Each week, I will rank the top 20 drivers based on overall performance during that week’s race combined with their position in the overall standings. Consideration will also be given to driver’s who demonstrate consistency over an extended period of time during the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup series season.
1. Matt Kenseth- So, the proverbial anything you can do, I can do better battle between Matt Kenseth & Jimmie Johnson wages on following Martinsville. And much to the surprise of many Matt Kenseth heads into Texas Motor Speedway with a slight advantage over good ol’ five time.
Matt Kenseth’s finished no worse than 5th in 5 of the last 6 races at Texas Motor Speedway.
2. Jimmie Johnson- Jimmie Johnson’s almost certainly thinking, what can I do to bridge some distance between myself and Matt Kenseth? Don’t be fooled by appearances. Anytime Jimmie Johnson is hovering around the top 5 in points, he has a legitimate chance at winning the title.
In case you forgot, Jimmie Johnson is the defending winner of the AAA Texas 500.
3. Jeff Gordon- Remarkably Jeff Gordon has found a way to turn back the clock. His AARP Drive to end hunger team bears a striking resemblance to the Rainbow Warriors. To say he’s made the most of his lucky #13 chase wild card berth would be a colossal understatement.
Jeff Gordon scored his lone career Texas Motor Speedway victory back in the spring of 2009.
4. Kevin Harvick- Kevin Harvick’s apologetic weekend consisted of slamming the boss’s grandson’s on Saturday; clearly he’s been holding his feeling about the Dillon’s bottled up for quite some time. Then get this on Sunday Harvick would dump future RCR driver Ryan Newman in the closing stages of the race. Oh yeah, he was sorry about that incident also. Amidst all the chaos the closer remains only 28 markers out of first.
Harvick’s best career finish at Texas Motor Speedway was 3rd in the fall of 2006.
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.- Dale Jr.’s loyal followers undoubtedly are disappointed he won’t be crowed this season’s champion, but he may very well snap that dubious winless streak before it’s all said and done.
Dale Jr. scored his first career NSCS victory at Texas Motor Speedway in the spring of 2000.
6. Kyle Busch- What’s encouraging about Kyle Busch’s 2013 chase is he’s looked virtually flawless on occasion. What’s discouraging is, we’ve seen this movie before, and the ending never changes.
Kyle Busch won his first race at Texas Motor Speedway in the spring of 2013.
7. Greg Biffle- Greg Biffle reignited a burning desire deep down inside of him Sunday afternoon following a post-race squabble with Jimmie Johnson. You gotta respect a guy who takes no bull!
Greg Biffle has finished inside the top 10 in the last 10 races at Texas Motor Speedway.
8. Clint Bowyer- Clint Bowyer appears to have turned the corner recently. Respectable finishes of 10th at Talladega and 3rd at Martinsville breeds a flurry of much needed optimism into a famished organization.
9. Carl Edwards- Although cuz won’t be vying for NASCAR’s top prize in the final 3 races of the season, he’ll have to scratch and claw his way to maintain his position on the grand stage come December.
Carl has 3 career wins at Texas Motor Speedway, including a sweep of the track in 2008.
10. Jamie McMurray- Jamie Mac’s racing as if he’s apart of the 13 driver chase, but that doesn’t seem to spoil his recent string of good fortune.
11. Brad Keselowski- The soon to be former champ finished a respectable 4th at Martinsville, and appears destined to finish 2013 15th in the standings.
12. Kurt Busch- Barney Visser’s Kurt Busch experiment worked out tremendously for both parties. Kurt revived his career, and Furniture Row Racing earned a tremendous amount of credibility inside the NSCS garage, but there’s no justification as to why this team couldn’t park that black #78 car in victory lane.
13. Joey Logano- Joey Logano where are you! We need some help from you now, oh wait that’s not it…That’s a whole other mystery, we can’t figure out. Sorry Logano fans. Even Scooby and the gang can’t figure this one out.
14. Ryan Newman- Poor Ryan Newman has to be growing sick and tired of Kevin Harvick. Not only is Harvick replacing the rocket man at SHR next season, he also prematurely ended Newman’s day at Martinsville. Most importantly Harvick apologized for wrecking the driver of his future ride.
15. Martin Truex Jr. – Martin Truex Jr,’s next three races are absolutely certain to be a complete blur. Finally freedom awaits NASCAR’s resident jersey boy from MWR’s cursed spin scandal.
16. Denny Hamlin- Recently Denny Hamlin’s found a way to manufacture some respectable finishes. His comeback is far from complete, but he continues to show progress.
17. Kasey Kahne- Unfortunately for Kasey Kahne his chase has featured more trick than treat.
18. Jeff Burton- Jeff Burton says he’s not overly concerned about what the future holds for him beyond the 2013 season. Nevertheless the mayor will forge ahead with his weekly audition for 2014, in the hopes of attracting a ride for next February’s Daytona 500.
19. Juan Montoya- A driver with nothing to lose or at this stage of his NSCS career nothing to gain could set off some serious fireworks in the final 3 races of the 2013 season.
20. Danica Patrick- Danica Patrick was the highest finishing SHR driver at Martinsville.
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