5. Brad Keselowski Is this ranking too high for Keselowski? Maybe, but there’s no doubt the boy is delivering on his potential — busted ankle and all — and could make for a nice darkhorse title contender (and no, none of his product was consumed in the writing of this article).
6. Kevin Harvick Scores his first top-10 finish at Watkins Glen since the July Daytona race. That said, he’s somehow pulled a Carl Edwards and stayed firmly entrenched in the top 5 in the standings. Doesn’t he just seem to disappear sometimes?
7. Kurt Busch It’s hard to recall the last time a lapped car gave the leader the boot, but that’s what we saw out of Busch at the Glen. Let’s see — Kurt would now be wise to steer clear of Johnson and Allmendinger for a while.
8. Matt Kenseth Random stat of the day: Matt Kenseth — not especially known for his road racing acumen — has six straight finishes between 12th and 14th on the roadies. I don’t know how to interpret that, but there it is.
9. Ryan Newman The circuit returns to Michigan on Sunday, where Newman scored a sixth-place finish in June. Expect about the same out of a team that’s been trending upward in the season’s second half. And expect some sarcastic response to a reporter during his Friday media availability for good measure.
10. Tony Stewart A solid top 5 at the Glen was spoiled late. The resulting 27th dropped him in the standings to the edge of the Chase cliff. That oughta put Tony in a real good mood in Michigan.
11. Dale Earnhardt Jr. A 15th at the Glen? Yeah, Junior will gladly take that and move on to the site of his last win.
12. Denny Hamlin We’re all just glad Denny walked away from that one. It’ll be interesting to see what a new engine package does for his team moving forward.
13. Paul Menard A blown tire late at the Glen ruined what was another pretty decent run for Menard. I’m sure if you asked him about it, he’d give you a very leveled and somewhat emotionless response.
14. Joey Logano That road course training Joey got from Max Papis paid off to the tune of a fifth-place run. Man, this kid is still all over the board.
15. Greg Biffle This may be premature, but Biffle could very well rocket up these ranking after he wins Michigan this weekend.
Just off the lead pack: AJ Allmendinger, Marcos Ambrose, Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin
Agree with Matt’s rankings? Disagree? Post a comment below and tell him how you feel. You can also follow Matt on Twitter @MattTaliaferro