Eight races into his return to competition, Kyle Busch has now claimed three victories in the Cup series. He continues his bid to make the 2015 Chase, taking his second consecutive win at New Hampshire. Busch now sits 58 points behind 30th position. I’ll start the hashtag: #BuschWatch
Loudon produced a diverse number of teams in the top 10 with Joe Gibbs Racing leading the charge with three. Other teams included Team Penske (2), Hendrick Motorsports (2), Stewart-Haas Racing (2) and Richard Childress Racing (1). Hendrick Motorsports seems to still be playing catch-up, only placing one driver in the top five and two in the top 10. JGR and Penske both continue their performance upswing. JGR won the pole and placed three drivers in the top 10, while both Penske Racing drivers finished in the top four.
Teams head to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week. But before the pomp-and-circumstance begins, see if your favorite driver made the top 15 in this week’s Power Rankings.
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!
The master of the “old” rules package. Too bad it looks more likely than ever NASCAR’s playoffs will come packaged with a new one. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch
First Place Votes: 5
Logano continues to finish strong near the checkered flag. That’s a healthy habit in Cup territory. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
Loudon hasn’t always been Earnhardt’s best track, but he made it look like it on Sunday, carving his way through the field while others struggled to pass en route to a top five. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch
Quite simply, this guy is on a roll right now. His recent performances have looked similiar to his performances in the Xfinity Series… and that’s bad news for the competition. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch
First Place Votes: 2
If you asked a new fan lately who is the six-time champ, would they guess Johnson or Kyle Busch? Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch
Keselowski seemed to be a bit surly after the race Sunday. It’s one thing to be upset that you didn’t win, however, he was apparently short with everyone post-race because he was exhausted. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch
Six straight top-10 finishes have Busch flashing the consistency he needs to make a serious title run. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch
Kenseth is quietly putting up a really good season. You don’t really notice him out there, but he’s always in contention for a decent finish. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch
Truex Jr. was reeling off top-10 finishes at a record pace to open the season, but he and the Furniture Row Racing team have hit a summer swoon in their outstanding campaign. His 12th-place finish was his fourth consecutive race outside of the top 10 after posting 14 in the first 15 races. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway
It’s sure to be an emotional week for Gordon, who heads to the site of his most famous wins for the last time. You’ll be hard-pressed to find many in the grandstands pulling for any other driver come Sunday. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch
Hamlin doesn’t seem to have many friends, even among his teammates. Might make the Chase a lonely quest for him. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
Edwards may have the win at Charlotte for a berth in the Chase, but he is looking for some momentum heading into the championship format. He scored some this weekend at New Hampshire as he earned his first pole of the season, led 19 laps and finished seventh. It also gave him consecutive top-10 finishes, marking the first time he has done so this year. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway
With a 74-point edge over 16th-place Clint Bowyer on the Chase cutoff, McMurray should be safe to make the playoff. That said, runs like Sunday’s 26th-place result don’t do anything to help his odds. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch
Points racing to get in the Chase. You could knock it, but then again, who was in position to win the title from Harvick last year? Tom Bowles, Frontstretch
Much like last season, the fourth Hendrick Motorsports driver is hanging on by a thread as the Chase approaches. Kahne’s lowly 19th-place result at Loudon leaves him 38 points to the good with the weeks until Chicagoland winding down. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch
Others Receiving Votes: Aric Almirola (33), Austin Dillon (28), Paul Menard (23), Clint Bowyer (14), AJ Allmendinger (11), Casey Mears (6), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (4), Greg Biffle (3), David Ragan (3), Kyle Larson (2), Trevor Bayne (1)