Welcome to the Inside Track’s NASCAR Power Rankings. Each week of the Sprint Cup season, the Gazette’s Jeremiah Davis will rank the series’ top 10 drivers.
Think the list should be different? Tweet him at @jeremiahdavis10, or comment in the comments section.
New this week: Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon
Dropped out: Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart
|1||1||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||0||Who else? The sport’s most popular driver won the sport’s biggest race in prime time. His genuine joy and celebration after his second Daytona 500 win is why so many people love him.|
|2||1||Jimmie Johnson||0||Six-time got a bunch of tweets and texts congratulating him on his second 500 win…because people were confused when Fox aired last year’s race during the rain delay.|
|3||0||Matt Kenseth||0||Finished sixth and ran up front all day. It’s no coincidence, either, as the 2003 champ has two Daytona 500 wins and is consistently a force at restrictor plate tracks.|
|4||3||Denny Hamlin||0||Had the most dominant Speedweeks overall, winning the Sprint Unlimited and his Gatorade Duel, then running second to Jr. Great results, but a bitter pill to swallow Sunday night.|
|5||1||Brad Keselowski||0||Next to Dale Jr., the retro Miller Lite car was the strongest in the field for much of the day. The 2012 champ was happy for his former boss, but visibly frustrated he didn’t win.|
|6||2||Kyle Busch||0||Led 19 laps and ran up front all day before the melee at the end. Busch’s luck at Daytona is akin to mine at the casino: always close, but end up crabby and wondering why you went.|
|7||2||Kasey Kahne||0||Another strong car that go caught up in a wreck. Seems to be the theme for Kahne — run really well and have a chance to win or end up on the hook.|
|8||N/R||Greg Biffle||0||Challenged for the lead in a big way towards the end of the race, swapping the top spot with Dale Jr. prior to all the carnage. The Biff is in a contract year, so watch out.|
|9||N/R||Jeff Gordon||0||Junior Nation had plenty of love for the four-time champ after the race. Gordon pushed his teammate to a great restart, then had to fight back to fourth at the end.|
|10||2||Kevin Harvick||0||Despite sparking the wreck on the final lap by losing control, Harvick had a solid debut with his Stewart-Haas team. They were fast all Speedweeks, and seemed to work well together.|
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