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.
Kurt Busch jumps three spots from 19th to 16th.
Kyle Busch falls six spots from 14th to 20th.
New This Week
Jeff Burton, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Bob Burdick
1. Jeff Gordon
The Artist Formerly Known As Wonder Boy will make his 750th career start at the place where he made his first back in 1992. His previous three Atlanta finishes: first, second and sixth.
2. Joey Logano
The Artist Formerly Known As Sliced Bread is no longer a kid. He's a legit title contender, having matched his career win total just this season. He finished second at Atlanta one year ago.
3. Brad Keselowski
When he actually finishes at Atlanta, he does well, with sixth- and third-place runs in 2011-12. In 2013 he led 31 laps before a blown engine and in 2010 he did a Chitwood Thrill Show trick courtesy of Carl Edwards.
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
The Artist Formerly Known As Little E has won at Atlanta, but that was a full decade ago. After losing his handle on the place for a while, he's riding a streak of two top-8 finishes.
5. Kevin Harvick
So, Hamlin versus Harvick at Bristol? Is this going to be a regular thing? At Atlanta, people always think of Harvick's amazing 2001 win, but after years of AMS struggles, he's now posted seven top-10s in nine starts.
6. Jimmie Johnson
After a five-week stretch that produced an average finish of 33rd, he has now posted finishes of ninth and fourth. Just in time for the Chase. Imagine that.
7. Carl Edwards
Cuz used to be stone-cold cash money at Atlanta. Now he's more like a nice bowl full of change. His last six finishes: 37th, 39th, second, fifth, 36th and 18th.
8. Matt Kenseth
If he just stays the course, he's in the Chase. But once the Chase starts, staying the course will be a great way to stay irrelevant.
9. Ryan Newman
Just go on and CTL+C what I wrote about Kenseth into this spot, too.
10. Clint Bowyer
11. Greg Biffle
As for this guy, his position is more perilous. Yes, he's in right now. But having only posted two single-digit finishes at Atlanta since 2006, he's barely hanging on -- like his rear bumper was at Bristol.
12. AJ Allmendinger
I'm not sure I've ever seen a dude smile this much a full two weeks after a win.
13. Denny Hamlin
It took all of one throw to prove that the new "wait in your car for the safety crew and don't walk into traffic" rules did nothing to alter "Boys, Have At It."
14. Kasey Kahne
Yes, he's a two-time Atlanta winner. But the last of those came in 2009, and his average finish in the four races since was 31.25, including a 36th-place run one year ago.
15. Kyle Larson
Watching a prerace interview with Larson on TV this weekend, my daughter asked what grade he's in.
16. Kurt Busch
All the attention paid to his little brother's radio chatter overshadowed the fact that The Outlaw's frequency also sounded like a Tarantino script. The difference? He grabbed his second top-5 in three weeks.
17. Austin Dillon
On Wednesday, our boy David Newton reported that Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams showed up at practice in a cowboy hat and proclaiming to be Austin Dillon. I didn't see that coming.
18. Paul Menard
How much has Sideburns Smith improved over the past few seasons? Saturday night was his sixth top-10 in his past eight Bristol starts. He's not nearly as solid at Atlanta, with three top-10s scattered over 12 visits.
19. Jamie McMurray
Jamie Mac and crew chief Keith Rodden did what all non-win teams need to do these days. They swung for the fences, leading 148 laps and taking two tires on the last stop. Sadly, the Penske cars took four.
20. Kyle Busch
Bad: Shrub's exchange with crew chief Dave Rogers has been more scrutinized than the Watergate tapes. Good: Rogers gave parents the perfect quote with which to send kids back to school this week.