NASCAR Race Weekend Central

The 10: Riding the High Lane at Bristol Motor Speedway

Love it or hate it, Bristol was a day of many storylines.

From drivers like Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth struggling through tire issues to underdogs like Matt DiBenedetto and Trevor Bayne seizing the moment for surprising finishes, Sunday’s Food City 500 had more twists and turns than the Tennessee mountains.

With so many comers and goers, choosing the top drivers for this week’s power rankings was a tall task, but the voters did what needed to be done. Some drivers rose, others fell, and a few yet somehow managed to maintain their position.

Let’s see how each of the top 10 faired.

POWER RANKINGS: Food City 500

1. CARL EDWARDS (140 POINTS, +4)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“After a slow start to his tenure with JGR, Cousin Carl is showing the flashiness that teammate Kenseth did  a few years back” – Sean Fesko, Frontstretch

“Given the way Edwards is running so far this season, Coach Gibbs may want to look into a fitness sponsor for those backflips.” – Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch

“Highly unlikely that this will be a one-win season for Edwards. In fact, it’s surprising that last Sunday was his first victory of the season.” – Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch

2.  KEVIN HARVICK (122 POINTS, +1)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“While disappointed with his seventh-place finish, just getting through 500 laps without too many problems greatly benefited the 2014 champion.” – Phil Allaway, Frontstretch

“BLOOMIN’ ONION FOR DINNER AGAIN, MOM?” – @AnnoyingRaceFan

3.  DALE EARNHARDT, JR. (101 POINTS, +3)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“What a comeback for Junior, coming back for an early ignition problem to finish second for his best Bristol finish since 2004. This guy is next on my list to get a win.” – Pete McCole, AutoRacing1.com
“Paid tribute to his Nationwide counterpart by almost pulling off a Peyton Manning-like comeback.” – Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch

4.   KYLE BUSCH (100 POINTS, -3)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“HE’S STARTING A NEW BAND AFTER BRISTOL. HE’S CALLING IT, “RASCAL FLATS.” YOU KNOW, BECAUSE OF HIS TIRE WOES.” – @AnnoyingRaceFan
“Had strong performance going in Bristol before crashing and continues to excel.” –Jason Schultz, Frontstretch

5.   JIMMIE JOHNSON (96 POINTS, -3)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Nothing “vanilla” about his battle with Allmendinger!” – Ryan Gable, Frontstretch
“Bad race at Bristol, however, that was Bristol. Team 48 has two victories.  – Dustin Albino, Frontstretch
It’s been a while since we’ve heard “Blame JJ” floating around the NASCAR circuit. I was hoping Kyle Busch might throw it out after hitting everything, including a fan, at Bristol. – Bearden

6.   JOEY LOGANO (69 POINTS, -2)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“Logano is putting together a quiet season so far. No wins but fourth in the points” – Fesko

“Wasted a fast car with mistakes, and the recovery was too little, too late.” Gable

7.   KURT BUSCH (62 POINTS, +1)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Good run for Busch after starting 26th. Who would have though at the end of the day is would be Kurt Busch finishing in the top 5??” – McCole
“Between Busch’s excitement about finishing third and DiBenedetto’s elation at his sixth-place finish, it was probably the happiest top 10 in Bristol Motor Speedway history outside of the winner’s circle.” – Bedgood

8.   CHASE ELLIOTT (49 POINTS, No Change)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“It’s almost scary how quickly Elliott has gotten up to pace in the Sprint Cup Series. At this rate, he’ll be a race winner by the All-Star break.” – Kyle Pokrefky, The Fourth Turn
“JEFF WHO?” – @AnnoyingRaceFan
“Bill Elliott only won twice on a short track. If Sunday’s showing was any indicator, his son will easily eclipse that mark” – Fesko

9.   MARTIN TRUEX, JR. (23 POINTS, -2)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Truex had to overcome a bunch just to get home in 14th.  It’s these kind of days that really determine how good a team is.” – Allaway
“Has greatly improved in recent weeks after strong start to the season.” – Schultz

10. DENNY HAMLIN (30 POINTS, Prev. Unranked)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“The only other Joe Gibbs driver to finish in the top 20 on Sunday – salvaging a respectable finish to keep him in the top 10 in points.” – McCole

“All of the JGR tire trouble with little of the early success. Largely a forgettable weekend for the Daytona 500 champ.” – Bearden

CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR

One was predicted by a few to win, while the other wasn’t even predicted to finish in the top 20. Still, these two drivers both came up just short of the top 10 after Bristol.

Brad Keselowski (17 Points, Finished 18th) – “Tough luck in Bristol. ” – Albino

Matt DiBenedetto (12 Points, Finished 6th) – When was the last time the little guy finished this great? When was the last time the little guy got a post-race, televised interview? Congrats, DiBurrito!” – Fesko

Others receiving votes: Trevor Bayne (11), Ryan Blaney (4), Ryan Newman (3), Erik Jones (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.

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