The boys of NASCAR were in the desert this weekend. Some guys(well, one to be exact) got their thirst for victory quenched while others continued on a long, dry spell.
Our biggest movers this week are AJ Allmendinger and Phoenix winner Jeff Gordon, each up seven spots. The big loser was Regan Smith, down eight spots after an early accident.
New to the rankings this week are Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne. They enter at the expense of Greg Biffle and last week’s winner Trevor Bayne. Bayne falling out of the rankings has nothing to do with his driving ability and everything to do with the fact that he sits 42nd in Cup standings with exactly zero points.
So without further adieu, here are this week’s Stock Car Spin NASCAR Power Rankings:
1. Kyle Busch(Last week: 4[+3]): Two weeks, two wrecks, and the guy still brings it home in the top 10 both weeks. Rowdy’s one of two drivers who have finished in the top 10 in both races, and he currently leads the standings.
2. Kurt Busch(LW: 3[+1]): The other driver with two top 10s, the elder Busch sits shotgun in the standings to his brother. It’ll be a nice homecoming this weekend in Vegas for the Busch boys.
3. Carl Edwards(LW: 2[-1]): An early wreck took the fastest car in Phoenix out of contention early. It’s alright though; Cuz has what it takes to climb the standings quickly, especially at this stage of the season.
4. Tony Stewart(LW: 6[+2]): Smoke really hasn’t been that impressive through two races, yet he sits tied for third in the standings. Let’s see if the consistency pays off as the season wears on.
5. AJ Allmendinger(LW: 12[+7]): Would you believe Dinger has an average finish of tenth this season and is tied for third in the standings with Stewart? Of course, Tony holds the spot with the new “Most Track Owners Knocked Out” tiebreaker rule.
6. Jeff Gordon(LW 13[+7]): Big Daddy hungry! Ok, maybe not anymore after his 66-race winless streak was snapped at Phoenix. Now that Gordon’s no longer as hungry for a win, does that mean his Drive to End Hunger sponsor has to go somewhere else?
7. Juan Pablo Montoya(LW: 5[-2]): Montoya was awful at Phoenix. But thanks to the fact that everybody else has been terrible at least once this year already, Juan still sits in the top 10 in the standings.
8. Jimmie Johnson(LW: 10[+2]): I refuse to call him “5-time”, but Jimmie was back with a third-place finish at Phoenix. However, until he cracks into the Chase, he will remain down here with the “low-lives”.
9. Mark Martin(LW: 14[+5]): The Kid’s getting it done so far this year. Can you believe that Martin is sixth in the standings and has yet to finish a race without front-end damage? Neither can I.
10. Kevin Harvick(LW: 15[+5]): The blown engine at Daytona was a fluke, and Harvick showed his true colors at Phoenix. So why is Not-So-Happy still down here? See: Johnson, Jimmie.
11. Denny Hamlin(LW: 8[-3]): It’s easy to say Denny isn’t as good this year as he was last year. But bear in mind, he didn’t have a top 10 last year until race six at Martinsville. Be patient with Hamster.
12. Ryan Newman(LW: NR): I completely forgot about Rocketman after Daytona. But a top 5 at Phoenix put Newman right up in the top 10 in points. I know he’s here now.
13. Clint Bowyer(LW: 7[-6]): It’s not Clint’s fault he’s been caught up in two wrecks. However, seeing as he’s 21st in the standings I feel like I’m being too generous with him.
14. Jamie McMurray(LW: 9[-5]): J-Mac is in worse shape than Bowyer. But he seemed happy after his crash and if he’s happy, I’m happy.
15. Dale Earnhardt Jr(LW: 19[+4]): Uh, guys? Junior finish 10th at Phoenix. That’s Junior, finishing in the top 10, at a track not named “Daytona” or ending in “Dega”.
16. Kasey Kahne(LW: NR): Kasey had a terrific run at Phoenix and showed that he’s a force to be reckoned with in that Red Bull car. Unfortunately, Mike Joy still thinks Kahne drives the Bud car.
17. Bobby Labonte(LW: 17[+/-0)]): Bobby is seventh in the standings, which is far better than most guys on this list. However, I need to see signs that he isn’t a fluke before I move him up too far. Or he could just win the Daytona 500 like Trevor Bayne.
18. Paul Menard(LW: 16[-2]): Paul ran so-so at Phoenix, which right now is actually good enough. That is, until everybody else quits struggling.
19. Regan Smith(LW: 11[-8]): To be fair to Regan, he was running very well before getting taken out in an unlikely “Big One” of sorts. If his intermediate program is strong, he’ll move back up.
20. David Gilliland(LW: 20[+/-0]): He’s still top 10 in the standings. Give Gilly another week to enjoy his spot here.
Topics: AJ Allmendinger, Bobby Labonte, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr, David Gilliland, Denny Hamlin, Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Juan Pablo Montoya, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Mark Martin, Paul Menard, Phoenix International Raceway, Power Rankings, Regan Smith, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart