Kasey Kahne won Sunday’s Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but with his eighth top-five finish of the year, Dale Earnhardt Jr. moves back atop the FOXSports.com/SPEED.com Power Rankings for this week.
The new list:
1. DALE EARNHARDT JR. — In his last eight races, Junior has finished eighth or better six times. He is a legitimate title contender this time around. Last week: 2nd.
2. MATT KENSETH — None of the Roush Fenway Racing Fords looked especially good at New Hampshire, where Kenseth struggled to finish 13th. Last week: 1st.
3. BRAD KESELOWSKI — A steady run saw Keselowski advance from his 22nd qualifying spot to finish fifth. Last week: 4th.
4. DENNY HAMLIN — The No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was the car to beat, but miscommunication with crew chief Darian Grubb cost Hamlin the race. Last week: 7th.
5. GREG BIFFLE — A ninth-place finish meant that Biffle was best in class among the Fords in the field, but he was still behind the frontrunners. Last week: 6th.
6. JIMMIE JOHNSON — Short-pitting killed Johnson, who lost critical track position when the caution came out one lap after his stop. Last week: 5th.
7. TONY STEWART — New Hampshire is one of Stewart’s best tracks, but you’d never know it by the way he ran Sunday, struggling to finish 12th. Last week: 3rd.
8. KEVIN HARVICK — Another top-10 finish for the new father, but Harvick is still looking for victory lane. Last week: 8th.
9. CLINT BOWYER — For a time, it seemed as if the two-time New Hampshire winner would triumph again, but third place was still pretty sporty. Last week: 10th.
10. MARTIN TRUEX JR. — A respectable 11th-place finish for Truex, who looks as though he’ll make the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Last week: 9th.
11. KASEY KAHNE — His second victory of the season virtually locks Kahne into the Chase, which is huge. Last week: 14th.
12. KYLE BUSCH — After leading the first 72 laps, two horrible pit stops costs Busch a shot at victory. Bad weekend. Last week: 11th.
13. RYAN NEWMAN — The Stewart-Haas Racing driver finished 10th to keep the wild-card race interesting. Last week: 13th.
14. JOEY LOGANO — Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Hamlin and Busch dominated at New Hampshire, but Logano was way off their pace. Last week: 12th.
15. CARL EDWARDS — For the sixth time in the last seven races, Edwards failed to finish in the top 10. This is a team in trouble. Last week: 15th.
16. JEFF GORDON — For the third time in five races, Gordon finished sixth. But he needs to win or he’ll miss the Chase. Last week: 16th.
17. PAUL MENARD — A 17th-place finish was par for the course for Menard, who has finished between 10th and 20th 13 times in 19 races. Last week: 18th.
18. BRIAN VICKERS — You have to be impressed with the job Vickers has done in four starts for MWR this season. Last week: Unranked.
19. JAMIE MCMURRAY — The EGR cars are struggling, as McMurray’s 20th-place finish shows. Last week: 19th.
20. MARCOS AMBROSE — Nineteenth wasn’t great by any means, but all the Fords struggled this weekend. 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.