Published September 30, 2012
With his fifth victory of the season and second in three races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Brad Keselowski moves back atop the FOXSports.com/SPEED.com Power Rankings.
The new list, following Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway:
1. BRAD KESELOWSKI — Kyle Busch dominated, but Keselowski and crew chief Paul Wolfe played the fuel mileage game to perfection to score a huge victory. Last week: 3rd.
2. JIMMIE JOHNSON — A fourth-place finish was Johnson’s worst so far in the Chase, but he’s still in very good shape, Chase-wise, as he trails Keselowski by five points. Last week: 1st.
3. DENNY HAMLIN — On the one hand, Hamlin got a top 10 at what he says is his worst track. On the other hand, he lost critical ground in the points. Will a lack of fuel mileage haunt him again? Last week: 2nd.
4. CLINT BOWYER — Another top-10 for Bowyer, but his performance was only good, not great. Thought he might have finished better. Last week: 6th.
5. JEFF GORDON — For the fifth time in six races, Gordon finished second or third. And he’s still pretty much out of championship contention. Last week: 7th.
6. DALE EARNHARDT JR. — An early caution during a cycle of green-flag stops meant Junior was a lap down for almost all of the race. Did well to finish 11th. Last week: 8th.
7. TONY STEWART — The three-time and defending champion said he was worried about this race. Turns out he had good reason. Last week: 5th.
8. KASEY KAHNE — Two disastrous pit stops killed a sure top five for Kahne and maybe his title chances. Last week: 4th.
9. KYLE BUSCH — Would’a, could’a, should’a. How the hell did Busch and this team miss the Chase? Last week: 15th.
10. MARTIN TRUEX JR. — An excellent run for Truex, who finished sixth. Last week: 11th.
11. KEVIN HARVICK — Bottom line? Harvick’s cars simply aren’t fast enough for him to race with the Hendrick and Gibbs cars. Last week: 9th.
12. GREG BIFFLE — A tire problem killed any chances of a good finish for Biffle, who is in deep trouble in the Chase. Last week: 9th.
13. MATT KENSETH — A broken track bar and a crash meant a hugely disappointing finish at one of Kenseth’s best tracks. Last week: 10th.
14. RYAN NEWMAN — It was not a good day for any of the Stewart-Haas cars, as Newman finished three laps down. Last week 10th.
15. JOEY LOGANO — Tenth for Logano was OK, but he was behind both his teammates all day. Last week: 14th.
16. MARK MARTIN — Even on a part-time schedule, Martin’s still better than a lot of the drivers out there as he showed with a third-place run. Last week: Unranked.
17. CARL EDWARDS — The last time Edwards finished in the top five? At Auto Club Speedway in the spring. Last week: 18th.
18. PAUL MENARD — Still stuck in the neverland of 15th-20th place, Menard needs more speed, just like his teammates. Last week: 16th.
19. MARCOS AMBROSE — Ran about where he ranks here, as Ambrose had an afternoon that was OK, but nothing more. Last week: 19th.
20. JEFF BURTON — The entire Richard Childress Racing organization continues to look lost. Last week: 20th.
Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100.