NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Power Rankings: Michigan II

Posted on Aug 14 2012 - 3:17pm by Greg Atkins

Marcos Ambrose won his second career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, August 12, 2012 in Watkins Glen, NY (Getty Images for NASCAR)

Marcos Ambrose recorded his second straight victory at Watkins Glen with his win in the Finger Lakes 355 at the Glen on Sunday.

This weekend, NASCAR competition returns to Michigan International Speedway for the second time this season. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the previous race at Michigan in June.

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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: 1st

Jimmie Johnson started and finished the race in the third position. Watkins Glen remains one of four tracks Johnson has never achieved victory. NASCAR’s elite goes to another one of those tracks (Michigan) this weekend.

2. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – Last Week: 2nd

Dale Jr. finished 28th after a late race spin took him out of contention for a top ten finish. At this point, Earnhardt doesn’t need top tens to make the Chase. He has all but clinched a berth. He won the June race at Michigan.

3. Brad Keselowski – Last Week:  4th

Brad Keselowski continued his hot streak with a second place finish at The Glen. BK has reeled off six consecutive top ten finishes including a win at Kentucky Speedway in June. It’s not a secret Keselowski desperately wants to win at his home track in Brooklyn, Michigan.

4. Kasey Kahne – Last Week: 3rd

Kasey Kahne’s 13th place finish on Sunday doesn’t merit dropping a spot in these power rankings, but Brad Keselowski is  Kahne finished 33rd at Michigan in June. I expect every Hendrick Motorsports entry to be in contention on Sunday.

5. Greg Biffle – Last Week: 6th

Greg Biffle recorded his third career top ten at Watkins Glen on Sunday. Biffle has two wins in 19 career starts at Michigan International Speedway.

6. Tony Stewart – Last Week: 5th

Tony Stewart had an up and down day at the Glen. Stewart ultimately finished 19th after a pit road penalty and a late race spin while running in second place took him out of contention. Tony Stewart was the runner-up at Michigan in June.

7. Matt Kenseth – Last Week: 7th

Matt Kenseth survived all the turmoil on Sunday and gutted out a solid eighth place finish. Kenseth is a two-time winner at Michigan and finished third in the June race.

8. Clint Bowyer – Last Week: 10th

Clint Bowyer recorded his second top five on road courses this season at Watkins Glen. Bowyer finished seventh at Michigan in June.

9. Jeff Gordon – Last Week: 9th

Jeff Gordon followed up his Pocono win with a disappointing 21st place finish on Sunday. Kyle Busch failing to get a second win this season certainly helps Gordon’s wild card chances. Gordon finished sixth at Michigan  earlier this season.

10. Denny Hamlin – Last Week: 8th

It appears there is a considerable amount of bad luck in the water at Joe Gibbs Racing’s Huntersville, North Carolina headquarters. Denny Hamlin has won twice at Michigan in 13 career starts.

Outside Looking In: Martin Truex, Jr.

Martin Truex, Jr. is once again on the outside looking in this week. Truex gutted out a 10th place finish at Watkins Glen this past weekend. Truex currently sits fifth in points and is on the verge of a contract extension. There are good days ahead of Martin Truex, Jr.

Honorable Mention: Marcos Ambrose

The Tasmanian Devil won Sunday’s race at Watkins Glen in spectacular fashion. Watkins Glen International turned into a 2.4 mile slip n’ slide during the last lap. While the vast majority of the drivers weren’t happy, the fans were ecstatic and if you ask me, that matters more than anything.

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