"I told you it wasn't over!" Denny Hamlin reminded us.
It's true. By taking the Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway yesterday, Hamlin took a quantum leap forward in the standings, closing leader Jimmie Johnson's gap to a mere six points heading into the final four races of the season. From here, it basically becomes a "finish in front of the 48, no matter what" situation for Hamlin, who is looking to end Johnson's streak of four consecutive titles.
But don't count out Kevin Harvick just yet, either. The only other driver within 100 points of the leaders also had a strong Martinsville run, placing third when all was said and done. And with the ever-looming possibility of the "big one" taking out twenty-odd cars next weekend at Talladega, that may just be close enough for Harvick to reclaim the points lead in a week's time.
But enough prelude - let's get to this week's power rankings: