NASCAR power rankings: Kyle Busch makes his case why he should be No. 1

Chris Graythen

A streaking Kyle Busch pushes his way to the top of this week’s power rankings, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. continues his backslide.

Obviously, Jimmie Johnson or Kyle Busch deserves to be No. 1 in the power rankings, but the question is in what order? And where does Brad Keselowski rank after running afoul of the NASCAR rule book or for that matter, Dale Earnhardt Jr., who for the second week in a row struggled?

1. Kyle Busch (Last week: 3)

It isn't just that Busch won for the second time this season that puts him in the No. 1 spot. It's also the stretch of five straight races of him finishing in the top five along and that he's led more laps than anyone else.

2. Jimmie Johnson (LW: 1)

Moving Johnson out of the top spot following a sixth-place finish may seem harsh. But if you compare the performance of Busch to Johnson since Las Vegas, it's clear who should be ranked ahead of the other. And it's not the five-time champ.

3. Brad Keselowski (LW: 2)

As Keselowski was visiting the White House Tuesday, I wonder if he ever thought about seeing if he could obtain a presidential pardon for Paul Wolfe. Because that's about the only way his crew chief isn't going to get suspended by NASCAR for those questionable parts found on the 2 car at Texas.

4. Carl Edwards (LW: 7)

The fleet of Roush Fords were expected to be among the cars to beat at Texas, yet they spent much of the race running outside the top 10 and had an average running position in the teens. Then the checkered flag waved and there was Edwards somehow in third.

5. Kasey Kahne (LW: 5)

Hard to call an 11th-place result a misstep, but Texas represents the kind of track where Kahne has to up his game if he expects to be a force in the Chase.

6. Greg Biffle (LW: 9)

Copy and paste the text from Edwards except Biffle finished fourth and not third.

7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (LW: 4)

After consecutive finishes of 24th and 29th, the best start of Earnhardt's career has officially hit the skids. And if that skid continues at Kansas, expect Junior Nation to go into a collective panic.

8. Matt Kenseth (LW: 6)

The trend of fading at the end of races has evolved into a bad habit, and that's worrisome because too many points are being left on the table. On the other hand, it does speak of the potential the 20 team has once Kenseth and crew chief Jason Ratcliff strengthen their rapport.

9. Joey Logano (LW: 14)

Lost amid all the hubbub of the Penske cars failing pre-race tech was Logano having to drop to the rear of the field and then driving his way to the front to finish fifth.

10. Clint Bowyer (LW: 8)

In both races this season on 1.5-mile ovals, Bowyer has struggled noticeably. With half the tracks in the Chase of the same length, that's a red flag for last year's championship runner-up. Let's see how he does this weekend at Kansas, another mile-and-a-halfer which is also his home track.

11. Paul Menard (LW: 11)

Menard still has more points than any driver at Richard Childress Racing. However, that might not be much of a compliment considering the organization's lack of competitiveness this season.

12. Jeff Gordon (LW: 10)

Blown tire at Bristol while leading, broken wheel hub at Texas while running third. It might be time for Gordon to consult with a witch doctor to cure his rash of misfortune.

13. Kevin Harvick (LW: 13)

How is this for consistency: Harvick finished 13th at Texas, the third week in a row and the fourth time this year he's been scored in that very position.

14. Martin Truex Jr. (LW: Unranked)

Truex was frustrated at Texas with finishing second again, which is understandable when you consider that since his last -- and only Cup victory to date -- he has recorded six runner-up finishes.

15. Brian Vickers (LW: Unranked)

His first outing in a JGR Cup car was successful, as Vickers wheeled it to an eighth-place finish. And if you're wondering why a driver who has made just three starts on the year deserves to be ranked, it's because in those three starts Vickers has finished no worse than 11th.

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