We're all tied up! As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads into the upcoming off weekend, Joey Logano and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are knotted in a tie for the top spot in the Atlanta Motor Speedway Power Rankings. Kevin Harvick, meanwhile, is the biggest mover, as he has advanced five positions from last week.
The rankings are determined by the top drivers in the NASCAR driver ratings in addition to five bonus points awarded for a race victory, three for a top-five finish and two for a top 10.
1. Joey Logano
(Last week: 1st)
Late-race mechanical problems dropped Logano from running in the top ten late in the race to 35th, but his very strong start to the season, which includes four top-five finishes and a win, keeps him in a tie for first.
1. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
(Last week: 3rd)
Earnhardt Jr. needed to rebound at Darlington and did so in a big way. At a track that has been an Achilles heel during his career, Earnhardt Jr. finished second, relinquishing the lead on the race's second-to-last lap.
3. Jeff Gordon
(Last week: 4th)
Gordon may not have won a race yet this year, but he continues to be one of the most consistently strong drivers week-to-week. His series-leading six top-ten finishes have him in the overall points lead, which may loom large if fewer than 15 drivers automatically qualifying for the Chase for the Championship through race victories, or he stays at the top of the points standings.
4. Kevin Harvick
(Last week: 9th)
In a season of opposite fortunes, Harvick is coming off of a jackpot weekend. After being plagued by mechanical issues for much of the season, he dominated at Darlington to win. He's the first two-time winner in 2014 and has vaulted five positions forward in the AMS Power Rankings.
5. Jimmie Johnson
(Last week: 6th)
Johnson is in a position similar to Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon. He has had an overall good start to 2014. The only thing that could make it sweeter would be a race victory, something that has eluded the No. 48 team so far.
6. Brad Keselowski
(Last week: 2nd)
Keselowski has cooled following a red-hot start to the season. Since starting with three finishes of no worse than third, Keselowski's best result is 14th in the five most recent races.
7. Kyle Busch
(Last week: 5th)
The Las Vegas native keeps turning in good finishes, and as long as continues to do that, the No. 18 team should be a factor to win from week to week. Busch has finished sixth or better in three of the last four races.
8. Matt Kenseth (Last week: 8th) The No. 20 team continues to build momentum. In the last four events, Kenseth has two top fives with no finish worse than seventh.
9. Carl Edwards
(Last week: 7th)
Edwards has now finished outside the top ten three weeks in a row. If the No. 99 can put together a handful of finishes within the top ten, expect Edwards to move up in the rankings.
10. Denny Hamlin
(Last week: 10th)
Despite accumulating the fewest number of bonus points of any driver in the rankings, Hamlin remains in the top ten largely due to the fact that he leads all drivers in the amount of laps completed in the top 15 at 89 percent.