Rankings are updated every Monday of the NASCAR season.
The season-opening Daytona 500 winner looked strong. He started from the pole and led 84 laps. Logano faded in the latter half of the race, but managed to rally back to 4th.
Johnson had a bad start to the weekend, not even getting the chance to qualify Friday. Sunday he started 37th, but methodically worked his way forward, taking control of the 500-mile race just past the 300-mile mark. He scored the 71st win of his career and his fourth at Atlanta Sunday. He showed he could be back to his championship form.
Harvick also started from the rear of the field after losing an engine in practice. He worked his way to the lead before 100 laps. He went on to lead a race-high 116, but had nothing for Johnson in the end, and settled for second.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Earnhardt had another great outing. He and his new crew chief seemed to be getting along better, and Sunday was another example. Earnhardt led only one lap, but ran among the leaders all race long and came home third.
Martin Truex, Jr.
Truex actually had a good afternoon. After starting 14th, Truex fell back at one point. He worked to the front late in the going, avoided trouble and finished 6th.
Mears finds himself in the top 10 for another week. He did run inside the top five for a time Sunday, but pit road issues stymied him. He finished the day 15th. Although a talented driver, with an underfunded team, Mears is not expected to spend too many weeks in the top 10.
Kahne was never a real threat for the win Sunday. He did make a charge toward the front, but a meeting with the wall slowed him. He held on to finish 14th.
Allmendinger was the biggest mover this week, and rightfully so. The driver, better known for his road course prowess, was able to survive the trouble around him Sunday on the high-speed oval at Atlanta and come home with an impressive 7th-place finish.
Almirola simply avoided trouble. He was never a threat for the win, other than a brief appearance inside the top 10. Had clean day that left him in 11th when it was over.
Bowyer looked strong for a time in the first half of the race. He faded in the second half though, and caught damage from an accident. He made one last attempt to finish in the top five late in the going, but mechanical issues from the accident bit him. He finished 24th, four laps down.
Like Mears, Gilliland isn’t someone normally seen this high in the rankings. However, his finish of 22nd Sunday keeps him there, for at least another week.
Sam Hornish, Jr.
Hornish is still feeling his way with his new team. In his second race for Richard Petty Motorsports, Hornish was holding his own. Then a later-race crash swept him, leaving him with damage and forcing him to hold on for a 21st-place finish.
Biffle struggled all day, going laps down on more than one occasion. With just over 20 laps to go though, he crashed out and finished 25th.
Edwards finish doesn’t reflect his performance Sunday. Edwards and his new team ran in the top five much of the day, and he was a contender for the win. A flat tire late in the going, however, doomed him, and he was scored 12th.
Ragan looked good in his first week, subbing for the injured Kyle Busch. He avoided trouble and made a brief appearance inside the top 10. At the end of the day, Ragan finished 18th.
About The Ranker:
Greg Engle is an Examiner.com writer and an award-winning columnist who has worked full time for the Sporting News and the NASCAR Wire Service—if you wanted to get any more inside the sport of NASCAR you’d have to wear a crash helmet. He has received bylines in hundreds of newspapers across the country on auto sports and has also been featured on NASCAR.com, ThatsRacin.com, ESPN and Fox Sports. His work can be found at Examiner.com.