CUP: Brickyard Power Rankings

With a fourth-place finish in the Crown Royal Presents The Curtiss Shaver 400 At The Brickyard, Dale Earnhardt Jr. holds onto the top spot in the Power Rankings for this week.

And Earnhardt also moves to the top of the NASCAR Sprint Cup points standings for the first time since 2004.

The new list:

1. DALE EARNHARDT JR. — What are championships made of? Finishing fourth in a car that was barely top-10 in terms of speed, and at one of your weakest tracks. Great run for Earnhardt, who has been very consistent. Last week: 1st.

2. JIMMIE JOHNSON — Four Brickyard 400 victories moves Johnson into a tie with Jeff Gordon for the all-time lead. It’s looking like a sixth title is very much a possibility for Johnson this year. Last week: 6th.

3. DENNY HAMLIN — The pole-winner, Hamlin was the dominant car early, before losing track position and finishing sixth. Speedy lately, but not sealing the deal. Last week: 4th.

4. MATT KENSETH — It was a horrible day for the former points leader, who got wrecked by Joey Logano and finished 35th. Last week: 2nd.

5. GREG BIFFLE — For the second time in three years, Biffle finished third in the Brickyard 400. Last week: 5th.

6. BRAD KESELOWSKI — At one point, it looked as though Keselowski might sweep the weekend, but he faded late and finished ninth. Last week: 3rd.

7. TONY STEWART — Slow all weekend, the three-time champ did well to finish 10th, not what he wanted back home in Indiana. Last week: 7th.

8. MARTIN TRUEX JR. — Another top-10 finish for Truex, who is having the best year of his career. Last week: 10th.

9. KYLE BUSCH — Better than anyone not named Johnson, Busch finished second and gave himself some breathing room in the wild-card race. Last week: 12th.

10. KEVIN HARVICK — Like his buddy Stewart, Harvick wasn’t very good all weekend long, struggling to finish 13th. Last week: 8th.

11. CLINT BOWYER — After a crash, Bowyer recovered to finish 15th, not bad under the circumstances. Last week: 9th.

12. KASEY KAHNE — The worst finisher among the four Hendrick Chevrolets, Kahne was erratic and came home 12th. Still leads the wild-card standings. Last week: 11th.

13. RYAN NEWMAN — Seventh-place was better than the boss did, but Newman might not be back next year at SHR. Last week: 13th.

14. JEFF GORDON — Original Four-Time now has finished fifth or sixth in five of the last six races. And he won’t make the Chase. Last week: 16th.

15. PAUL MENARD — Alas, no repeat for 2011 winner Menard, who finished 14th. Last week: 17th.

16. CARL EDWARDS — Engine problems and a 29th-place finish mean you can stick a fork in Edwards’ title hopes. They’re done. Last week: 15th.

17. JOEY LOGANO — Thirty-third for Logano, after causing a wreck that took out Kenseth. Last week: 14th.

18. JAMIE MCMURRAY — For McMurray, his 2010 Brickyard victory has to feel like a long time ago Last week: 19th.

19. MARCOS AMBROSE — A respectable 20th-place finish for Ambrose. Last week: 20th.

20. JUAN PABLO MONTOYA — The Colombia native finished 21st, one position ahead of his teammate. Last week: Unranked.

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