Posted: 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, June 12, 2013
By Jordan Bianchi
There is no debate or conjecture this week when it comes to figuring out who is atop the NASCAR power rankings following Sunday's race. All one has to do is take a quick at who won the Party in the Poconos 400 and it's easy to see why Jimmie Johnson is again ranked No. 1.
1. Jimmie Johnson (Last week: 1)
Started on the pole, effortlessly won his third race of 2013 and in between, led 128 of a possible 160 laps. What else is there to say?
2. Kevin Harvick (LW: 3)
Harvick was running in the top five when he got dinged for speeding on pit road, that he was able to rally and finish ninth shows how much speed he had in his Chevrolet. He now has posted top 10s in four consecutive races, which is his longest streak since the end of the 2010 season.
3. Kyle Busch (LW: 4)
His detuned Toyota engine stayed in one piece and he finished sixth, so in a way maybe that should count as a win? Now it's off to another high-horsepower track at Michigan where his motor will again be put to the durability test.
4. Matt Kenseth (LW: 2)
Three straight weeks where Kenseth should have finished better than he did but didn't due to circumstances out of his control. Interestingly enough, all three of his top-fives this season have been wins.
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (LW: 8)
You simply can't go two months between top five finishes, which is why Sunday's third was much-needed for a team that had been getting by on its strong start to the season.
6. Clint Bowyer (LW: 5)
The No. 15 team is still susceptible to those races where they are just ordinary. Pocono was one of those outings, as Bowyer had an average running position of 14 and finished 15th.
7. Carl Edwards (LW: 7)
It's hard to believe Edwards sits second in points when his season has been less than spectacular. Then you realize just how consistent he's been with only one finish outside the top 20 and has paired that with four top-fives and seven top-10s.
8. Tony Stewart (LW: 13)
Following a fourth at Pocono -- his third consecutive top 10 -- Stewart has gone from being an also-ran to just 17 points out of 10th. An amazing turnaround in a three week span for a driver who looked like he was in midst of a season that could be defined as lost.
9. Kurt Busch (LW: 11)
It's no longer a surprise that Busch is steadily finishing in the top 10 with the underfunded Furniture Row Racing. And it won't be a surprise when the 2004 Cup champion takes this team to Victory Lane, which could happen any week now.
10. Kasey Kahne (LW: 6)
With transmission problems from the onset, Kahne placed 36th and never got a chance to showcase what many thought was a potential race-winning car. What's worrisome is that for the fifth time in six races he's finished no better than 17th.
11. Denny Hamlin (LW: 14)
An eighth at Pocono should have been enough for Hamlin to gain some ground in the standings. Instead, he loses two points which further highlights why it's going to be difficult for him to make the Chase.
12. Jeff Gordon (LW: 10)
A third the week before at Dover followed by a 12th at Pocono means Gordon still has yet to post top 10 finishes in consecutive races. All of which is pretty astonishing when you think about it.
13. Brad Keselowski (LW: 9)
The most exciting thing about Keselowski's week was the back-and-forth he had with Denny Hamlin about who owned more pairs of shoes. Yes, welcome to the modern era of NASCAR where two high-profile drivers are having a disagreement on who owns more shoes.
14. Greg Biffle (Unranked)
While a "systemic problem may be hindering Roush Fenway Racing, it wasn't enough to keep Biffle from recording his first top 10 in seven races. His runner-up finish was also his best result of the year and now he heads to Michigan where he has three career wins including last August.
15. Juan Pablo Montoya (LW: 15)
Every weekend has of late has been eventful for Montoya. First, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon called him out for being a flopper worthy of an NBA player. Then, Montoya careened off the side of Matt Kenseth causing him to spinout, yet he still went on to finish 14th.