The list is short of drivers that can win at Bristol and successfully defend that victory the following year, but you can add Joey Logano to that list. After winning the night race last season, Logano led 176 laps Saturday night and held off Kevin Harvick to pick up his third win of the season. If the Chase were to begin now, Logano would be seeded third behind four-time winners Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch.
Bristol can be considered a wild card when it comes to predictability, however, with only two races left until the Chase begins, the strong drivers are beginning to show their hand. Seven of the top 10 Michigan Power Ranking drivers finished in the top 10 at Bristol. That does not leave a lot of room for drivers on the “bubble” to make their mark and solidify their place in the Chase.
Two tough tracks close out the regular season, and first up is the track “Too Tough to Tame”: Darlington Raceway. Time is running out and tempers are sure to flare. See how your favorite driver ranks after Bristol in this week’s NASCAR 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!
Given his newly-announced sponsor change for 2016, one can only imagine the joy of writing about the Busch car finishing 1-2-3 with Kurt and Kyle Busch. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
First Place Votes: 5
Joey Logano has gone from sliced bread to stacks of hot loaves. It could be that Logano is in the process of fitting for a championship ring. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
You know the younger Busch brother is having a great season when an eighth-place run is an extreme disappointment. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
He isn’t always the highest finisher, or even the one with the best car, but Earnhardt’s consistency has him sitting third in points with the Chase approaching, the best of Hendrick Motorsports. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
At last a Jimmie Johnson sighting. JJ’s fourth-place finish at Bristol was his first top-five performance in his last eight races. He owns a co-series leading four wins but looking to generate some momentum heading into the Chase. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway
Joe Gibbs Racing is hot with driver performance right now. It’s time for Denny Hamlin to blister a finish line. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
Brad must be thinking, “Wait, that’s not supposed to be the Penske car that dominates Bristol!” Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
Truex is having a career year, and seemed to be regaining momentum. But a 28th-place showing at Bristol did nothing for his Furniture Row Racing team. On to the next one. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
One week removed from his third victory of 2015, Kenseth suffered an engine failure and finished 42nd. That’s racing for you. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
As hype continues to be thrown at brother Kyle with the Chase approaching, Kurt would like to remind people which brother has a championship. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
While JGR teammates Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth are stealing the headlines with victories, Edwards is quietly gaining some nice momentum for the Chase. He finished seventh at Bristol for his sixth top 10 in the last seven races after just two in the first 17. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway
Ryan Newman is quietly showing fans that consistency is worthy of cheers. He may not be getting the confetti, but he is riding momentum. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
Not sure what’s lighting a hotter fire under Clint; being on the fringe of the Chase or not having a 2016 ride. Either way, it’s working. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
Another quiet night for the Mac daddy, which is a good thing. Nothing short of a meltdown will keep McMurray out of the Chase with a 76-point cushion on 16th-place Aric Almirola. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
Paul Menard is another quiet success story. He may not be causing any fireworks, but he will likely race for a ring after Richmond. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com