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
Jeff Burton, Aric Almirola, Denny Hamlin
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., David Ragan, Austin Dillon
Jeff Burton jumps from unranked to 17th.
Kurt Busch falls five spots from seventh to 12th.
Juan Pablo Montoya, Marcos Ambrose, Red Byron
1. Matt Kenseth
He had to fight and claw his way into second, edging Clint Bowyer at the checkers. When we get to Homestead, remember that hard-earned point, as well as the bonus point for leading the most laps.
2. Jimmie Johnson
If he doesn't win his sixth title, he'll look back on Martinsville and Charlotte as the places where he lost it. Owns second-best career Texas finish among all active drivers at 9.1. Who's first? Kenseth with 8.5.
3. Jeff Gordon
Gordon's rookie season was my first year covering the sport, and we're the same age. So as long as he's still winning, I'm not yet old, right? He's not great at Texas, with four top-10s over his past 11 starts.
4. Kyle Busch
The bad news? He led early but faded fast, finishing 15th and drifting back to 36 points behind the leaders. The good news? Guess who won the last time we raced at Texas?
5. Kevin Harvick
It's no secret in the garage that Happy hasn't been, well, happy with RCR's grandson-driven future. But he'd managed to keep a lid on those feelings for so long. It couldn't wait a few more weeks?
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
It's official. He's not going to win the championship. But a win and a top-five points finish, both real possibilities, is light years ahead of where this team was just three years ago.
7. Clint Bowyer
Bowyer's late charge into the top three handed him his first top-5 since Michigan nine weeks ago. At Texas he's either very good -- eight top-10s -- or very generic -- seven finishes of 15th or worse.
8. Greg Biffle
The Biff needs to be glad this is Martinsville '13 and not '53, '63, '73 or even '83. If he'd grabbed a driver by the neck like that back in the day, he would've gotten stabbed with a broken-off 'shine bottle.
9. Carl Edwards
Speaking of old-school, Cuz brought his big chrome bumper to Martinsville, didn't he? In the early laps he hit more cars than my Aunt Louise trying to get out of the Piggly Wiggly parking lot.
10. Jamie McMurray
Over the seven Chase races, Jamie Mac ranks ninth in points scored, ahead of four Chasers.
11. Brad Keselowski
The Champ's argument against mandated concussion baseline testing is the best evidence I've seen yet as to why these guys need to have their brains checked.
12. Kurt Busch
Got popped hard on Lap 204 and never recovered, finishing 18th. By the way, you need to read last week's ESPN.com story about Busch by my buddy Brant James.
13. Ryan Newman
Kevin Harvick started his Sunday with an apology to Richard Childress Racing for his anti-Dillon tantrum and ended his Sunday with an apology to Newman for a Lap 319 accident that ended the 39's day.
14. Joey Logano
Started sixth, finished 14th, moved up one spot to 11th in points. Not sure what I'm supposed to say here.
15. Martin Truex Jr.
First, I have no idea how he finished 16th. Second, is there someone out there somewhere with a Truex voodoo doll just jamming pins into it day and night?
16. Paul Menard
With three races remaining, the Hardware Man is looking at a 16th- to 17th-place points finish with probably nine top-10s. In other words, he's still Paul Menard.
17. Jeff Burton
The Mayor gutted out an 11th-place finish in a car being held together by duct tape and bailing wire. He's a two-time Texas winner, but the last of his nine TMS top-10s came four years ago.
18. Aric Almirola
His Maurice Petty tribute car was so banged up by race's end that it looked like it might have been the actual No. 41 Plymouth that Chief drove in '62.
19. Kasey Kahne
Got spun on Lap 183 and somehow got his car so stuck in the tiny 10-foot swatch of grass that lines the inside of Turns 1 and 2 that he had to be towed out. And that's the perfect metaphor for his '13 Chase.
20. Denny Hamlin
Just look at Hambone's Martinsville weekend as one big acting-out of the scene when Cole Trickle drills Rowdy Burns' back bumper at Darlington. "Remember me?"