After a one-week hiatus following NASCAR's last off weekend of the year, the power ranking makes a triumphant return with a familiar driver No. 1 and a host of known names in pursuit.
1. Jimmie Johnson (Last week: 1)
Indianapolis reinforces the notion that the only team capable of stopping the No. 48 team is the No. 48 team, as a slow pit stop once again prevented Johnson from winning Sunday. And what's so remarkable is this team now has as many wins on the year (four) as races they should have won (Dover, Michigan, New Hampshire, Indy).
2. Matt Kenseth (LW: 2)
Kenseth quietly grinded out a fifth at Indy, which is only the second time all year he's finished in the top five without winning. It will be interesting to see if he can do the same at Pocono, a track where he struggled at in June.
3. Kyle Busch (LW: 4)
Maybe it's a coincidence, but since Toyota elected to detune its engines eight races ago Busch has been good, though not great at tracks where horsepower is a key component to winning. His 10th at Indy is the latest example where more oomph in the motor might have made a difference.
4. Kevin Harvick (LW: 3)
It was a tough outing at Indy for Harvick. His 19th-place was the first time since Talladega that he failed to finish in the top 10. Secondly, the guy he's replacing next year at SHR just so happened to win one of NASCAR's marquee events.
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (LW: 6)
For a team that needs everything to go right for it to win, starting a race with loose wheel is inexcusable. That said, rallying back from a lap down to finish sixth was impressive and heading to Pocono where Earnhardt finished third in June could be the breakthrough the No. 88 team needs.
6. Tony Stewart (LW: 9)
From being a successful track operator, a winning car owner and a lecturer on what constitutes quality racing, Stewart proved in the past week that he can do it all.
7. Clint Bowyer (LW: 5)
There are some weekends where the speed is absent for this team and it's a struggle just to make it to the finish line. That was Bowyer's weekend as he qualified 17th, had an average running position of 20th, which is where he finished.
8. Martin Truex Jr. (LW: 10)
After qualifying a woeful 39th, Indy had the appearance of a race where Truex's Chase hopes were going to take a major hit. But give him credit, because in a race where passing was problematic, he made it work and finished 11th.
9. Carl Edwards (LW: 7)
There was a time when Edwards was viewed as a title contender. That time has come and gone -- while he's a lock to qualify for the Chase, it's hard to envision him being much of a factor at this point.
10. Kasey Kahne (LW: 14)
Four finishes of 11th or better in the last five races has seemingly ended Kahne's summer swoon. But with Pocono, Michigan, Bristol and Atlanta all upcoming, he has a chance to cement his Chase status if he can snag a win or two in the next month.
11. Jeff Gordon (LW: 11)
A year ago he used a win at Pocono -- though aided by the rain -- to salvage his season. While things aren't as dire this time around, the same principle applies this weekend, as Gordon again needs to win.
12. Kurt Busch (LW: 8)
Busch was understandably frustrated post-race with his team's inability to close out races, an issue which has hampered them throughout the year. One has to wonder if that frustration will cause him to seriously consider his options for 2014.
13. Ryan Newman (LW: Unranked)
It remains to be seen whether his win Sunday is enough to secure Newman a primo ride for next season. But what we do know though is that he joins an elite group that includes Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Dale Jarrett, Bill Elliott, Harvick, Johnson and Jamie McMurray as drivers who have won both the Brickyard 400 and Daytona 500.
14. Greg Biffle (LW: 12)
The June race at Pocono was where Biffle began a mini-run which saw him finish second, first and eighth in consecutive weeks. He'll be looking for a similar boost this weekend, because in the four races since he's been scored no better than 15th.
15. Jamie McMurray (LW: 15)
It sure seems like Indy was a missed opportunity for McMurray to end his nearly three-year winless streak and in turn sneak his way into wild card contention.