Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s quest for a championship continues to yield strong results. He has been one of the most consistent drivers all year long and Sunday's win gave him his second victory of the year. The victory was enough to return him to the top of the Atlanta Motor Speedway Power Rankings.
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. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
(Last week: 5th)
Sometimes racing is about putting yourself in position to take advantage of a good stroke of luck. That was the case for Earnhardt Jr. at Pocono when he got past Brad Keselowski who dropped back in an effort to try and cool off his engine. It's worth noting that this weekend NASCAR heads to Michigan, one of Earnhardt Jr.'s stronger tracks as he has two victories there.
2. Jimmie Johnson
(Last week: 1st)
Johnson was a serious contender to win at Pocono before pit road contact damaged the No. 48 and ending Johnson's hopes of winning. That sums up Johnson's season so far as he has for the most part either contended for the lead as long as he has been able to avoid in-race incidents.
3. Jeff Gordon
(Last week: 3rd)
Gordon is coming off of yet another strong top-five finish that moved him back into the points lead. Gordon's average finish of 9.4 still leads all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers in that category.
4. Joey Logano
(Last week: 2nd)
The Team Penske engine department will likely have something to prove this week at Michigan. NASCAR goes to another larger track following Logano's engine failing last week at Pocono. It was just his third DNF of the season.
5. Kevin Harvick
(Last week: 4th)
Gremlins continue to reside around Harvick and the No. 4 team this year. A possible top-five finish was torpedoed by a blown tire. Harvick rallied, getting back on the lead lap as he finished 14th.
6. Brad Keselowski
(Last week: 7th)
Like any competitor, Keselowski is probably no fan of moral victories. While some teams would feed good about coming up just short of a win on account of debris on a car's front grille, that isn't likely to be the case for the No. 2 team. It would not be surprising to see Keselowski head to his home track of Michigan in a very motivated mood.
7. Matt Kenseth
(Last week: 6th)
Kenseth fell out of the overall points lead as a finish back in the field following front-end damage snapped a streak of two third-place finishes in a row.
8. Denny Hamlin
(Last week: 9th)
Hamlin looks to be on the verge of putting together a summer hot streak. He now has consecutive top-five finishes for the first time this season.
9. Carl Edwards
(Last week: 10th)
A late-race crash ended Edwards' chances of a strong finish. Look for Edwards to run strong at Michigan as it is the closest track to the hometown of car owner Jack Roush.
10. Kyle Busch
(Last week: 8th)
The No. 18 need is in need of a shot in the arm. Busch has just one top-ten finish, a ninth last month at Charlotte, in the past five races.