Another week of fuel mileage paid off again for Matt Kenseth. He dominated the race Sunday afternoon, leading a race high 146 laps, and had enough fuel to cross the line first. This win is Kenseth’s third of the season and second in the past three weeks. He now sits solely in the third seed behind Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch, who both have four wins.
With only three races remaining until the Chase, the top drivers are starting to show their strength. Seven drivers from the Watkins Glen Power Rankings top 10 finished in the top 10 at Michigan, showing their versatility going from a road course to a high-speed oval. Even though he crashed his primary car, Kyle Busch still finished a respectable 11th which helps his chances of staying in the top 30 in points.
Next up is Bristol, where no one is safe and anything can happen. See if your driver made the top-15 in this week’s Sprint Cup 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!
Kevin Harvick may set a record for top-5 results this year. At this point he has to be “Happy” with so many competitive finishes rolling into the Chase. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
First Place Votes: 6
Kenseth and Kyle Busch have been like the JGR relay team to Victory Lane, handing off the baton to each other as they have dominated in recent weeks. In the last six races, Busch has three wins and now Kenseth has won two of the last three after Sunday’s triumph at Michigan. Kyle, get ready for that baton at Bristol. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway
I imagine if Logano went a month without shaving that his beard, much like his splitter in pre-race inspection, would be found to be a bit too thin. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
The field thanks you for wrecking your ultra-fast primary car at Michigan, forcing you to your backup ride and the rear for the field to start the race. You finished 11th, but you gave them all a chance to win for one weekend. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway
It seemed like Furniture Row Racing was slumping a month or so ago, but the team has gone back to their top-5 ways, finishing third in Michigan. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
I’m not going to lie. That retro paint scheme was by far the best I’ve seen in a number of years. It works well when you have the same sponsor, too. Mike Mehedin, Frontstretch.com
It’s hard to believe that Earnhardt was the only Hendrick Motorsports driver to finish inside the top 10 at Michigan, a track they swept in 2014. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
Carl Edwards has only one backflip off a winning car this season, but he and Joe Gibbs Racing have been running well. It’s time for another backflip. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
Hamlin hasn’t quite had the speed of JGR teammates Kenseth and Busch, but we said the same thing about him before the Chase last year, too. We all know how that turned out. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
The June winner at Michigan wasn’t so lucky in his July return, facing a myriad of issues and finishing a lap down in 20th. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
How many of you are seriously falling for the “there’s something wrong with the 48” trick again? Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
Ryan Newman knows the Chase reality. Even with zero wins you can advance while others drop out. He may repeat with consistency. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
Don’t look now, but Paul Menard seems to have avoided his usual summer drought and is actually in good position to make the Chase. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
Gordon is enduring a less-than-enjoyable rollercoaster ride for a Chase berth. Currently hanging onto the 15th seed in the 16-driver field after finishing 17th at Michigan, Gordon is busting out the “Rainbow Warriors” paint scheme for some retro mojo at Bristol. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway
Jamie Mac’s recent struggles continued at Michigan, but at least a 16th-place run kept him from losing too many points in the Chase standings. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com