Power Rankings: Logano continues meteoric rise
September 03, 2013, Pat DeCola, NASCAR.com
Outlook: Johnson took an untimely spin at Atlanta, much to the displeasure of NASCAR Fantasy Live players. With three consecutive finishes outside the top 20, one has to wonder if, with a Chase spot already clinched, he and crew chief Chad Knaus are just tinkering and trying some new things out before getting serious at Chicagoland.
Standings: 1st, 837 points
2. Kyle Busch
Outlook: With his thrilling victory at Atlanta, Busch joined the 2013 four-win club -- an exclusive group that includes just himself, Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson -- and is starting to really position himself in that top tier of drivers poised for a title shot.
Related video: Busch Victory Lane 1-on-1
Standings: 5th, 786 points
3. Matt Kenseth
Outlook: Apart from his win at Bristol, Kenseth has been mediocre going back to Pocono, with just one lap led. A week from now, when in all likelihood he’s the top seed heading into the Chase, something tells me he'll forget about it.
Standings: 6th, 768 points
4. Clint Bowyer
Outlook: It's always tough to see a driver lose an engine while leading, as was the case for Bowyer in the AdvoCare 500. It's even tougher knowing that despite his current second-place standing, Bowyer will likely start the Chase near the bottom of the pack because he’s yet to earn a victory in 2013.
Standings: 2nd, 809 points
Outlook: Clearly, with a win in the Nationwide Series race on Saturday to give him four career victories at Atlanta across the three national series, Harvick has the track figured out. He just wasn’t able to get things going and get ahead of the pack Sunday, leading no laps and finishing ninth.
Standings: 3rd, 795 points
6. Carl Edwards
Outlook: Much like Bowyer, Edwards perhaps warranted a better finish than he got, as he clearly had one of the better rides of the night. Though, Jeff Gordon might tell you Edwards’ 19th-place finish is exactly what he deserved.
Standings: 4th, 795 points
7. Joey Logano
Outlook: Nobody is hotter than Logano right now. With six straight top-10 finishes, the Penske Racing driver is looking like a virtual lock to make the Chase and it’s just a matter of time before teenage girls start yelling … wait for it … JOLO!
Related video: Logano post-race reaction
Standings: 8th, 729 points
8. Kurt Busch
Outlook: Some argued that Busch’s joint announcement with Stewart-Haas Racing that he’d join the team for 2014 may have been a distraction. His fourth-place finish begs otherwise.
Standings: 10th, 719 points
9. Kasey Kahne
Outlook: Coming off two strong performances at Michigan and Bristol, Kahne’s rough showing at Atlanta because of damage collected on a restart has him mired in 12th place. He is guaranteed a Chase spot, but would love to move into the top 10 to have his wins count for bonus points.
Standings: 12th, 709 points
Outlook: Earnhardt was on solid ground heading into Atlanta, and his eighth-place finish was enough to put him in a good spot heading into Richmond. Keep in mind he was part of a test at the track last month, and Junior’s Chase chances are looking up.
Standings: 7th, 750 points
11. Martin Truex Jr.
Outlook: Truex said last week after learning of his broken wrist that he wouldn’t let his injury ruin his Chase hopes. Clearly, it didn’t ruin his ability to drive, either, as the Michael Waltrip Racing driver propelled himself to a third-place finish.
Related video: Truex talks final laps
Standings: 13th, 704 points
12. Jeff Gordon
Outlook: Earlier in the week, Gordon lent a hand to a volunteer group in Georgia, then lent a hand to his Chase prospects by finishing sixth at Atlanta. Next up? Richmond -- a track he has two wins at. Only problem? They came over a decade ago.
Related video: Gordon post-race reaction
Standings: 11th, 713 points
13. Greg Biffle
Outlook: For Biffle to clinch a Chase spot on his own accord, he’ll need a finish of ninth or better, 10th and at least one lap led or 11th and the most laps led. He’s notched a top 10 in nine of 19 tries at the track, so it could be a flip of the coin.
Standings: 9th, 727 points
14. Ryan Newman
Outlook: Apparently Ryan Newman must have a phenomenal sense of humor, because most people wouldn’t find that whole Stewart-Haas situation very funny. A top-five finish at Atlanta probably helped take the edge off.
Standings: 14th, 699 points
15. Brad Keselowski
Outlook: It’s remarkably hard to believe, but our reigning champion is on the verge of being squeezed out of Chase contention. In all likelihood, he’ll need a win at Richmond to make it into postseason racing. This, at a track that he’s never found Victory Lane at before and has just two top-10s in eight races.
Standings: 15th, 691 points
16. Jamie McMurray
Outlook: Believe it or not, McMurray still technically has an outside shot at making the Chase. To get in, he’d need to win and outpoint either Martin Truex Jr. by 25, Ryan Newman by 19 and pigs to grow a set of wings.
Standings: 16th, 680 points
Outlook: Looks like somewhere down the line, Montoya may have another opportunity at EGR. Then again, with an average finish of 6.5 over his last four races, he might not be available.
Standings: 19th, 628 points
18. Aric Almirola
Outlook: Almirola’s second-to-last top-10 finish? Richmond. When was that? April. Basically sums up all you need to know about his season.
Standings: 18th, 640 points
19. Paul Menard
Outlook: Atlanta: Where Paul Menard and Denny Hamlin, two drivers who at one point this season had some promise, can duke it out just because.
Standings: 17th, 658 points
20. Marcos Ambrose
Outlook: It’s truly unbelievable how well Ambrose has run over the last six races. If he’d won Watkins Glen, we’d be talking about his Chase chances. But hey, if ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ were candy and nuts, we’d all have a merry Anzac Day, right?
Standings: 20th, 621 points
In the rearview