NASCAR & Auto Racing

Johnson takes control

of rankings

That’s Racin's David Poole ranks the top 40 teams in the NASCAR Nextel Cup series following the Chevy 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. (Rankings based on team performance and potential. Each team's previous week's ranking in parentheses:)

1. (3) Jimmie Johnson – car No. 48

Two straight wins and a 20-point lead to start the Chase for the defending champions.

2. (1) Tony Stewart – car No. 20

Finishes second but falls from the top spot? Hey, winning has to mean something to someone.

3. (2) Jeff Gordon – car No. 24

Had 21 top-10 finishes in first 26 races. If he can keep that up he’ll be hard to beat.

4. (4) Kurt Busch – car No. 2

Don’t underestimate them. Crew chief Pat Tryson is four for four in making Chase.

5. (5) Carl Edwards – car No. 99

If there’s a 42nd-place finish in the pipeline the 26th race is a good place to pour it out.

6. (6) Denny Hamlin – car No. 11

Sixth at Richmond. This is the kind of team that could sixth-place the Chase to death.

7. (7) Matt Kenseth – car No. 17

This team is capable of winning a championship but not unless it bumps it up a notch.

8. (9) Martin Truex Jr. – car No. 1

Fast Chase start possible. He was third at Loudon and first at Dover earlier this year.

9. (8) Kyle Busch – car No. 5

If he avoids bottom 10 finishes in the Chase he’ll have enough top 10s to contend.

10. (12) Kevin Harvick – car No. 29

Nobody – except ABC’s announcers – got excited over Richmond bumps in the road.

11. (10) Jeff Burton – car No. 31

Nobody expected much in last year’s Chase, either, but Burton led it after five races.

12. (11) Clint Bowyer – car No. 07

It’s not an issue of disrespect to say that a title for this team would be a huge upset.

13. (13) Dale Earnhardt Jr. – car No. 8

14. (14) Bobby Labonte – car No. 43

15. (15) Ryan Newman – car No. 12

16. (17) Casey Mears – car No. 25

17. (16) Greg Biffle – car No. 16

18. (18) Juan Pablo Montoya – car No. 42

19. (20) Kasey Kahne – car No. 9

20. (19) Mark Martin/Aric Almirola – car No. 01

21. (21) Jamie McMurray – car No. 26

22. (22) Reed Sorenson – car No. 41

23. (32) David Ragan – car No. 6

24. (26) J.J. Yeley – car No. 18

25. (23) Robby Gordon – car No. 7

26. (24) David Stremme – car No. 40

27. (25) David Gilliland – car No. 38

28. (27) Jeff Green – car No. 66

29. (28) Dave Blaney – car No. 22

30. (30) Brian Vickers – car No. 83

31. (38) Johnny Sauter – car No. 70

32. (29) Tony Raines – car No. 96

33. (31) Bill Elliott – car No. 21

34. (33) Elliott Sadler – car No. 19

35. (36) David Reutimann – car No. 00

36. (34) Paul Menard – car No. 15

37. (35) Ricky Rudd – car No. 88

38. (37) Kyle Petty – car No. 45

39. (39) Scott Riggs – car No. 10

40. (40) Ward Burton – car No. 4

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