CUP: Talladega Power Rankings

Published May 06, 2013

| Speed

In a stunning upset, Front Row Motorsports teammates David Ragan and David Gilliland swept the top two spots in Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway.

While the Davids shockingly won the battle, it’s no surprise that Goliath — a/k/a Jimmie Johnson — still leads the FOXSports.com/SPEED.com Power Rankings.

This week’s list:

1. JIMMIE JOHNSON — With a fifth-place finish, Johnson has a lead of more than one full race in points over every driver behind second-place Carl Edwards. Amazing. Last week: 1.

2. CARL EDWARDS — When the heavens opened up mid-race, it looked like Cousin Carl would win a rain-shortened race. As it was, he finished third, which was still impressive. Last week: 4.

3. DALE EARNHARDT JR. — Not a great day for Junior, who finished 17th after going down a lap early because of on-track contact with Travis Kvapil. Last week: 2.

4. MATT KENSETH — All told, Kenseth led 142 of 192 laps, but had a bad restart at the end of the race and finished eighth. A tremendous opportunity squandered. Last week: 3.

5. CLINT BOWYER — One of many drivers caught up in late-race contact, Bowyer wasn’t as much of a factor here as he usually is. Last week: 5.

6. BRAD KESELOWSKI — The 2012 champ was furious at the end of the race, when he claimed race-winner David Ragan lined up in the wrong spot. Last week: 9.

7. KASEY KAHNE — Poor Kahne. He was running second when he got clobbered from behind by Kyle Busch. Daytona 500 déjà vu all over again. Last week: 6.

8. ARIC ALMIROLA — Four top-10 finishes in a row for Almirola, who is all the way up to a career-best seventh in points. Last week: 11.

9. KYLE BUSCH — Wow. For the second consecutive restrictor-plate race, Busch ran over Kasey Kahne and triggered a crash. Last week: 7.

10. KEVIN HARVICK — After his surprise victory at Richmond, Harvick came in on a high, which officially ended in a 13-car crash on Lap 43. Last week: 8.

11. GREG BIFFLE — Wrong place, wrong time for the Biff, who got caught in the Big One and knocked out of contention, finishing 36th. Last week: 10.

12. PAUL MENARD — How strange was this race? Menard had engine problems and finished 26th, yet actually moved up two spots in points. Last week: 12.

13. JEFF GORDON — Another innocent victim of the Kyle Busch-Kahne crash, Gordon rebounded to finish 11th. Last week: 14.

14. MARTIN TRUEX JR. — A good run for Truex, who survived all the carnage to finish seventh. Last week: 16.

15. RYAN NEWMAN. — Quote of the week from Newman after getting wrecked: “They can build safer race cars, they can build safer walls. But they can't get their heads out of their ass far enough to keep them on the race track, and that's pretty disappointing.” Last week: 17.

16. JAMIE MCMURRAY — It was a challenging race for McMurray, who finished 23rd. Last week: 13.

17. DAVID RAGAN — A fantastic job by Ragan to score the upset victory and give Front Row Motorsports its first victory. Last week: Unranked.

18. KURT BUSCH — After a terrifying flip in the closing laps, Busch could joke about sticking the landing. Last week: 15.

19. DAVID GILLILAND — Another terrific story, as Gilliland comes out of nowhere to finish second and push Ragan to victory. Last week: Unranked.

20. RICKY STENHOUSE JR. — There could be hell to pay for Stenhouse after triggering a big crash that took out girlfriend Danica Patrick. Oops. Last week: Unranked.

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.

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2013/05/06/cup-talladega-power-rankings/