The boys of NASCAR were in Las Vegas this weekend. One driver came up aces, while several others were a bust.
Carl Edwards, this week’s winner, climbs one spot in this week’s SCS Power Rankings to second. Tony Stewart assumes the top spot after taking over the points lead in Vegas. Our big mover this week is Paul Menard, up 10 spots after a 12th place effort in Vegas moved him up to sixth in the standings. Our big loser is Phoenix winner Jeff Gordon, down 8 spots after crashing out in Vegas.
New this week are Martin Truex Jr., Marcos Ambrose, and Brian Vickers. They move in at the expense of David Gilliland, Regan Smith, and Jamie McMurray.
And without further adieu, here are this week’s SCS NASCAR Power Rankings:
1. Tony Stewart(Last Week: 4[+3]): Smoke dominated Vegas in route to a second-place finish and took over the points lead. With this consistency, Stewart is(wait for it)…beating up the competition like an Australian short-track owner.
2. Carl Edwards(LW: 3[+1]): Cousin Carl returned to Victory Lane at Las Vegas. This trip sure beats the one he had last time he won at Vegas, when post-race inspection problems cost him 100 points in 2008. How many points is that equivalent to under the new system?
3. Kurt Busch(LW: 2[-1]): Not the homecoming the Busch family wanted, but Kurt made out alright as he finished ninth and maintained second position in the standings.
4. Juan Pablo Montoya(LW: 7[+3]): The Colombian finished third at Vegas with the blue Clorox car. Amazing what Juan can do when he doesn’t have a Target on his back. Or his quarter-panels.
5. Ryan Newman(LW: 12[+7]): Two consecutive top 5s for Rocketman. The last time Ryan did that, Brooklyn Newman wasn’t even born.
6. Kyle Busch(LW: 1[-5]): See: Busch, Kurt. Only minus the part about him making out alright. Kyle’s homecoming was a disaster, or a hot mess, if you will.
7. Martin Truex Jr(LW: NR): I feel ashamed that I didn’t rank Martin in these rankings sooner. First, he can’t get a word in with you-know-who, and then I completely neglect him. He’s here now though. Let’s see if Truex has the “Know How” to stay here.
8. Paul Menard(LW: 18[+10]): Believe it or not, that neon-yellow car you saw spin out on Sunday was not Paul Menard. Paul was busy running with the leaders and climbing to sixth in the standings.
9. AJ Allmendinger(LW: 5[-4]): Dinger’s 19th-place effort was good enough to keep him in the top 10 in the standings for now. Let’s just hope their intermediate program isn’t that atrocious all season.
10. Denny Hamlin(LW: 11[+1]): Denny finished seventh at Las Vegas, earning his first top 10 of the season twice as fast as he did in 2010. Does that mean Hamster’s better in 2011 than he was in 2010? We’ll soon find out.
11. Jimmie Johnson(LW: 8[-3]): Wasn’t even a factor at a track he found Victory Lane at last year. Good news for Jimmie though is that he cracked the top 12. Bad news is it’s irrelevant unless he wins. I’m still not calling him “5-time”.
12. Dale Earnhardt Jr(LW: 15[+3]): Fact: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the highest-ranked Hendrick Motorsports driver in the standings at 10th. If Jeff Gordon would’ve lost two more spots in the standings, Junior would also be Hendrick’s only Chase driver at the moment.
13. Mark Martin(LW: 9[-4]): Not really sure what happened to Mark at Vegas. His first three finishes are 10th, 13th, and 18th respectively. Not bad, but Martin’s heading in the wrong direction.
14. Jeff Gordon(LW: 6[-8]): Gordon was an innocent victim of circumstances at Vegas. Think I’m being to hard on Big Daddy by dropping him 8 spots? Tell that to the standings, where he lost 14 spots after his accident.
15. Kevin Harvick(LW: 10[-5]): Not-So-Happy gained two spots in the standings. The drivers he jumped? David Gilliland and Bill Elliott. Harvick still has a long way to go.
16. Kasey Kahne(LW: 16[+/-0]): Kasey quietly sits 13th in the standings. Not bad, but not that great either.
17. Clint Bowyer(LW: 13[-4]): Clint’s season so far has been downright awful. He sits 18th in the standings, but has yet to finish in the top 10 this season. Heck, Junior’s already done that twice.
18. Marcos Ambrose(LW: NR): Great run for the Tasmanian at Vegas, finishing fourth. With that, Ambrose has more top 10s than four of last year’s Chasers, and more top 5s than five of them. And we haven’t even gotten to Sonoma yet.
19. Bobby Labonte(LW: 17[-2]): Bobby is starting to show a bit more of what we expected from him, which are mid-pack runs. Still, Labonte sits 15th in the standings; well within striking distance.
20. Brian Vickers(LW: NR): Great to see Brian get his first top 10 since hopping back into a race car. The irony? His buddy from Phoenix, Matt Kenseth, finished one spot behind him in 11th.
Topics: AJ Allmendinger, Bobby Labonte, Brian Vickers, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Denny Hamlin, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Juan Pablo Montoya, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Las Vegas, Marcos Ambrose, Mark Martin, Martin Truex Jr., Paul Menard, Power Rankings, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart