By Dustin Long
March 20, 2012
Bristol Power Rankings

There's a Rowdy, a Smoke and even a driver known as Happy, but there isn't one nickname in NASCAR for a group of drivers.

Maybe it's time.

Michael Waltrip Racing placed three drivers in the top five Sunday at Bristol in a continued sign that the organization is able to compete with the sport's top teams.

Martin Truex Jr. leads the group. He's fourth in the points. Clint Bowyer is eighth. Mark Martin was 10th until he skipped the Bristol race, and even now he sits 16th. Brian Vickers finished fifth driving Martin's car in what was Vickers' first start of the season.

So, is there a good nickname to give to these drivers? There's got to be some sort of catchy name someone can devise. While you do ponder that, here's this week's Power Rankings:

Greg Biffle
2012 wins: 0
2012 Top-10s: 3
For the first time this season, Biffle failed to finish third. Yet, to show he still likes the No. 3, he finished 13th at Bristol. Biffle tweeted on Monday that the team discovered a failed right front bump stop was why he struggled to turn the car at Bristol. Next up is Auto Club Speedway and Biffle has been excited about that place for a couple of weeks, noting he'll run a new car there.
Kevin Harvick
2012 Wins: 0
2012 Top-10s: 2
Harvick got caught in that early crash at Bristol and suffered some front-end damage. The team did a good job repairing the car, though, and helped him finish 11th. For the team's effort, Harvick maintains his No. 2 ranking.
Matt Kenseth
2012 Wins: 1
2012 Top-10s: 2
He challenged Brad Keselowski in a spirited duel Sunday at Bristol for the lead but had to settle for second place. In four races, he has a first in the Daytona 500 and a second at Bristol. He likely would have had a top-10 finish at Las Vegas had he not been involved in an incident in the final laps. Certainly showing his strength.
Jimmie Johnson
2012 Wins: 0
2012 Top-10s: 3
He is steadily climbing the rankings. Johnson is tied with Biffle and Paul Menard for the most top-10 finishes this season after placing ninth on Sunday at Bristol.
Denny Hamlin
2012 Wins: 1
2012 Top-10s: 2
An unremarkable weekend drops Hamlin two spots. His Phoenix victory keeps him from sliding further. After starting the year with a fourth-place finish and a win, he's placed 20th in back-to-back weeks.
Tony Stewart
2012 Wins: 1
2012 Top-10s: 1
Who would have thought? Stewart's 14th-place finish Sunday was his best finish at Bristol in the last four races there. At least he finished on the lead lap. He didn't do that in the night race in August.
Brad Keselowski
2012 Wins: 1
2012 Top-10s: 2
He was dominant, leading 232 laps, and withstood Matt Kenseth's charges to win his second race in a row at Bristol. Afterward, Keselowski said: "I love Bristol and Bristol loves me." To celebrate his success, he tweeted a picture from his car in Victory Lane. He now has more than a quarter million followers.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2012 Wins: 0
2012 Top-10s: 2
He scored a 15th-place finish at Bristol but the talk afterward was about racing teammate Jeff Gordon, the contact they had and the resulting crash for Gordon.
Paul Menard
2012 Wins: 0
2012 Top-10s: 3
Did you notice Menard has three top-10s in the first four races? Did you also notice that this is the third consecutive year he's been in the top 10 in points after four races? He and Tony Stewart are the only drivers to accomplish that feat.
Michael Waltrip Racing
Combined 2012 Wins: 0
Combined 2012 Top-10s: 7
All three MWR cars finished in the top five at Bristol and two drivers are in the top 10 in points. A great start to the season for this team. Now the key is if it can continue.

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