Posted: Tuesday October 23, 2012 2:39PM ; Updated: Tuesday October 23, 2012 2:51PM
Dustin Long
Dustin Long>NASCAR POWER RANKINGS

Despite crashes, drama at Kansas, Chase points race stays unchanged

Story Highlights

Brad Keselowski holds points lead, top Rankings spot despite finishing eighth

Clint Bowyer quietly remains near top with 10 top-10 finishes in 12 races

Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr. both re-enter Rankings after finishing 1-2

Kansas Power Rankings

Crashes, controversy and chaos reigned in Sunday’s race at Kansas Speedway. Matt Kenseth persevered to win the race that saw Danica Patrick wreck herself when she sought to retaliate against Landon Cassill, some Chase drivers spin or bounce off the wall and the title race remain as close as it was entering the race. The action also altered a few positions in this week’s Power Rankings.

 
1
Brad Keselowski
2012 wins: 5
2012 Top-10s: 20
Last week's rank: 1

Sunday was not the best of days but not the worst for Keselowski, as he left Kansas with an eighth-place finish that keeps him atop the Power Rankings. Keselowsk's biggest accomplishment might have been avoiding the carnage that struck throughout the race. If nothing else, Keselowski's 14th top-10 in the last 16 races moves him closer to a Sprint Cup championship.

 
2
Jimmie Johnson
2012 Wins: 2
2012 Top-10s: 22
Last week's rank: 3

Johnson salvaged a ninth-place finish after hitting the wall just past the halfway mark in Sunday's race. The skillful work by his crew over several pit stops helped keep him in the lead lap and save his bid for a sixth series title.

 
3
Denny Hamlin
2012 Wins: 5
2012 Top-10s: 16
Last week's rank: 2

When asked about his race, Hamlin simply said "frustration." Ill-timed cautions ruined team's pit strategy and left him fighting to get back toward the top 10. Instead, he finished 13th and dropped in this week's rankings. He didn't vow to win as he did on Twitter before the New Hampshire race last month, but Hamlin did tweet, "Time for MAX points."

 
4
Clint Bowyer
2012 Wins: 3
2012 Top-10s: 20
Last week's rank: 4

Denny Hamlin said last weekend he was not surprised Bowyer remained in the title hunt because "Clint will just top-five and top-10 you to death." Bowyer's sixth-place finish at Kansas marked his 10th top-10 finish in the last 12 races.

 
5
Kasey Kahne
2012 Wins: 2
2012 Top-10s: 17
Last week's rank: 5

The Kansas pole-sitter placed fourth, earning his fourth top-10 finish in the last six races. Kahne was fast, but he just didn't have enough for the leaders. "It was coming to me and getting good there at the end," he said. "We just weren't close enough at that point in time, but still a solid day."

 
6
Jeff Gordon
2012 Wins: 1
2012 Top-10s: 16
Last week's rank: 6

Gordon's 10th-place finish was his seventh top-10 result in the last nine races. "We did pretty good strategy, so, all in all, it was a decent day for us. I thought we could pull off a top five at one point, but we just didn't."

 
7
Tony Stewart
2012 Wins: 3
2012 Top-10s: 15
Last week's rank: 8

Stewart was one of many Chase drivers who had problems at Kansas. But still, he managed to overcome a spin and place fifth, his best finish in the last four races. "That's how we won a championship last year, by never giving up," said Stewart. "We probably had to pass more cars than anybody today, but that seems to be our M.O. We seem to have to do that every week. We've got a little bit of work to do, but we're gaining on it."

 
8
Matt Kenseth
2012 Wins: 3
2012 Top-10s: 18
Last week's rank: N/A

A lame-duck driver? Kenseth doesn't seem to be showing signs of that with his second victory in the last three starts. But other issues during the Chase have hurt this team and kept Kenseth from challenging for the title or climbing higher in the Power Rankings.

 
9
Martin Truex Jr.
2012 Wins: 0
2012 Top-10s: 18
Last week's rank: N/A

Truex crossed the line one spot behind Kenseth on Sunday -- the second time he's finished second at Kansas this season. Sunday’s effort was his fourth top-10 finish in the last six races. "After the first one I was disappointed," Truex said of his Kansas runner-up finishes. "[After this one] I'm happy with my team and my race car."

 
10
Rick Hendrick
2012 Wins: 7
2012 Top-10s: 74
Last week's rank: N/A

Hendrick is one of NASCAR's most powerful car owners, if not the most powerful -- again, he has a car challenging for the title late in the season (Jimmie Johnson). Hendrick also gets credit for calling a press conference during the middle of Sunday's race at Kansas to correct comments he made before the race to reporters regarding if Dale Earnhardt Jr. had been cleared at that time to resume racing.

 
 

 
SI.com
Hot Topics: NBA Playoffs NHL Playoffs Chris Johnson Jameis Winston NFL Draft Michael Sam Aldon Smith
TM & © 2014 Time Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you. Read our privacy guidelines, your California privacy rights, and ad choices.
SI CoverRead All ArticlesBuy Cover Reprint