<
>

Power Rankings: Texas

Each week of the Sprint Cup season, ESPN The Magazine's Ryan McGee ranks the top 20 drivers in the series. Don't agree with McGee's list? Let him -- and the rest of the world -- know in the conversation section at the bottom of the page. But remember, make your mama proud.

New this week

Kurt Busch, Marcos Ambrose, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer

Dropped out

Kyle Larson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne

Biggest movers

Kurt Busch jumps from unranked to eighth.

Biggest loser

Kyle Larson falls from 11th to unranked.

Also considered

Aric Almirola, Red Byron

1. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Another week, another top-10. And post-race comments painfully bemoaning another loss of a grandfather clock should help further quiet the dummies who have always questioned his heart.

2. Jimmie Johnson

It's rare to hear Six-Time admit "we just got beat" but that's what he did at Martinsville. His 8.7 career average finish is the second highest among all active drivers at Texas Motor Speedway. Who's first?

3. Matt Kenseth

This guy, with an average finish of 8.3. His 12th-place finish one year ago was one of only two non-top-5s since 2008.

4. Carl Edwards

He's still not great at Martinsville, but his day has certainly been way better than his final finish of 13th. He does have three Texas wins, but none since '08. Still, he does have four top-10s in his last five starts.

5. Kyle Busch

Shrub is a bit of a mystery at Texas, where over the last four years he has three top-three finishes and four non-top-10s. Speaking of shrubs, I miss the azaleas that used to be in Turns 1 & 2 at Martinsville.

6. Brad Keselowski

Right or wrong, I thank Bad Brad for being bad at Martinsville. Love him or hate him, he's never boring. After early career struggles at Texas he's racked up three straight top-10 finishes.

7. Kevin Harvick

Happy is never happy with finishing seventh, but I'm betting he was pleased with the fact that nothing fell off the car or no tires exploded like water balloons, which is pretty much how the rest of his March went.

8. Kurt Busch

That's a mighty steep hole he just climbed out of to stand on the roof of his car in Victory Lane, the kind of pit that most careers fall into to wither away and die.

9. Jeff Gordon

I said this in our Turn 4 roundtable this week and I'll say it again. Gordon's showing signs of falling into a make-his-fan-sweat-that-win-all-summer mode that has been his M.O. in recent years.

10. Joey Logano

I hate to drop him, but the growing list of winners is forcing my hand. If you can call a guy ranked eighth in points a sleeper pick, then that's exactly what JoLo is at Texas, where he finished fifth and third last year.

11. Tony Stewart

Just four races ago he was 27th in points. Now he's 15th. Clearly he's feeling better, but following him as he shuffled through the long pedestrian tunnel at Martinsville still made me wince.

12. Austin Dillon

Another race, another top-15 finish, another week inside the top 10 in points. Hey, if he were to win at Texas they wouldn't have to give him a cowboy hat in Victory Lane. He's BYOCBH.

13. Brian Vickers

If NASCAR asked, "Who wants to run short tracks every week?" The Sherriff would jump up on his chair and scream "Me! Me!" Texas? Not so much. His eighth-place run last fall was his first top-10 in 15 tries.

14. Ryan Newman

For a month I've been saying that Rocket Man was jonesing to get to Martinsville. He finished 20th. The McGee Curse lives!

15. Denny Hamlin

Speaking of guys that everyone thought would win at Martinsville ... and by "everyone" I am including him. By the way, I'm still not exactly sure who his Friday comments were aimed toward. But they are.

16. Paul Menard

Sideburns McGillicuddy has posted three top-10 finishes in six races. His career best top-10 tally for a single season is nine, which he did in both 2012 and '13. Don't expect one at Texas, where he has two in 15 starts.

17. AJ Allmendinger

When you're putting together your "Dudes who can grab a win, perhaps on a road course, and crash the Chase party" list, be sure to circle The Dinger.

18. Marcos Ambrose

And circle this guy for that list, too. I don't care who you root for, it was great to see both Richard Petty Motorsports cars finish in the top six as the garage paid tribute to Lynda Petty.

19. Greg Biffle

Poor Biff was a top ten car all day when his car suddenly said, "Oh, wait ... we're at Martinsville!" and fell to 18th. Over his last 11 Texas starts, he's earned a win, seven top-5s and finished no lower than 12th.

20. Clint Bowyer

Boywer finally got his first top-10 of the season. He's go-or-blow at Texas, where over 16 starts he has nine top-10s and seventh finishes of 15th or worse.