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Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Kentucky

Each week of the Sprint Cup season, ESPN The Magazine's Ryan McGee ranks the top 20 drivers in the series. Last week's rankings are in parentheses, as are the top-10s.

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

Marcos Ambrose

Dropped out

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Biggest mover

Martin Truex Jr. jumps four spots from 12th to eighth.

Biggest loser

Tony Stewart falls four spots from eighth to 12th.

Also considered

Casey Mears, Brian Vickers, Parnelli Jones

No. 1. Jimmie Johnson

The past couple of weeks I've stared at the results and tried to avoid the mountain of hate mail by figuring out a way to move him out of this spot. I can't. He's still the title favorite.

No. 2. Kevin Harvick

He had to work for it, but Happy managed to keep his top-10 streak alive at six. Has yet to get a handle on Kentucky in a Cup car, with finishes of 16th and 11th.

No. 3. Carl Edwards

Admit it. You think Cuz is saying, "Oh yeah, finally a mile-and-a-half track!" But the truth is that he's run better this year away from his usual bread and butter. Owns Kentucky wins in Trucks and Nationwide.

No. 4. Clint Bowyer

He didn't grow up on road courses. He admits he knows absolutely nothing about wine. Yet he continues to be Mr. Sonoma. Mr. Kentucky, not so much. He's finished 35th and 16th.

No. 5. Kyle Busch

So who is Mr. Kentucky? This guy. He won the inaugural Cup race in '11 and finished 10th one year ago. He's also the only driver to have won there in all three national series.

No. 6. Matt Kenseth

Still not sure what these guys were trying with their pit strategy, says the writer who watched the race sitting on his couch and not atop a pit box.

No. 7. Greg Biffle

The Biff expects to finish top-10 at Michigan and Pocono. But if he's honest with you, he doesn't expect to finish eighth at Sonoma. Won the inaugural Kentucky NASCAR race, a Trucks event in 2000.

No. 8. Martin Truex Jr.

As a journalist, you're not supposed to root for the athletes you cover. But after personally seeing the pain in his eyes after so many near-wins over the years, I was smiling for him as he took the checkers.

No. 9. Kasey Kahne

Speaking of slump busters, was this what Ol' Blue Eyes needed to get back on track? Finished second at Kentucky one year ago.

No. 10. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Still speaking of slump busters, this guy finished fourth at Kentucky last year. By the way, you need to go listen to his interview on last week's Marty & McGee show over at ESPN.com's PodCenter.

No. 11. Brad Keselowski

And still speaking of slump busters, the defending Cup champ is also the defending Kentucky champ. His last win came nearly nine months ago.

No. 12. Tony Stewart

A decent finish was spun out when he and Jeff Burton didn't make it through the hairpin. But the Mobil 1 commercial with him and Jenson Button was awesome. "Soda cookie?"

No. 13. Jeff Gordon

OK, one last slump-buster comment. How many times has a trip to Sonoma been the medicine this guy needed? And I'm not talking about the bottled medicine most people go there looking for.

No. 14. Joey Logano

How can a guy with three dominating Nationwide Series wins at Kentucky have been so generic there in a Cup car?

No. 15. Kurt Busch

He wins the award for best postrace quote. "We had the fastest car all day. Unfortunately, that also applies to pit road."

No. 16. Paul Menard

Statistically speaking, three of the next four tracks -- Kentucky, Daytona and Indianapolis -- are among his five best racetracks.

No. 17. Aric Almirola

After an April filled with top-10s, The King's protege has settled back into a 17th-to-20th groove. That's not going to be enough to keep up with an increasingly star-studded wild-card field.

No. 18. Ryan Newman

How is a guy with seven top-10s -- the same as Biffle, Truex and Kahne -- stuck back at 18th in points? Because his average finish in those other nine races is worse than 25th.

No. 19. Marcos Ambrose

There was a group of guys who were very desperate to get a road course win and propel themselves into the wild-card hunt. Ambrose was at the top of that list. Watkins Glen is seven weeks away.

No. 20. Jeff Burton

The Mayor also was on that list and appeared headed for at least a top-10, but he was soda-cookied.