Tony Stewart remains second on the Unified Power Rankings after posting a solid seventh-place finish at Michigan International Speedway. He's been both consistent and strong with 10 consecutive Cup races in which he's finished on the lead lap. To prove his versatility, in recent months he's also won a dirt late model race at Paducah International Raceway and finished sixth in the Dream at his Eldora Raceway—one of the premier races for that type of car.
And in the Indy Racing League, Helio Castroneves continues to tower above his peers. Currently, Castroneves is about five percentage points better than Ryan Briscoe and eight better than Dario Franchitti, but there could be a shakeup in next week's standings since neither Castroneves nor Briscoe have been overly impressive on the IRL short tracks.
Castroneves was 14th at Iowa last year and since that is the next venue on the calendar, he's going to have to pick up the pace. He also finished outside the top 10 in Richmond in 2007, which outbalances his second-place result there last year.
In two short track starts last year, Briscoe finished seventh at Iowa and 15th at Richmond. In stark contrast, the last time Franchitti was on these two tracks, he swept victory lane.
The biggest mover inside the top 10 last week was Mark Martin. The aged veteran used a fuel mileage strategy to win his third NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season, which ties him with Kyle Busch. He's skipped the last four road races while running a part time schedule, but this driver once posted 23 top-10 finishes in 24 starts on that track type from 1989 through 2001, so you can expect him to keep his momentum.
Nationwide Regular Jason Leffler has done a great job of staying in the Unified Power Rankings' top 10. He finished sixth in the standalone race at Kentucky Speedway, but don't start thinking his strong effort was because there were so few Claim Jumpers in the field. That was his ninth consecutive top-10 finish in NASCAR's second series.
Unified Power Rankings
|39||Dale Earnhardt Jr||67.80||39||0|
|40||Ron Hornaday Jr||67.33||42||2|
|46||Johnny Benson Jr||66.00||41||-5|