Joey Logano will be the only driver sleeping well this weekend at Talladega. After contact with leader Matt Kenseth in the closing laps, Logano took his second straight checkered flag and is the only driver with a win in the Contender Round.
Hendrick Motorsports put three drivers in the top 10 led by non-chase contenders Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne who finished third and fourth, respectively.
The driver that most likely turned the most heads Sunday afternoon was Ryan Blaney who drove the famed No. 21 to a seventh place finish.
After the first round some heavy-hitters were knocked out and going into the elimination race at Talladega number of top drivers are in must-win situations.
Drivers currently outside the top 8:
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Check to see if your favorite driver made the top 15 after Kansas. The question is, will they stay there after the “Wild Card” event of the Chase is over.
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!
Call it a hunch, but I don’t think Martinsville is going to go well for Logano. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
First Place Votes: 5
It is almost like his team is intentionally putting themselves behind the eight ball every round just to watch him wriggle out of it. Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com
First Place Votes: 1
Quietly the only driver in the Chase so far with four top-5 finishes. Hamlin plays it quiet during the regular season but has figured out how to get the job done in crunch time. Too bad the Talladega Monster could come out and bite at any time. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
First Place Votes: 1
He was glad to be third in the points until he realized he was only 16 points up on the cut line. Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com
Perhaps the best Joe Gibbs Racing has to offer with Kenseth running out of racing luck. But can Busch race his way back into the top 8 this Sunday? Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
He’s the other Joe Gibbs driver. Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com
Went from being laps away from securing his spot in the third round of the Chase to a must-win situation at none other than Talladega. This is going to be exciting. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com
Third at Kansas a reminder of oh, what might have been for this team that you know has the speed to contend in all 10 races. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
He scored his first win at there and his biggest win there. Look for Keselowski to try and recapture the magic at Talladega. Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com
Last season, Gordon lost out on the Chase because of some bad racing luck despite dominating the point standings. How ironic if he kicks someone out of the Chase down the stretch during a year when he’s top 10’d it to death. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
Kansas is a popular location for unidentified object sightings. This time it turned out to be Kasey Kahne. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
The little team that could needs to stick to the front Sunday. Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com
Slow and steady wins the race… slow and steady wins the Chase… is that what this team chants before the race each week? You can’t fight against it. The strategy works. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
When he gets a full-time ride, he’s going to be a force every weekend. It is a shame he’s going to have to wait until a franchise seat opens up because they aren’t going to let the Wood Brothers have a ‘medallion’. Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com
Time for a special matched set of tires. Or a bigger restrictor plate. Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com