladega Power Rankings

Brad Keselowski came up huge at Talladega Superspeedway, dodging mayhem to win the Aaron’s 499, his second NASCAR Sprint Cup victory of the season. But it’s Greg Biffle who moves back to the No. 1 slot in the Power Rankings after scoring his sixth top-five in 10 races.

This week’s list:

1. GREG BIFFLE — Had Biffle been able to stay on Matt Kenseth’s bumper at the end, it would have been a Roush Fenway 1-2. But it wasn’t. Still, fifth isn’t bad. Last week: 2nd.

2. DALE EARNHARDT JR. — Junior led some laps, wowed the Alabama crowd and put on a great show. But at money time, working with David Ragan and Trevor Bayne didn’t get it done. Last week: 1st.

3. MATT KENSETH — The Daytona 500 winner led the most laps and had the best car, but had to settle for third, when he and Biffle couldn’t stay hooked up. Last week: 4th.

4. KYLE BUSCH — He won last week in Richmond and finished second at Talladega. Look out drivers, Kyle Busch is coming at you like a spider monkey. Last week: 9th.

5. BRAD KESELOWSKI — Now that he has two race victories, Keselowski is a virtual lock to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup. And he’ll do some damage when he gets there. Last week: 13th.

6. DENNY HAMLIN — Finishing 23rd at Talladega means Hamlin stays where he is in the power rankings. Still, with two victories he’s in great shape. Last week: 6th.

7. TONY STEWART — For a time, it looked like Stewart had a great shot at victory or at least a sold top-five. He finished 24th. You’ll have that at Talladega. Last week: 5th.

8. JIMMIE JOHNSON — A broken oil-pump belt meant Johnson is now 0-for-restrictor-plate tracks this season. Could this be the first time in his career he misses the Chase? Nah. Last week: 3rd.

9. KEVIN HARVICK — Usually a threat to win at every plate track, Harvick got crashed out and finished 24th. Not his fault, but still not good. Last week: 10th.

10. MARTIN TRUEX JR. — A second consecutive poor outing for Truex, who finished a season’s worst 28th after finishing 25th at Richmond. Last week: 7th.

11. CLINT BOWYER — After finishing first or second in the prior three Talladega races, Bowyer finished sixth on Sunday. Most everyone else would have been happy. Last week: 11th.

12. CARL EDWARDS — Don’t look now, but Cousin Carl is outside the top 10 in points, while teammates Biffle and Kenseth are 1-2. Awkward. Last week: 8th.

13. RYAN NEWMAN — It was a brutal day for Newman, who suffered the same fate as Jimmie Johnson, losing an oil-pump belt. Last week: 12th.

14. JAMIE McMURRAY — An 11th-place run was McMurray’s fourth consecutive top-15 finish. Last week: 20th.

15. KASEY KAHNE — After a wretched start to the season, Kahne posted his fourth straight top 10 and second straight top five. Last week: 18th.

16. PAUL MENARD — All in all, a decent outing for Menard, who ended the race 17th. Last week: 15th.

17. JOEY LOGANO — Like so many others, Logano’s day ended with both disappointment and a torn-up race car. Last week: 16th.

18. JUAN PABLO MONTOYA — See Joey Logano, above. Last week: 17th.

19. JEFF BURTON — A 10th-place run was Burton’s best result since Bristol. Last week: Unranked.

20. MARK MARTIN — The ageless one didn’t even compete at Talladega. And he’s still better than most of those who did. Last week: 14th.

Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for You can follow him online at