Power Rankings: After the Coca-Cola 600

Greg AtkinsContributor IMay 28, 2012

Power Rankings: After the Coca-Cola 600

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    The Coca-Cola 600 has come and gone and Kasey Kahne pulled ahead late to win his first race since the fall Phoenix race in 2012.  

    This week, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Dover, Delaware for the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks.

    Who are the hottest ten drivers in the sport right now? Start the slideshow to find out.

    Source: All statistics courtesy of racing-reference.info.

10. Carl Edwards

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    Carl Edwards brought home a ninth place finish in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600. Edwards is starting to heat up. Excluding his 31st place finish at Talladega, he has finished no worse than 11th since the Food City 500 at Bristol in March.

    Look for Edwards stock to rise in the coming weeks, especially at Dover, where his average finish of 7.3 is the best on the circuit.

9. Brad Keselowski

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    Brad Keselowski had an excellent two weeks at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He finished first in Saturday's Nationwide Series race; second in the Sprint All-Star Race and last Friday's Camping World Truck Series race, and fifth in the Coca-Cola 600.

    In four starts at Dover, Brad has yet to record a top ten finish. Brad would certainly like to ride the momentum he has built over the last few weeks to a solid finish at the Monster Mile.

8. Martin Truex, Jr.

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    Martin Truex, Jr. has been the surprise of the season in the eyes of almost every NASCAR enthusiast. He currently is sixth in the championship standings, far better than his standing of 21st after the Coca-Cola 600 last year.

    There is perhaps no Sprint Cup Series driver more eager to return to the Monster Mile. Dover is Truex's home track and the site of his only career Sprint Cup win. Martin would love to end his winless streak this weekend as well as continue to build on his early season success.

7. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

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    NASCAR's most popular driver finished the Coca-Cola 600 with a solid sixth place finish. The Kannapolis, North Carolina native currently sits fourth place in the championship standings. He has undoubtedly been one of the most consistent drivers this season. It's very possible that when Junior breaks through and finds victory lane, the wins could potentially come in bunches.

    In 24 career starts at the Monster Mile, Earnhardt, Jr. has an average finish of 18.0. He has one win, four top fives, and seven top tens. However, he has not recorded a top ten finish at Dover since the fall race in 2007, where he brought home a third place finish.

6. Kasey Kahne

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    Kasey Kahne won his first race with Hendrick Motorsports on Sunday night. Kahne dominated the final fourth of the race to win his third Coca-Cola 600 and his fourth race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

    Historically, Kasey Kahne's best performances at Dover have been in qualifying as opposed to the race. Kahne's average start at Dover is 12.8, while his average finish is a disappointing 22.6. However, he did finish last fall's AAA 400 at Dover in fourth place.

5. Jimmie Johnson

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    Jimmie Johnson followed his Sprint All-Star Race win with an eleventh place finish in the Coca-Cola 600. A late miscue on the final pit stop left the five time Sprint Cup Series champion a lap down, essentially taking him out of contention for the win.

    The Sprint Cup Series heads to Johnson's favorite (and quite possibly his best) track this weekend. Jimmie's average finish of 9.2 is second best on the circuit. Johnson's six wins is the most among any active driver. Expect the Lowe's Chevrolet to be in contention for his second win of the season on Sunday.

4. Kyle Busch

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    Kyle Busch finished third in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 after finishing fourth in the Sprint All-Star Race the previous weekend. This was his fourth consecutive top four finish (fifth counting the non-points paying All-Star Race). Busch is turning in better performances each week and he looks to continue that in the weeks to come.

    "Rowdy" Busch has two wins, seven top fives, and nine top tens at the Monster Mile. He has finished no worse than sixth over the past four races at the world's fastest one mile oval. I firmly expect Kyle to be competitive this weekend.

3. Matt Kenseth

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    Matt Kenseth recorded a tenth place finish in the Coca-Cola 600. Kenseth won the 2000 edition of this race for his first career win. Matt currently sits second in the points, only 10 points behind Roush-Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle.

    Kenseth has two wins in 26 starts at Dover International Speedway. He is also the defending winner of this weekend's race. Kenseth and his team ultimately had the speed and the strategy to bring home the win in this race last year. Look for Kenseth to continue to live up to the nickname "Mr. Consistency."

2. Denny Hamlin

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    Denny Hamlin recorded a second place finish in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He has recorded two consecutive runner-up finishes. Denny has rebounded from a miserable 2011 season and currently sits third in points, far and away better than his standing of 12th after the 2011 Coca-Cola 600

    Denny's past performances at Dover have been less than spectacular. He has admitted that Dover is his least favorite track to drive on many occasions. In the past, he has attributed that to his driving style. Denny Hamlin and Darian Grubb have had a winning formula all season. Look for them to have another solid top ten run on Sunday despite Denny's struggles at the Monster Mile.

1. Greg Biffle

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    Greg Biffle finished the Coca-Cola 600 in fourth place. While finishing fourth place after having the strongest car in the early stages of the race is disappointing, Biffle held on to his current lead in the championship standings and solidifies his spot in the chase more and more each week.

    "The Biff" has two wins at Dover in 19 career starts. He finished both races at Dover far worse than his average finish of 12.3 might indicate, finishing 19th in the spring and 27th in the fall. Biffle and his Roush-Fenway race team have been the model of consistency all season, and that may not change any time soon.