CUP: Phoenix Power Rankings

It was an ugly affair in the Valley of the Sun, and when it was over, Brad Keselowski was the leader in the Power Rankings.

The new list, following Sunday’s AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway:

1. BRAD KESELOWSKI — A sixth-place finish put Keselowski in firm control of the Chase for the Sprint Cup with just one race to go. Looks like Roger Penske will finally get his first Cup title after 40 years of trying. Last week: 2nd.

2. JIMMIE JOHNSON — While a cut tire left Johnson 32nd, in truth he was slower than Keselowski from the moment he rolled off the truck on Friday until he hit the wall on Sunday. Last week: 1st.

3. KYLE BUSCH — The story of Kyle Busch’s year: He had the dominant car and led the most laps, but didn’t win the race. Déjà vu all over again and not in a good way. Last week: 5th.

4. KASEY KAHNE — Through all the mayhem, it was easy to miss the fact that Kahne finished fourth at Phoenix and moved to third in points, his best position all year. Well done. Last week: 6th.

5. CLINT BOWYER — The folks at 5-Hour Energy have to be delighted with Bowyer after watching him sprint to Jeff Gordon’s hauler after Gordon wrecked him. Could Bowyer be the new working-class hero? Signs point to yes. Last week: 3rd.

6. DENNY HAMLIN — An excellent second-place finish for Hamlin, who still has to be looking at his Chase and wondering about what woulda, coulda, shoulda been. Last week: 9th.

7. MATT KENSETH — At no point this weekend did Kenseth’s Roush Fenway Racing Ford show even a trace of competitiveness with the front-runners. Just flat missed it. Last week: 4th.

8. GREG BIFFLE — A seventh-place finish by Biffle was best in class among the Roushkateers. Not great, not too bad, either. Still, not the Chase he wanted. Last week: 10th.

9. KEVIN HARVICK — Big week for Happy, who broke a 44-race winless streak and apparently will move to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. It will be an interesting 2013 season for Richard Childress Racing. Last week: 13th.

10. TONY STEWART — Not a good day for Stewart, who finished 19th after spinning out late in the race. But with Harvick coming aboard in 2014, SHR should be a powerhouse team. Last week: 8th.

11. MARTIN TRUEX JR. — The Michael Waltrip Racing driver made it just 10 laps before the engine blew up in his Toyota. A very bad day for Truex in what has been a very good year. Last week: 11th.

12. DALE EARNHARDT JR. — A terrible run by Earnhardt, who got lapped by Danica Patrick. It was not the race he had hoped for, not by a long shot. Last week: 12th.

13. RYAN NEWMAN — Although his car was part of the last-lap crash, Newman finished fifth, an excellent performance. Last week: 14th.

14. JEFF GORDON — NASCAR will weigh whether or not to park Gordon after he drilled Clint Bowyer, triggering a wild melee on pit road. Not a good move by Gordon. Last week: 7th.

15. CARL EDWARDS — Still a mystery how Edwards could be so good last year and so ordinary this year. Finished 11th at Phoenix. Last week: 15th.

16. PAUL MENARD — Early in the race, Menard ran in second place and ended the day in ninth place. A good run for Menard, all things considered. Last week: 18th.

17. JOEY LOGANO — After he got caught in the Gordon-Bowyer wreck, Logano Tweeted: “I'm not disrespecting a 4 time champ, A 4 time champ disrespected me today.” Last week: 16th.

18. MARK MARTIN — Another top-10 finish for the ageless one, who is better part-time than many guys who race full-time. Last week: Unranked.

19. ARIC ALMIROLA — A 16th-place run for Almirola, who was fast early, but faded late. Last week: 17th.

20. JEFF BURTON — Although he wrecked Danica Patrick, Burton finished 13th. Last week: 19th.

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