Posted: Tuesday June 26, 2012 1:09PM ; Updated: Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:59PM
Dustin Long
Dustin Long>NASCAR POWER RANKINGS

Tony Stewart rises, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. slides in Power Rankings

Story Highlights

Jimmie Johnson keeps hold of the top spot with a fifth-place finish at Sonoma

A 23rd-place finish frustrated Michigan-winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. on Sunday

Clint Bowyer's victory shouldn't come as a surpise given his history at the track

Sonoma Power Rankings

While Sonoma didn't provide the rock'em, sock'em type of racing that was prevalent in recent events, it still gave the sport a new winner on a road course in Clint Bowyer and proved to be quite a challenge for a number of drivers in this week's Power Rankings:

 
1
Jimmie Johnson
2012 wins: 2
2012 Top-10s: 12
Retains the No. 1 spot with his fifth-place finish at Sonoma. Marks his fifth top-five, including two victories, in the last six points races. He has scored eight top-10 finishes in the last 10 races with the only exceptions being an 11th at Dover and a 35th at Talladega where he suffered an engine failure.
 
2
Tony Stewart
2012 Wins: 2
2012 Top-10s: 8
He's charging toward the top. Stewart's runner-up finish at Sonoma was his third consecutive top-three finish. He has finished in the top three in five of the last seven races, but has not won since Auto Club Speedway in March.
 
3
Matt Kenseth
2012 Wins: 1
2012 Top-10s: 11
Finished 13th at Sonoma to snap his streak of six consecutive top-10 finishes. He's placed no worse than 13th in a race since April. That's why he continues to lead the standings with an 11-point advantage on teammate Greg Biffle.
 
4
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
2012 Wins: 1
2012 Top-10s: 12
His streak at Sonoma continues. He's never had a top-10 finish there. He was 13th when he was collected in a last-lap accident and finished 23rd. Good news, though, is that he again completed every lap. He remains the only driver to run all 4,760 laps this year. That didn't appease him after the race, saying: "I'm just mad because we didn't run better. We were better than this. I've run better here. We weren't good all weekend. We've got to put a better car on the racetrack. I mean I ain't the best road course racer out there, but I can damn sure do better than that."
 
5
Clint Bowyer
2012 Wins: 1
2012 Top-10s: 9
A surprise winner at Sonoma? Not as much a surprise as some might want to make it. He had three fourth-place finishes in the last five years there before Sunday. The victory gave the Michael Waltrip Racing driver his fourth consecutive top-10 finish and sixth in the last eight races. Said Bowyer: "I've always been comfortable [at Sonoma]. I've always enjoyed it and that's what you have to be at any racetrack. But man, never have I had a car like this."
 
6
Greg Biffle
2012 Wins: 1
2012 Top-10s: 10
After a strong, consistent start to the year, his season has yo-yoed. He finished seventh at Sonoma. It's only his fourth top-10 finish in the last eight races.
 
7
Brad Keselowski
2012 Wins: 2
2012 Top-10s: 6
Managed to get through the day with a 12th-place finish. He's finished no better than 12th in his last four races, yet has climbed a spot to 10th in the point standings.
 
8
Denny Hamlin
2012 Wins: 2
2012 Top-10s: 8
Bad day at Sonoma included being spun by his teammate, Joey Logano, and falling out of the race because of mechanical issues. He finished 35th. Hamlin wrote on Twitter after the race: "It's hard to think of the positives after a day like this. Seems like every time I come here it's the same story. Run great, get wrecked."
 
9
Kevin Harvick
2012 Wins: 0
2012 Top-10s: 8
After a 16th-place finish at Sonoma, where he ran out of fuel at one point, the best thing that might be said about his weekend was that his wife didn't give birth to their first child while he was in California. Tweeted Harvick after the race: "Car was fast again drove into top 10 under green then ran out of gas for the 5th time this year and shot ourselves in the foot again...Good news is this weekend is over & @DeLanaHarvick didn't have the baby while we were gone!! Moving on to Kentucky to figure this stuff out."
 
10
Rodney Childers
2012 Wins: 0
2012 Top-10s: 7
Might have one of the more unique jobs in NASCAR among crew chiefs. He has to prepare a car for three different drivers with Mark Martin, Brian Vickers and Michael Waltrip sharing the No. 55 throughout the season at Michael Waltrip Racing. Vickers finished fourth at Sonoma, giving him two top-five finishes in three starts this year. Waltrip is in the car this week at Kentucky and at Daytona the next week. Vickers then returns to the car for New Hampshire before Martin is back in it at Indianapolis in a month. The car ranks 12th in the owner standings this season.
 
 

 
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