After a wild and crazy Daytona 500, 20-year old Trevor Bayne came across the stripe as the youngest winner of the Great American Race.
So naturally, he takes the No. 1 spot in the rankings this week. Since Bayne isn’t running a full-time Cup schedule, he likely won’t stay there long. But he does have a week to enjoy it at least. Carl Edwards takes the number two spot, while Kurt Busch takes third.
Several drivers took big hits this week, including Kevin Harvick and Greg Biffle, who each lost 11 spots. Several drivers also fell out of the rankings, including Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne, Brian Vickers, Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth, David Reutimann, and Brad Keselowski.
New this week are Bayne, Regan Smith, Mark Martin, Paul Menard, Bobby Labonte, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and David Gilliland.
Without further adieu, here are your Power Rankings for this week:
1. Trevor Bayne(Last Week: Not Ranked): What a story this young man is. And since he’s a the only guy in Sprint Cup competition with a win this season, everybody else is looking up at him in the rankings this week. Too bad that with NASCAR’s rule changes, the same doesn’t go for the standings.
2. Carl Edwards(LW: 2[+/-0]): Cousin Carl pushed his young Roush development driver teammate into Victory Lane on Sunday. With that, Cuz takes over an early lead in the standings. Good teamwork or strategic thinking? Could be both.
3. Kurt Busch(LW: 9[+7]): The elder Busch nearly swept Speedweeks in his new wheels. Unfortunately, Kurt couldn’t win when there were other Dodges in the field.
4. Kyle Busch(LW: 6[+2]): Rowdy’s car was so beat up after the 500 it’s a wonder anybody would want to sponsor him, even if it is a contest prize. Even still, the newlywed still got the job done this week.
5. Juan Pablo Montoya(LW: 19[+14]): Juan spun twice, nearly wrecked twice more, never hit anything, and brought it home in sixth. Who says foreigners can’t drive?
6. Tony Stewart(LW: 12[+6]): Where there’s Smoke, there’s a flat tire. Stewart lost his drafting buddy Dale Jr. late in the race due to Junior’s flat tire and faded to 13th. Brian France owns the track, so if Tony’s angry I think I’d find a place to hide if I were him.
7. Clint Bowyer(LW: 11[+4]): Rough end to a great Speedweeks for Clint. At least he survived the ECR engine woes and salvaged a 17-place finish.
8. Denny Hamlin(LW: 3[-5]): We didn’t hear much from Denny until late in the race, and then he got caught up in a wreck. Even with damage, his car is still adorable.
9. Jamie McMurray(LW: 5[-4]): McMurray’s radio communications when he spun Montoya: “Holy mackerel! That was a crappie move…” When he lost a cylinder: “Looks like I won’t be able to reel in the leaders anymore, guys.” Alright, not really.
10. Jimmie Johnson(LW: 1[-9]): I told you two weeks ago that J.J. wouldn’t be atop the rankings after Daytona, and see? I was right! Of course, I do the rankings, so…
11. Regan Smith(LW: NR): Regan accomplished two things at Daytona: 1. Earned his best career finish, and 2. Showed the world that he can drive a race car. Let’s see if he can get something going this season.
12. AJ Allmendinger(LW: 13[+1]): AJ has to be a little disappointed after not really being a factor in the 500. On the bright side, he did manage to stay out of the two messes Michael Waltrip caused.
13. Jeff Gordon(LW: 8[-5]): Rough start for Jeff Gordon as well, but he’s got bigger problems. The NASCAR on Fox announcers seem to like calling him “Big Daddy”, which is very disturbing. That’s not a driver name; that’s a pimp name. Or a stripper name. Ew!
14. Mark Martin(LW: NR): From “Big Daddy” to “Godaddy”, Mark came back from three laps down after a crash to finish in the top 10. And this is the guy Rick Hendrick is letting go of for Kasey Kahne.
15. Kevin Harvick(LW: 4[-11]): Harvick actually seemed pretty happy when he got out of his car after blowing up and finishing 42nd. Either his attitude has changed or he was just that pumped up to hop on the viking boat carnival ride they had set up outside the backstretch.
16. Paul Menard(LW: NR): The Menard boy was very competitive at Daytona, and seemed to enjoy the ECR motors a lot. If he can keep it up, Paul could be a Chase sleeper this year.
17. Bobby Labonte(LW: NR): Where did he come from?!? Bobby hung out at the back all day with the oldies, but when it came time to go Robby Gordon pushed him to the front, and eventually Labonte helped Bayne win the whole thing. Not a bad start to the season.
18. Greg Biffle(LW: 7[-11]): Biffle’s day in a nutshell: Got wrecked, wrecked his teammate, got wrecked. Time for Biff to go home.
19. Dale Earnhardt Jr.(LW: NR): I’ll tell you what I love about Dale Jr. Every time he takes the lead, the crowd automatically gets louder, and so do the cars.
20. David Gilliland(LW: NR): Sure, the odds of ol’ Gilly being here next week are about as good as Kevin Conway winning the championship. But he did finish third in the Daytona 500, so we’ll let him enjoy this.
Topics: AJ Allmendinger, Bobby Labonte, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr, David Gilliland, Daytona 500, Denny Hamlin, Greg Biffle, Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Juan Pablo Montoya, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Mark Martin, Paul Menard, Power Rankings, Regan Smith, Tony Stewart, Trevor Bayne