Race Weekend Central

The 10: The Great Tie of Arizona

Well, this is a first.

Sunday’s Good Sam 500(k) marked the second photo finish in four races to start 2016, with Kevin Harvick just edging out Carl Edwards to stay atop the throne as the king of Phoenix International Raceway.

Not one to be outdone, our list of Power Rankings voters somehow managed an even crazier feat. The rankings contain not one, but two ties this week. Even better, they’re for the top four spots.

Let’s see a photo finish top that.

Without further adieu, here are this week’s rankings.

POWER RANKINGS: Good Sam 500(k)

1 (Tie). KYLE BUSCH (194 POINTS, No Change)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“RED HOT- four consecutive top-5 finishes to start 2016, going to one of his better tracks.” – Dustin Albino, Frontstretch

“Hey, he came up short on Sunday but he won the race that really matters to him on Saturday.” – @TheOrangeCone

1 (Tie).  Kevin Harvick (194 POINTS, +2)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“It’s amazing what a win will do for you, isn’t it? A victory in the desert gives Harvick the points lead AND a shot at the title.” – Pete McCole, AutoRacing1.com

“JIMMY JOHNS ANNOUNCES ITS “KEVIN HARVICK SPECIAL.” A FOUR-INCH SUB SERVED IN 0.10 SECONDS TO CELEBRATE HIS WIN AT PHOENIX.” – @AnnoyingRaceFan

“Harvick could win at Phoenix driving a bulldozer. Edwards wishes he *was* driving a bulldozer on the final corner of the final lap.” – @TheOrangeCone

3 (Tie).  Kurt Busch (123 POINTS, +3)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“Quietly keeping himself right up there in the hunt every week.  A win should be coming up pretty soon.” – Phil Allaway, Frontstretch

“Surprising that he never led on Sunday, but expect him to be strong at Auto Club.” – Ryan Gable, Frontstretch

3 (Tie).   Carl Edwards (123 POINTS, +7)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“Cousin Carl missed a golden opportunity Sunday. The last time he came within an eyelash of the title he did that far too much during the season.” – Mike Neff, Frontstretch

“Take note Mr. France, THAT is quintessential NASCAR.” – Gable, Frontstretch

5.   Jimmie Johnson (119 POINTS, -3)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“HIS STEERING WHEEL FINISHED BETTER AT PHOENIX THAN HE DID.” – @AnnoyingRaceFan

“First JJ forgot to latch his steering wheel in, then Will Power forgot to keep his hands on the wheel… Lewis Hamilton better keep eye on his wheel when F1 returns.” – Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch

6.   Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (112 POINTS, +2)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“Six drivers have more than one top 5 this season. If it weren’t for the horrible finish at Daytona, Junior would be right at the top with the four best right now.” – Neff

“Did you see how fast that car was on Sunday? A victory is right around the corner.” – Albino

7.   Denny Hamlin (73 POINTS, Prev. Unranked)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“It’s taken Denny three weeks to recover on-track from his Daytona 500 victory, and probably about as long behind the scenes to recover from the hangovers and lack of sleep.” – Bearden

“He recovered well from the pit road penalty, but it took practically the whole race.” – Gable

8.   Austin Dillon (62 POINTS, +1)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“Another strong run could mean the RCR team is finally starting to gel around the organization’s future flagship driver.” – @TheOrangeCone

“After 2014’s rookie of the year battle, if I told you that Austin Dillon was more likely to get his first win before Kyle Larson you would’ve been staring at me like I grew a second head.” – Kyle Pokrefky, The Fourth Turn

9.   Joey Logano (49 POINTS, -6)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“Had a spot of bad luck with the fueling issue Sunday.  Had that not happened, he would have claimed another top 10.” – Allaway

“Ahh, frick.” – Pokrefky

“Sounding a little flustered after the race in Phoenix, that will go away once he grabs another trophy.” – Neff

10. Brad Keselowski  (27 POINTS, -5)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“Subpar day in the desert, but now Kez is heading to the site of his only 2015 win. A second victory could set this team up as a major threat.” – Bearden

“Disappointing run in the desert. The victory in Vegas keeps him in the top 10.” – Albino

Close, But No Cigar

Normally, I’d put some sort of clever quote about how these two drivers were “so close” to cracking the top 10. However, after a week like this, two points seems like a mile. Better luck next week, guys.

Martin Truex, Jr. (25 Points, Finished 14th) – “Still hanging in there, but this team’s performance has started to slip a little.” – McCole

Ryan Blaney (23 Points, Finished 10th) – “A 10th-PLACE FINISH AT PHOENIX AND A KILLER SNAPCHAT SESSION.” – @AnnoyingRaceFan

Others receiving votes: Matt Kenseth (14), Chase Elliott (5), Ryan Truex (4. Inside joke?), Rattlesnake Hill (1)

CONTRIBUTORS

Name Twitter
Dustin Albino @DustinAlbino
Phil Allaway @Critic84
Aaron Bearden @AaronBearden93
Summer Bedgood @SummerBedgood
Tom Bowles @NASCARBowles
Greg Davis @GregMDavis
Sean Fesko @TheWriterSean
Michael Finley @FinleyFactor
Bryan Gable N/A
Tony Lumbis @TonyLumbis
Toni Montgomery @ToniLMontgomery
Kevin Rutherford @surfwax83
Jason Schultz @NASCARJason
Joseph Wolkin @JosephNASCAR
Name Twitter Position/Description
AnnoyingRaceFan @AnnoyingRaceFan I’M @annoyingracefan ON TWITTER (AND INSTAGRAM). PEOPLE CALL ME ARF. I’M A RELATIVE NOBODY.
MatthewDillner @MatthewDillner NASCAR
Brian Eberly @beberly18 Writer, Rubbings Racing, Motor Racing Digest
Mike Hembree @MikeHembree Writer, USA Today
Ben Hinc @lemonlovr Owner, The Apex
Jerry Jordan @kicknthetires Owner, Kicknthetires.Net
Pete McCole @PeteMcCole NASCAR Writer, AutoRacing1.com
The Orange Cone @TheOrangeCone I am an orange traffic cone.
Kyle Pokrefky @KPokrefky Writer, The Fourth Turn
Reid Spencer @Reid_Spencer Lead Writer, NASCAR Wire Service
Doug Turnbull @DougTurnbull Announcer, PRN Live, Atlanta Motor Speedway
Jim Utter @jim_utter NASCAR Editor, Motorsport.com

How they’re made: Following the conclusion of each NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, members of a voting panel including Frontstretch writers, members of accredited media including Motorsport, NASCAR and USA Today, as well as writers from other sites and social media favorites, submit their top 10 drivers for the Power Rankings. The drivers are then given points based off their position, with first place getting 10 points, and each subsequent driver getting one few point until the 10th-place driver, who gets a lone point. Points are then tallied, and the rankings are created.

Do you agree with our rankings? Think someone got snubbed, or that one of the top drivers is overrated? Let us know in the comments, and tell us what your top 10 would be. 

About the author

A graduate of Ball State, Aaron rejoins Frontstretch for his second season in 2016 following a successful year that included covering seven races and starting the popular "Two-Headed Monster" column in 2015. Now in his third year of covering motorsports, Aaron serves as an Assistant Editor for Frontstretch while also contributing to other popular sites including Speed51 and The Apex. He encourages you to come say hi when you see him at the track.

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