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)
“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)
3. KEVIN HARVICK (129 POINTS, No Change)
4. JOEY LOGANO (103 POINTS, +1)
5. CARL EDWARDS (90 POINTS, -1)
6. DALE EARNHARDT, JR. (89 POINTS, +2)
“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)
8. CHASE ELLIOTT (34 POINTS, Prev. Unranked)
9. KURT BUSCH (31 POINTS, No Change)
10. AUSTIN DILLON (30 POINTS, -3)
“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
|AnnoyingRaceFan||@AnnoyingRaceFan||I’M @annoyingracefan ON TWITTER (AND INSTAGRAM). PEOPLE CALL ME ARF. I’M A RELATIVE NOBODY.|
|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, 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.
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.