Toby's NASCAR Power Rankings After LifeLock 400 at Michigan

Toby ChristieSenior Analyst IJune 16, 2008

Kasey Kahne may not have won Sunday, but he did enough to maintain the top spot in my power rankings this week, but not many other positions stayed the same.

[ 1 ] Kasey Kahne

Average finish of 8.75 in the past four races—and it's only that low because he finished 31st at Dover. In his last four races, he's finished first, 31st, first, and second at Michigan. Second consecutive week at the top of the rankings.

[ 2 ] Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Snapped a 76-race losing streak. Who cares how he did it, he did it.  Not to mention he is tied for the most Top 10s in the series, and has four Top Five finishes in his last five races.  Moved up a spot from last week.

[ 3 ] Matt Kenseth

Five races ago, Matt was 22nd in points and had no chance of making the chase. Since then, he has clicked off Top 10s in every race. He is now 14th in points after finishing third at Michigan, and he's closing fast for the chase. Moved up two more spots this week.

[ 4 ] Kyle Busch

Announced he would focus more on his Sprint Cup program rather than run for three championships. This may just be the shot in the arm he needs in the power rankings next week—the past two weeks he has lost his mojo.  Finished 43rd at Pocono, and 13th at Michigan. Stayed the same this week.

[ 5 ] Jeff Burton

Burton was riding high at second in the rankings last week, but a blah day at Michigan—where he finished 15th—drops him this week.  Down three spots.

[ 6 ] Jimmie Johnson

Starting to look more like Jimmie. Would have had a chance to win Sunday if fuel mileage wasn't an issue. With a sixth place finish at Michigan, he now has three consecutive Top 10s going into Infineon. Up one spot.

[ 7 ] Carl Edwards

I know—the man has six straight Top 10s now, with his sevemth place finish at Michigan. But he finished one spot behind Jimmie Johnson Sunday, so now he's one spot behind him in the rankings. No, this isn't really how I rank people, haha.  Down one spot.

[ 8 ] Brian Vickers

After a slow start to the season, Vickers has been the top-finishing Toyota the past two races, and is riding on a high of two straight Top Fives. He finished second a week ago, and fourth at Michigan.  Up two Spots.

[ 9 ] Denny Hamlin

Okay, I dropped him out of my rankings for a couple of weeks because of boneheaded moves—like plowing into the field at Dover during the first wreck. But after finishing 14th at Michigan, that's two smart, solid runs in a row—and he's solidly back. New to the rankings this week.

[10] David Ragan

Ragan continues to impress this season with an eighth place finish at Michigan, but how much has this kid really improved from last season? His 2007 average finish was 24.5, and his current average finish in 2008 is 16.2—that, folks, is a huge improvement. Up three spots this week.

[11] Greg Biffle

Biffle had another good car Sunday, he couldn't seal the deal again. I'm being forced to wonder whether it's bad luck, or if I've been thinking this team is better than they are. Biffle finished 20th at Michigan.  Down two spots.

[12] Tony Stewart

Only two Top 10s in the past six races is the reason Tony is so low, but a fifth-place finish at Michigan helps move him up a little. Up two spots.

[13] Clint Bowyer

From Atlanta to Richmond earlier in the year, he had a seven-race Top 10 streak going. But since then, he hasn't had a Top 10 finish in five races. He's starting to self destruct with an average finish of 28.2 over the past five weeks. Down five spots.

[14] Kevin Harvick

Had a great start to the season—but like his teammate Bowyer, he's hit a roadblock, and gone five weeks with no Top 10s. In Harvick's defense, he did finish 12th at Michigan.  Down two spots.

[15] Jeff Gordon

Something is missing this year for the four-time Sprint Cup champion. He finished a disappointing 18th at Michigan, but he's now off to a road course.  Gordon has a record nine Sprint Cup wins on road courses. He is going to need one at Infineon, because he's in danger of dropping out of the rankings. Down four Spots.

Dropped Out This Week: Kurt Busch