Power Rankings: Atlanta

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


Dropped out


Biggest mover

Matt Kenseth jumps seven spots from eighth to first.

Biggest losers

Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch fall six spots each.

Also considered

David Ragan, Aric Almirola, Bobby Johns

No. 1. Matt Kenseth

Erased a generic summer with a career-best fifth win that also locked up a Chase spot and likely the top seeding. His 12.7 career average finish at Atlanta is the highest of any track where he has never won.

No. 2. Jimmie Johnson

All that, "What's up with Kenseth?" stuff we've been writing is suddenly applicable to Five-Time. Two weeks ago, his points lead was 75. Now it's 18. The last of his three Atlanta wins came in '07.

No. 3. Kevin Harvick

Give Harvick and Denny Hamlin credit for talking it out on pit road and clearing up their situation. And give credit to the FedEx crew guys for letting the drivers chat and not automatically starting a big fight.

No. 4. Carl Edwards

No giant drop for finishing 39th? Nope. Dude led 119 laps, posted the fifth-highest driver rating of the race and seamlessly added a new tire changer to his crew. He's also a three-time Atlanta winner.

No. 5. Kasey Kahne

So, if he wrecks Kenseth to win, he's a jerk, and if he doesn't, he's weak? Whatever. What matters to him is that he now has finished in the top seven in four of the past five races and is in high gear headed toward the Chase.

No. 6. Clint Bowyer

Still needs a win.

No. 7. Kyle Busch

Anything less than a win at Bristol is a letdown for Shrub. He routinely leads a lot of laps at Atlanta, but his finishes have been hit-or-miss.

No. 8. Greg Biffle

The Biff was licking his chops at a pre-Chase stretch that included Pocono, Michigan and Bristol. He has no wins, but top-10s in all three have allowed him to hang on to the cliff while others have fallen off.

No. 9. Joey Logano

If JoLo makes the Chase, he should stand on the Richmond stage and yank open his firesuit to reveal a "Haters Gonna Hate" T-shirt.

No. 10. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

I know Junior Nation was bummed at playing it safe, but it was the right call. Besides, he can win at Atlanta ... and Richmond.

No. 11. Martin Truex Jr.

When we get to December and look back on the moments that had the biggest impact on determining the 2013 Chase field, the big wreck on Lap 447 might be at the top of the list. This guy was in it.

No. 12. Ryan Newman

So was this guy.

No. 13. Brad Keselowski

And this guy.

No. 14. Jeff Gordon

If you're a fan of the 24 car, just go on and start stocking up on antacids and headache powders for Richmond two weeks from now. It's going to be one of those nights. Again.

No. 15. Kurt Busch

Started second, led 54 laps, had a broken wheel hub, got slapped with a pit road speeding penalty, finished 31st. And that, ladies and gents, is the perfect metaphor for The Outlaw's 2013 season.

No. 16. Juan Pablo Montoya

From the Too Little Too Late file: Among Montoya's past five finishes are efforts of ninth, fifth, 11th and third.

No. 17. Paul Menard

Menard hadn't posted a top-10 finish in 17 races but now has finished in the top six two weeks in a row. He finished eighth at Atlanta one year ago.

No. 18. Jeff Burton

Sunday night's funniest MTV-related tweet came from Burton. Responding to my comment that the VMAs make me feel old, he replied, "When does Jackson Browne perform?"

No. 19. Marcos Ambrose

If life were fair, this would have been his third straight top-10. Then again, if life were fair, Justin Timberlake would've given his 'N Sync mates more than 30 seconds of stage time.

No. 20. Jamie McMurray

If Jamie Mac had done anything at all in the past month, he could have made a legit run at the Chase. But alas, he did not, so he has not.