CUP: Richmond Power Rankings

Kevin Harvick came out of nowhere to win the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night, but it’s Jimmie Johnson who once again holds down the top spot in the Power Rankings.

This week’s list:

1. JIMMIE JOHNSON — The five-time champion finished 12th and never led a lap. But he recovered from being turned around by Tony Stewart, and thanks to problems among his rivals, he widened his points lead again. Last week: 1.

2. DALE EARNHARDT JR. — None of the four Hendrick Chevrolets was fast at Richmond, but Junior’s 10th-place finish was best among the team drivers and his best finish since Auto Club Speedway. Last week: 7.

3. MATT KENSETH — For the second race in a row, Kenseth qualified on the pole and led the most laps. This time, though, he couldn’t get it done and finished seventh. Last week: 2.

4. CARL EDWARDS — With little fanfare, Edwards finished sixth and somehow moved to second in points. He’s been up and down all year and this was a good race for him. Last week: 9.

5. CLINT BOWYER — A runner-up finish for Bowyer, who is one of the best short-track racers in the field and one of the best post-race interviews as well. Last week: 8.

6. KASEY KAHNE — In the previous six races, Kahne hadn’t finished worse than 11th. At RIR Saturday night, he was 21st. Bummer of a night for him. Last week: 3.

7. KYLE BUSCH — The younger Busch was in perfect position to win his fifth straight RIR spring race but pit stops and contact in a late-race crash dropped him to 24th. Last week: 4.

8. KEVIN HARVICK — Congrats to Harvick and Richard Childress Racing on a huge victory. “There ain’t no lame in that game, is there?” Harvick said after earning his 20th career victory. Last week: 13.

9. BRAD KESELOWSKI — It was a difficult night for the defending Sprint Cup champion, who hit the wall and later had engine problems, finishing 33rd. Last week: 5.

10. GREG BIFFLE — A terrible race for Biffle, who broke a shock, spun out and finished 36th. Not much more you can say. Last week: 6.

11. ARIC ALMIROLA — For the third week in a row, Almirola finished in the top eight. Definitely a driver and team on their way up. Last week: 12.

12. PAUL MENARD — A good race but not a great one for Menard, who finished 13th. Last week: 10.

13. JAMIE MCMURRAY — Poor McMurray got hung out on the last restart or he would have had a good finish. Last week: 11.

14. JEFF GORDON — For most of the night, the No. 24 Hendrick Chevrolet was flat awful, but Gordon recovered to finish a respectable 11th. Last week: 15.

15. KURT BUSCH — The elder Busch put on a driving exhibition, although the end result was a somewhat disappointing ninth. Last week: 17.

16. MARTIN TRUEX JR. — Certainly, Truex was expecting to finish better than 17th but that’s what he got. Last week: 14.

17. RYAN NEWMAN. — Best in class among the three Stewart-Haas Racing entries, Newman ended the night 15th. Last week: 16.

18. JUAN PABLO MONTOYA — A poorly timed caution flag cost Montoya what looked like a sure victory. Still, a great run to fourth place. Last week: Unranked.

19. JOEY LOGANO — Third place and no controversy this week for Logano made for a good night. Last week: Unranked.

20. JEFF BURTON — The Virginia native had his best race of the year, finishing a strong fifth. Last week: Unranked.


Toyota Owners 400 at RIR

Points After: Toyota Owners 400 at RIR

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