Carl Edwards took advantage of fuel strategy to win his first race of 2015 and first driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. Edwards led only 25 laps but put himself in the lead by pitting with 62 laps to go and conserving fuel to the end, while the dominant cars were forced to pit. Meanwhile, Martin Truex, Jr. and Kurt Busch were the class of the field, leading a combined 249 of the 400 laps.
Although a few drivers had surprise finishes, like Greg Biffle, many of those that were strong in the All-Star Race kept the momentum up this weekend. The top 10 finishers in the All-Star Race all finished in the top 15 Sunday night.
After two weeks of home games, teams head north to the concrete “Monster” in Dover, Delaware. But first, see how your favorite driver ranks this week.
How The Rankings Are Calculated: Frontstretch does our power rankings similar to how the Associated Press does them for basketball or football. Our expert stable of NASCAR writers, both on staff and from other major publications will vote for the Top 20 on a 20-19-18-17… 3-2-1 basis, giving 20 points to their first-place driver, 19 for second, and so on. In the end, Mike Mehedin calculates the points, adds some funny one-liners, and… here you go!
When a bad day is a ninth-place finish due to being on the wrong side of a fuel mileage race you know you are having a great season. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com
First Place Votes: 5
Dale, Jr’s 3.2 average finish on 1.5-mile tracks is impressive. However, the lack of a win on such tracks makes it all for naught. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
Surprised a lot of people, including myself, with his lack of presence toward the top of the running order all night. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com
Potential consolation to Truex and team is that Harvick went through several near misses early last season as well, and that turned out pretty good in the end. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
Kenseth rattled off another solid top-5 finish by stretching fuel. It didn’t happen the way the pole-sitter expected, but I doubt he’ll complain. Dennis Michelsen, Frontstretch.com
Jimmie Johnson and team may have hit the wall in Charlotte, and even with three wins in the bank, Johnson will likely bounce back before the Chase begins. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
Could easily have five wins this season. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com
Unfortunately for Team Penske, Brad Keselowski couldn’t bring it a win, leading the team with a seventh-place finish. Roger Penske should be alright, though. I heard he won some other race that day. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
Thought he might win the All-Star/600 double but was only able to manage a top-10 finish. Still not bad all things considered. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com
Not sure what was more difficult for Edwards, nursing the car home on fumes or fighting his way out of the stands. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
Have to wonder whether Jeff Gordon will win during his final season. A win or two would give him more to talk about next year when he moves into the Fox TV booth. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
That’s right, he’s still top 10-ing everyone to death. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
Probably won the award for most cars passed. Started in the 30s, made it into the top 10, got a speed penalty, raced for the lucky dog and ended up 12th. Surely not the finish he was expecting but could have been a lot worse. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com
Another top 20 for Almirola, who has become the king of “just good enough” this season when it comes to the points standings. Still, as new drivers keep winning, the margin for error is getting slimmer. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
Honestly, how many people would have guessed Biffle would have been the shining star for Roush-Fenway Racing Sunday night? Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com
Others Receiving Votes: Jamie McMurray (34), Paul Menard (30), Kyle Busch (28), Austin Dillon (13), Clint Bowyer (11), Danica Patrick (6), Kyle Larson (5), Landon Cassill (1).