Another race determined by fuel strategy in the closing laps. Unlike last week in Pocono, Joey Logano had enough fuel to get to the checkered flag first and sweep the weekend at Watkins Glen. It looked like Kevin Harvick was going to finally pick up his third win of the season but lost fuel pressure in the final two turns, handing the win to Logano.
Kasey Kahne took another hit in the points after getting involved in an accident on a restart. The past two weeks, Kahne has finished 43rd and 42nd, respectively, knocking him out of the top 16 in points. The top Power Rankings drivers fared better. Seven of the top 10 after Pocono finished in the top 10 at Watkins Glen.
Only four races remain until the Chase field is set. Next up is the second visit to Michigan, another track notorious for fuel-mileage finishes. In the meantime, 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!
Reminded the past two weeks that the only lap you REALLY need to lead is the last one. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch
First Place Votes: 4
Harvick probably only needed a Bud can worth of fuel – 16-ounce tall boy at worse – and he would have collected his third win of the season Sunday at Watkins Glen. He still led a race-high 29 of the 90 laps and managed a third-place finish despite running out of fuel for his series-leading 15th top-five finish. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway
First Place Votes: 2
They must have inserted a lead rod when doctors mended Busch’s broken right leg because he has been heavy on the gas ever since his return. In his last six starts, he has four wins and promptly added a runner-up finish at Watkins Glen on Sunday. He remains the hottest driver on the circuit right now bar none. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway
Signs Kenseth is getting old: he’s the new fuel-mileage king of NASCAR. Two races in a row? Someone drives economical on the highway. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch
Keselowski keeps getting closer to another win, but he may be asking Joey for his broom this week at the shop. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
Johnson didn’t have a great run at Watkins Glen and still ended up 10th. Could be a sign of his Chase runs. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
Looks like a driver at Stewart-Haas Racing for years to come as long as he doesn’t forget the secret handshake. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch
Truex seems to have absolutely no luck out there. He was in position for a good finish, but a mistake made earlier in the race came back and bit him when he cut a left-front tire due to contact. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch
It’s been a sluggish year for Edwards in his Joe Gibbs Racing debut, but he’s creeping up the charts at the right time. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch
Hanging out in the top 15 waiting for the Chase to start. I’m sure Greg Ives has something up his sleeve. Junior is always a favorite at Michigan and would very much like to break out of that gaggle of drivers with two wins this season. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch
Bowyer is weathering the storm of the MWR-Kauffman-Ganassi mess fairly well. His future is not assured yet, so he must keep charging. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch
Menard is a calm, quiet, determined competitor with steady results. Even if he doesn’t get a win before the Chase, it’s likely he’ll be chasing the championship. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
For the second time in three weeks, Hamlin had to deal with his hood flying up into his windshield, most likely inspiring little kids worldwide to lift the hoods on their FedEx No. 11 Toyota diecasts. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch
Jamie Mac still looks safe to make the Chase, but another horrid finish – this time in 40th – continues to push him in the wrong direction. You’re running out of mulligans, McMurray. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch
Newman is still quietly hanging around inside the top 16, thanks to a mediocre 15th-place run at Watkins Glen. Is he setting up for a repeat of last season? Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch