Who can blame them? With 35 of the 40 cars involved in some sort of incident, Talladega was less skill-based pack driving and more Russian Roulette-style survival. The threat of incoming rain forced the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series field to run all-out for the full 500 miles, and most fell victim to the urgency and ramped up intensity as a result.
Still, a few drivers moved up the rankings courtesy of their ability to survive and salvage good finishes. One in particular even managed to steal the top spot. Not bad for someone who wanted to stay home and watch the race from his couch.
Without further adieu, here are 10 drivers that came out of Alabama intact – at least for the most part.
POWER RANKINGS: Geico 500
1. KYLE BUSCH (167 POINTS, +1)
“Consistently finishes well. Four top two finishes in the last five races.” – Dustin Albino, Frontstretch
“Avoided all the disasters and walked out of Talladega with a second-place finish. That’s all he could have asked for prior to the race.” – Phil Allaway, Frontstretch
“Considering his history at Kansas, maybe he’d prefer to stay home this weekend, too.” – Bryan Gable, Frontstretch
2. KEVIN HARVICK (116 POINTS, +1)
3. CARL EDWARDS (111 POINTS, -2)
6. KURT BUSCH (84 POINTS, +1)
“Jimmie Johnson blamed him for a multi-car wreck on lap 161. However, Busch was able to move on and finish eighth. Have you noticed Busch has eight top 10s in 10 races this season? You probably didn’t, but Busch is quietly putting together a very impressive season.” – Bedgood
“HE STARTED A MONSTER OF A WRECK. THAT WAS A SPONSOR PLUG.” – @AnnoyingRaceFan
7. JOEY LOGANO (74 POINTS, -4)
10. DALE EARNHARDT, JR. (32 POINTS, -3)
“THAT’S ONE AMELIA NO ONE EVER WANTS TO FIND AGAIN.” – @AnnoyingRaceFan
“If you would have told me a few months ago that, ten races into the season, his only finishes lower than 14th would be at the restrictor plate tracks, I would have called you crazy.” – Gable
“Alright, someone refresh my memory. When was the last time Dale Jr. went down on a site’s power rankings after a restrictor-plate race? This year’s Daytona 500 was the first race of the year, so that doesn’t count.” – Bearden
CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR
These two drivers didn’t do bad at Talladega, they just both could’ve used a win in a major way. Oh well, on to the next one, guys.
Martin Truex, Jr. (19 Points, Finished 18th) – “Who said you can’t take a Martinsville car to Talladega and still run well?” – Lumbis
Jamie McMurray (15 Points, Finished 6th) – “Sixth isn’t bad, but Jamie Mac could’ve really used some early-2010s restrictor plater magic for a Chase berth.” – Bearden
|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, with a few fun or interesting comments thrown in along the way.
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.
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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