NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Power Rankings: Indianapolis

Posted on Jul 31 2012 - 8:28pm by Greg Atkins

Sunday, July 29, 2012 - Jimmie Johnson kisses the bricks after his win at Indianapolis (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jimmie Johnson dominated the Crown Royal presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday afternoon. The five-time Sprint Cup Series Champion lead a race-high 99 laps en route to his third Sprint Cup Series win of the 2012 season.

This weekend, NASCAR’s elite will invade the Pocono Mountains and Pocono Raceway for the running of the Pennsylvania 400.

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Who are the top ten drivers in this week’s power rankings? Keep reading to find out.

1. Jimmie Johnson – Last Week: N/A

Jimmie Johnson won his fourth Brickyard 400 on Sunday. He and his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon are the only Sprint Cup Series Drivers with more than three wins at the famed 2.5-mile oval.

2. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – Last Week: N/A

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. obtained the points lead following Matt Kenseth’s on-track incident with Joey Logano at Indianapolis. Dale, Jr. hasn’t been the Sprint Cup Series points leader since 2004. Hendrick Motorsports is on a roll right now and Driver 88 has greatly benefited.

3. Greg Biffle – Last Week: N/A

Greg Biffle followed up his 9th place finish at Loudon with an impressive third place finish at Indy. Biffle had a fast car all weekend, but no one was beating Johnson this weekend.

4. Denny Hamlin - Last Week: N/A

Denny Hamlin won the pole for Sunday’s race and fell victim to the importance of track position and battled back to finish sixth. Hamlin should certainly be on the short list of favorites for this weekend’s race at Pocono.

5. Matt Kenseth - Last Week: N/A

Matt Kenseth finished a disappointing 35th after an incident with Joey Logano. Kenseth has been a model of consistency this year, and that will pay dividends in the upcoming Chase for the Sprint Cup.

6. Kasey Kahne – Last Week: N/A

Kasey Kahne followed up his Loudon victory with a 12th place finish at Indianapolis. With two wins, Kasey is situated perfectly for a wild card Chase berth.

7. Brad Keselowski – Last Week: N/A

Brad Keselowski gave Roger Penske his first stock car win at Indianapolis in Saturday’s Nationwide race. On the Sprint Cup side, BK and Paul Wolfe have proven themselves as one of the best driver/crew chief combinations in the Sprint Cup Series.

8. Tony Stewart – Last Week: N/A

If the Chase started today, Tony Stewart would be tied for the top seed with Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski. Tony and his Office Depot/Mobil 1 race team will need to build greater consistency if they want to put on a championship performance the way they did last season.

9. Clint Bowyer – Last Week: N/A

Clint Bowyer finished 15th at Indianapolis on Sunday. He finished sixth at Pocono in June and will look to add to his lead over 11th place in points.

10. Kevin Harvick – Last Week: N/A

Kevin Harvick has been quietly lurking in the top six in points this season. I certainly do not think he’ll be as strong of a championship contender as he’s been over the past few years, but it would be foolish to completely count him out at this point.

Outside Looking In: Martin Truex, Jr.

Martin Truex, Jr. is currently 65 points ahead of 11th place Kyle Busch in the points standings. If Truex and teammate Clint Bowyer can take care of business, they will be Michael Waltrip Racing’s first ever Chase qualifiers.

Honorable Mention: Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch recorded a great second place performance. It was a performance he and his Joe Gibbs Racing team needed to stay ahead of his wild card competition.

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LIfelong enthusiast of NASCAR and Senior at Radford University in Radford, Virginia. Follow me on Twitter @gregatkins.

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