NASCAR Power Rankings Heading Into New Hampshire

The NASCAR season has officially reached the halfway point of the season as the Sprint Cup Series heads to New Hampshire. After another wild weekend at Daytona, let’s take a look at this week’s power rankings.

1. Matt Kenseth- He clearly had the dominant car at Daytona on his way to leading the most laps. If it wasn’t for that caution with 30 laps to go in the middle of green flag pit stops, Kenseth probably won have won the race. It was still a nice finish of third and he extended his lead in the points. Last week: 2

2. Jimmie Johnson- Three restrictor plate races and three DNF’s for Johnson. When the chase rolls around, you can all but guarantee that Johnson will hang in the back for the majority of the race at Talladega. Good news for Johnson is that there is only one plate track left on the schedule so he should be fine for the rest of the season. Last week: 1

3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.- He was one of the few drivers in the race who didn’t just want to ride around until the end. He tried making moves on the outside to take the lead and ran a great race. Junior almost made it through that last wreck but got clipped at the end . Onto New Hampshire now for Junior where he has struggled in the past. With how strong his team has been this season, it will be interesting to see if his results there change. Last week: 3

4. Greg Biffle- Biffle and Kenseth have become what Earnhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip were back in the early 2000′s. They work together so well at the restrictor plate tracks and are now the biggest threats at Daytona and Talladega. Unfortunately for Biffle he got caught up in the last lap wreck that took away his much deserved top five finish. He moves up in the rankings though based on how well he ran this weekend. Last week: 6

5. Brad Keselowski- The Blue Deuce had a relatively quiet night that ended with an eighth place finish. That finish puts him 35 points over 11th place points which is sizable cushion this late into the regular season. He looks like a lock to stay in the top 10 at this point and should be able to use his bonus points this year. Last week: 4

6. Tony Stewart- It was pretty much a big mistake to have Stewart fall as much as I made him fall last after he had problems. Stewart has been phenomenal as of late. His win at Daytona gives him four finishes in the top three in the past six races. His team is starting to come together like it did at the end of last year which should scare the rest of the competition.  Last week: 11

7. Clint Bowyer- This was the first poor finish for Bowyer in a long time after he caught up in a late wreck. He will be happy that the Sprint Cup Series is heading to New Hampshire since that is by far his best track. Last week: 5

8. Martin Truex Jr.- Still winless on the season and still has the longest active winless streak in NASCAR. Truex is still hanging on solidly inside the top 10 in points, but his production this season seems to be getting more mediocre with each passing race. In a contract year with MWR, this is not a good thing for Truex. Last week: 7

9. Jeff Gordon- Gordon is inching closer and closer to passing all of the contenders in the wild-card hunt. The only problem is that he still doesn’t have a win. He has scored the fifth most points in the last six races and is now getting the finishes that he deserved from the beginning of the season. Last week: 9

10. Denny Hamlin- Suffering from back problems this week, Hamlin didn’t step into his car until the drop of the green flag. The race was going well for Hamlin as he put himself in position to win the race late. However, a slight misjudgement by The Biff sent Hamlin spinning in front of the whole field. Not what is back needed but he should be good at New Hampshire. Last week: 8

11. Kasey Kahne- Lost in all of the late race mayhem was Kahne. He was the one who pushed Stewart out front to the victory. However, contact with Jeff Burton on the last lap got the two separated. He wound up being making his way through the carnage and finished in seventh. Last week: 12

12. Jeff Burton- Going into turn one on the last lap it looked like Burton’s great day was going to get wasted, but he made an incredible save. Then going into turn three he looked like he had 20 more horsepower than anyone else on the track, flying around everyone on the outside. It looked like he might have enough steam to take the win but he didn’t and wound up getting his best finish of the season finishing second. Last week: NR