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Power Rankings Headed to Bristol

RowdySpeedway’s weekly power rankings are based on the past couple of races along with the driver’s past results at the upcoming race track.

1. Jimmie Johnson – The five-time champion is still the leader of the pack in the Sprint Cup Series as he finished sixth Sunday and remains the Sprint Cup Series points leader as we head to Tennessee.

2. Brad Keselowski – Consistency. Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford team have begun the 2013 season the same way they ended 2012 as they have kicked off the new campaign with three top-five finishes, including a season best third-place finish Sunday in Las Vegas after some great pit calls by crew chief Paul Wolfe, which awarded Brad some much-needed track position near the end of the race. This year is the best start to a season Brad Keselowski has ever had in his Sprint Cup career. Brad is the defending winner of this weekend’s race at Bristol.

3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Jr. brought home his worst finish of the season on Sunday in Sin City, but it was for from bad as he brought home a seventh-place finish. This is the best start to a season Jr. has had since 2004 as he sits third in the standings as we enter race number four.

4. Carl Edwards – Carl Edwards backed up a relieving win a week ago at Phoenix with a top-five finish at Vegas and regains the reins as the leader in the Roush Fenway Racing stable.

5.  Matt Kenseth – Kenseth bounced back from an engine failure in the Daytona 500 to bring home back-to-back top-ten finishes, including winning his first race of the season Sunday in sin city. It has to feel good to get that first win with a new team out of the way very early in the season.

6. Denny Hamlin – Minus being fined on Thursday for his comments a week prior in Phoenix, Hamlin had a strong weekend in Vegas as his Toyota was fast all weekend but fell to fifteenth by the conclusion of the 400-mile race. However, Hamlin sits in fourth in the driver standings and won at Bristol August of last year. 

7. Kasey Kahne – Kasey had the most dominant car throughout the day Sunday and came oh so close to winning his third race as a Hendrick Motorsports driver, but he couldn’t make a late race pass on Kenseth, and he had to settle for the runner-up spot. After three races, Kahne sits fourteenth in the points standings. Last season at this time, the driver of the No. 5 sat in 26th in the driver standings.

8. Clint Bowyer – Bowyer had a horrible day Sunday and was very vocal about it on the radio with words of anger. Bowyer finished 27th when it was said and done and fell to ninth in the standings as a result.

9.  Mark Martin – After having a strong car last weekend in Phoenix and failing to finish in the top-20, Martin bounced back with a fourteenth-place finish Sunday in Vegas with his No. 55 MWR Toyota. Martin sits sixth in the points standings but will not be behind the wheel this weekend in Bristol. Instead, Brian Vickers will take over the duties.

10. Kyle Busch – Kyle had a strong Toyota — leading 27 laps — but it was a short-run car. Every time Kyle would take over the lead after a restart in a matter of laps the second-place driver would run him back down in about seven laps and pass him. Kyle had the best short-run car in the 43-car field, and he brought home a fourth-place finish, which is great considering how poorly the past two weeks have unfolded for the man from Las Vegas.

11. Jeff Gordon – Gordon continues to be overshadowed by his Hendrick Motorsports teammates but still sits in the top-thirteen in the points standings after a poor 25th-place finish Sunday.

12. Tony Stewart – Stewart Haas Racing has struggled dearly out of the gate in 2013 and the best car in the trio is Stewart’s as he sits in eighteenth in the points standings after three races. Stewart started ninth Sunday and finished eleventh.

13. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – The Rookie was positioned in the top-fifteen most of the afternoon Sunday in Vegas but fell to eighteenth as the checkered flag unraveled over the start/finish line. However, after three races, the two-time Nationwide Series champion is positioned eleventh in the points standings.

14. Kevin Harvick – After winning the Sprint Unlimited Shootout during Daytona Speedweeks expectations seemed high for the No. 29 RCR team, but three races in and they have failed to deliver a superb finish. However, Harvick delivered his best finish of the season Sunday with a ninth-place finish and sits in the nineteenth spot in the points standings as we head to the first short-track race of the year.  

15. Aric Almirola – Quietly Almirola is off to a solid start this season as he’s finished 13th, 14th and most recently 16th to kick off the new season, which puts him tenth in the points standings after three races. 

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