By Dustin Long
April 03, 2012
Martinsville Power Rankings

NASCAR takes a rare off-weekend this week, but Martinsville gave fans plenty to discuss from whether David Reutimann had an obligation to get off the track late in the race to Clint Bowyer's three-wide attempt for the lead to Ryan Newman winning a race Jeff Gordon dominated.

That should keep the conversations going until the Sprint Cup Series is back in action April 14 at Texas Motor Speedway.

There's even more to discuss until then -- such as this week's Power Rankings and who jumps into the rankings at No. 10.

Tony Stewart
2012 wins: 2
2012 Top-10s: 3
Stewart finished seventh at Martinsville. He wasn't spectacular, but he hung in the top 10 much of the race. After the off-weekend, NASCAR heads to Texas and Kansas, both 1.5-mile tracks. Stewart has been the driver to beat at the big tracks where horsepower and aerodynamics are critical, winning at Las Vegas (1.5-mile speedway) and Fontana, Calif., (2-mile speedway) this season.
Greg Biffle
2012 Wins: 0
2012 Top-10s: 4
Biffle's strong season continues. He's yet to finish worse than 13th, which is where he wound up at Martinsville, a track where he had two top-10 finishes in 18 starts before Sunday. For him to come out with nearly a top 10 at one of his weakest tracks is a good day.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2012 Wins: 0
2012 Top-10s: 4
Earnhardt scored his third top-three finish of the season at Martinsville, and he showed good speed throughout much of the race. The finish moved him up to second in the points. Of course, he was strong early last year and then faded a bit, so the key is to see how this team performs in the coming weeks.
Denny Hamlin
2012 Wins: 1
2012 Top-10s: 3
Just wasn't as strong at Martinsville as he's been in the past. He's created high expectations for himself there with four victories in 14 starts, so his sixth-place finish was a bit of a disappointment. Hamlin said after the race that the team tried a different setup to prepare for the track's fall race, which is in the Chase. We'll see if that helps.
Kevin Harvick
2012 Wins: 0
2012 Top-10s: 3
The best thing about Harvick's day at Martinsville? It's over. The winner of this race a year ago fell a lap down before lap 200 and never was a factor, finishing 19th, two laps off the pace.
Jimmie Johnson
2012 Wins: 0
2012 Top-10s: 4
Johnson now has two wins in his last 50 starts after losing his chance at victory late in Sunday's race. Let's take a deeper look at that stretch. Johnson has finished in the top five in 44 percent of those last 50 races and has placed in the top 10 in 66 percent of those races. So, he's not slumping, he's just not getting to Victory Lane as much as expected. Still, watch out for him.
Matt Kenseth
2012 Wins: 1
2012 Top-10s: 3
Kenseth had a strong showing at Martinsville, placing fourth -- his best finish there since taking second in the spring 2002 race. Making it better, Kenseth said he left Martinsville without anyone angry at him or being angry at anyone. "A pretty good day," he said.
Ryan Newman
2012 Wins: 1
2012 Top-10s: 3
Let's be honest, Newman wasn't going to win if there hadn't been that incident on the next-to-last restart, but winning is often about putting yourself in the right position to take advantage of the situation. Newman did that after overcoming a speeding penalty on pit road earlier in the race.
Martin Truex Jr.
2012 Wins: 0
2012 Top-10s: 4
His fifth-place finish tied his career best at Martinsville. Said Truex afterward: "This is probably my worst racetrack and to come out of here with a fifth-place finish, I'm pretty proud of that."
Tony Stewart (the car owner)
Combined 2012 Wins: 3
Combined 2012 Top-10s: 6
Dating to last season, Stewart-Haas Racing has won eight of the last 16 Cup races, with Stewart scoring seven wins and Ryan Newman one. Said Newman: "Some guys are only capable of winning at certain racetracks and we have proved that Stewart-Haas is capable of [winning on] a lot."

You May Like

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)