The big crashes from Talladega Superspeedway and Dover International Speedway – and Martin Truex, Jr.’s bad luck – have continued to crop up in recent weeks. This time, both came at once, as Jimmie Johnson lost his transmission, causing a pileup that swung both Truex’s day and these power rankings into a complete different direction.
With many competitors wrecked out, some named that haven’t been heard much (at least not positively) crept up into the fold.
Kyle Larson drove his car like it was one of his old USAC Sprint Cars trying to score his first win, but settled for second to the oft-snakebitten Matt Kenseth. Chase Elliott scored a career-best third-place finish, with teammate Kasey Kahne just behind him in fourth. Trevor Bayne finished in the top 10, and Clint Bowyer, Danica Patrick and David Ragan all surged into the top 20.
With another week of massive movers and goers, the Frontstretch crew and guest contributors had a tall task on their hands as they tried to pick the top 10 drivers for this week. Opinions on the top drivers varied as much as Joe Gibbs Racing drivers’ opinions on Larson (Kenseth? Happy. Carl Edwards? Maybe not so much). But in the end, the group finally settled on an overall top 10.
Let’s get into it.
POWER RANKINGS: AAA 400 Drive for Autism
1. KYLE BUSCH (145 POINTS, No Change)
“Two rough outings on the concrete tracks. Is it just a coincidence or something more?” – Bryan Gable, Frontstretch
“I WONDER IF HE KNOWS WHAT DOG FOOD TASTES LIKE.” – @AnnoyingRaceFan
2. KEVIN HARVICK (140 POINTS, No Change)
3. CARL EDWARDS (118 POINTS, No Change)
6. MATT KENSETH (83 POINTS, Prev. Unranked)
“Suddenly ‘ol Matt is relevant again – that’s what a win will do for you with this Chase format. Imagine what it would have done for Kyle Larson??” – McCole
“ Deserves a big prize for finally breaking through the glass ceiling.” – Jim Utter, Motorsport
“The numbers showed a win wasn’t far off for Kenseth. The victory puts the No. 20 in the Chase and locks all four Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas into the playoffs.” – Eberly
7. CHASE ELLIOTT (71 POINTS, +1)
8. JIMMIE JOHNSON (65 POINTS, -1)
9. MARTIN TRUEX, JR (50 POINTS, No Change)
10. KYLE LARSON (32 POINTS, Prev. Unranked)
“Yes, he is outside of the top-20 in points at this time, but with a stellar run at Kansas going confirmed by a strong performance at Dover indicates that the Kyle Larson of 2014 may be back. I expect a run up the standings in the next several weeks.” – Pokrefky
“Hard, but clean, racing. Is this the beginning of a season turnaround?” – Gable
“I’ve seen Larson use the chrome horn more than once on local short tracks in his younger days. That he didn’t do the same on Sunday may be a sign of maturity, but you have to wonder if he regrets his decision. So close to that first win…” – Bearden
CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR
A quiet day isn’t always a bad thing, but for these two pseudo-teammates for Ford, it was enough to keep them outside of the top 10.
Ryan Blaney (18 Points, Finished 8th) – “Ran a smart, quiet race. Wood Brothers doesn’t look like it’s been part-time for a decade at all.” – Fesko
Joey Logano (15 Points, Finished 22nd) – “The wheelman’s been pulling his wheel out of a lot of crashed cars in recent weeks. Still, you have to feel like a win’s just on the horizon for this team.” – 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, 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 others 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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