Race Weekend Central

The 10: Masters of the Monster Mile

 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)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“Two rough outings on the concrete tracks. Is it just a coincidence or something more?” – Bryan Gable, Frontstretch


2. KEVIN HARVICK (140 POINTS, No Change)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Pit road inconsistency continues to cost this team, the same thing that happened to help push him to leave RCR.” – Joseph Wolkin, Frontstretch
“Harvick led a race-high 117 laps at Dover but the official results show a 15th-place finish after being caught up in Miles the Monster’s big feast. Harvick is still the No. 1 in my rankings, as he leads just about every loop data statistical category after 12 races this season, including Driver Rating, Average Running Position, Fastest Drivers Early in a Run, Fastest Drivers Late in a Run, Green Flag Speed and Percentage of Laps Run on Lead Lap, just to name a few.” – Brian Eberly, Rubbings Racing

3.  CARL EDWARDS (118 POINTS, No Change)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“After having to do backflips at the end of two-straight races last month, Edwards hasn’t cracked the top 10 in May. Bad luck, or a slowly aging Cousin Carl saving his back muscles? You decide. (Yes, this was sarcasm) – Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch

4.   KURT BUSCH (110 POINTS, No Change)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Kurt has turned “under the radar” into an art form. Six straight top ten finishes has put him third in points –  despite being the only driver in the top five without a win.” – Pete McCole, AutoRacing1.com
“While Kenseth took the win, Busch is playing the Kenseth game: consistency, consistency, consistency” – Sean Fesko, Frontstretch


(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“The big crash helped him to a top 10, big it was still a nice bounce back after bouncing off the No. 3 car.” – Gable

 “Impressive rebound for the No. 2 crew to come back to finish sixth after their run-in with Austin Dillon midway through the race.” –  Kyle Pokrefky, The Fourth Turn

6.   MATT KENSETH (83 POINTS, Prev. Unranked)

2016 NASCAR CUP Matt Kenseth headshot NASCAR

“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


(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“It took Bill Elliott 38 starts to snag his first top five. His son has four in his first 12 starts. You can’t understate how impressive Elliott’s been in his rookie year.” – Bearden
“Arguably, the most consistent driver in the sport right now.” – Dustin Albino, Frontstretch


(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Rough day at his best track. Oh well, the series heads to Charlotte next, where he has four All Star wins and four Coke 600 wins.” – Albino 

9.   MARTIN TRUEX, JR (50 POINTS, No Change)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“He’s now the new Matt Kenseth (pre-victory) of the 2016 season.” – Utter
“Another promising day and another unforseen circumstance. This feels like a broken record.” – Fesko

10. KYLE LARSON (32 POINTS, Prev. Unranked)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“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


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

Others receiving votes: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (7) Austin Dillon (6), Denny Hamlin (5), Miles the Monster (1)

Name Twitter
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 Gable N/A
Tony Lumbis @TonyLumbis
Toni Montgomery @ToniLMontgomery
Kevin Rutherford @surfwax83
Jason Schultz @NASCARJason
Joseph Wolkin @JosephNASCAR
Name Twitter Position/Description
AnnoyingRaceFan @AnnoyingRaceFan I’M @annoyingracefan ON TWITTER (AND INSTAGRAM). PEOPLE CALL ME ARF. I’M A RELATIVE NOBODY.
MatthewDillner @MatthewDillner NASCAR
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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