NASCAR Race Weekend Central

The 10: Top Guns After Texas

After 500 miles – and a few extra hours — of racing (thanks, rain) little change occurred at the top of the Power Rankings.

With the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series field starting to get into the meat of the 2016 schedule, the best teams in the series are beginning to establish themselves, and with that, positions within these rankings are quickly becoming difficult to come by.

Still, there is ground to be made for teams that can rise to the top, as evident by some movers and shakers in the latter half of the top 10.

Who improved? Who has work to do? Let’s find out.

POWER RANKINGS: Duck Commander 500

1. KYLE BUSCH (160 POINTS, No Change)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“Remember when Busch got suspended for his actions at Texas? Now, he just runs circles around everyone and holds up a championship trophy while he does it. #wholenewman” – Tom Bowles, Frontstretch

“One more sweep and I’m going to start calling him The Janitor.” – Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch

2.  JIMMIE JOHNSON (139 POINTS, No Change)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“His performance on Sunday was like my entire high school life — no one ever talked about him except maybe like once.” – @AnnoyingRaceFan

“Dodged a bullet by dodging Austin Dillon and scored a top-5 finish. Has three straight top 5s at Bristol.” – Pete McCole, AutoRacing1.com

3.  KEVIN HARVICK (129 POINTS, No Change)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“The best driver rating in the Sprint Cup Series at 118.8.” – Brian Eberly, Motor Racing Digest
 “Two straight weeks off his game. Just a blip on the radar or something to watch after his pit crew was put through radio abuse?” – Bowles

4.   JOEY LOGANO (103 POINTS, +1)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Hasn’t won yet, but he is still in great shape for the Chase.” – Bryan Gable, Frontstretch
“So far this season the short tracks have not been too kind to Joey (weren’t too kind last season either). He’s got two wins in his last four starts at Bristol to go along with two finishes of 20th or worse. Going to be tough sledding this weekend.” – McCole

5.   CARL EDWARDS (90 POINTS, -1)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Arguably, Texas was Edwards’ best race in his stint with JGR even though he didn’t win. Led over one-third of the race… it means another top 10-finish ahead and a win has to be around the corner.” – Dustin Albino, Frontstretch
 “A loose wheel probably cost him a win and us a backflip while holding two pistols.” – @AnnoyingRaceFan

6.   DALE EARNHARDT, JR. (89 POINTS, +2)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“If he had won, I would’ve had to shave an ’88’ in my hair, so I’m glad he finished second.” – @AnnoyingRaceFan

“He’s been hit or miss to start the 2016 season, but with two runner-up finishes and tracks like Talladega coming up, a victory feels close for Earnhardt and Co.” – Bearden

7.   MARTIN TRUEX, JR. (45 POINTS, PREV. UNRANKED)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Cole Pearn could not hear the thousands of fans screaming from their couches to call his driver to pit road.” – Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch
“While Truex is 11th in the championship standings, he boasts a driver rating of 103, good for fourth-best in the Sprint Cup Series.” – Eberly

8.   CHASE ELLIOTT (34 POINTS, Prev. Unranked)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Young like a rookie. No experience like a rookie BUT… sure not performing like a rookie.” – Bowles
“He should change transmissions before every race.” – @AnnoyingRaceFan

9.   KURT BUSCH (31 POINTS, No Change)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Another team that’s hanging in there. Like his younger brother, the elder Busch needs to keep a level head at Bristol. He knows how to win there, but hasn’t had the finishes to show for it the last few years.” – McCole
“Has he lost some speed from the first few races, or is he laying in the weeds?  We may find out at Bristol.” – Gable

10. AUSTIN DILLON (30 POINTS, -3)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“If not for the late incident he would have had another top-10 finish. ” – Albino

“Dillon’s early momentum literally came crashing down in Texas. How the team responds in Bristol could indicate how the rest of their season will go.” – Bearden

CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR

These two drivers each have a win on the year, so they’re all but guaranteed for the Chase. It’s a good thing, too, because they were as quiet as the Texas countryside on Saturday night.

Denny Hamlin (27 Points, Finished 18th) – “12th place is not what they needed coming off that DNF at Martinsville, but they still gained a spot in the points.” – McCole

Brad Keselowski (24 Points, Finished 16th) – Like my love life, he was nowhere to be found on Saturday.” – @AnnoyingRaceFan

Others receiving votes: Ryan Blaney (7), Kasey Kahne (5), Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (2), Kyle Larson/Richard Childress Racing Fab Shop (1)

NameTwitter
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 GableN/A
Tony Lumbis@TonyLumbis
Toni Montgomery@ToniLMontgomery
Kevin Rutherford@surfwax83
Jason Schultz@NASCARJason
Joseph Wolkin@JosephNASCAR
NameTwitterPosition/Description
AnnoyingRaceFan @AnnoyingRaceFan I’M @annoyingracefan ON TWITTER (AND INSTAGRAM). PEOPLE CALL ME ARF. I’M A RELATIVE NOBODY.
MatthewDillner@MatthewDillnerNASCAR
Brian Eberly@beberly18Writer, Rubbings Racing, Motor Racing Digest
Mike Hembree@MikeHembreeWriter, USA Today
Ben Hinc@lemonlovrOwner, The Apex
Jerry Jordan@kicknthetiresOwner, Kicknthetires.Net
Pete McCole@PeteMcColeNASCAR Writer, AutoRacing1.com
The Orange Cone@TheOrangeConeI am an orange traffic cone.
Kyle Pokrefky@KPokrefkyWriter, The Fourth Turn
Reid Spencer@Reid_SpencerLead Writer, NASCAR Wire Service
Doug Turnbull@DougTurnbullAnnouncer, PRN Live, Atlanta Motor Speedway
Jim Utter@jim_utterNASCAR 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, other 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 fewer 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 who raced their way into your top 10.

Short Track Shoutout

Occasionally, when a driver on a short track proves themselves worthy, they deserve all of the praise of NASCAR’s best. In those moments, Frontstretch will highlight them at the bottom of the Power Rankings.

One such occasion occurred last weekend, as young Tyler Dollack earned his first victory at Millbridge Speedway. The victory was an impressive showing, and this celebration’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Congratulations, Tyler.

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