NASCAR Race Weekend Central

The 10: Colorado Beatdown in Charlotte

Wow.

What else can you say after a dominating performance like Martin Truex, Jr.’s record-breaking beatdown of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series field in the Coca-Cola 600?

One year removed from a heartbreaking loss in NASCAR’s longest race to Carl Edwards on fuel mileage, Truex and his Furniture Row Racing team left no doubt who the best group was in the hub of the NASCAR world.

After that run, it’s safe to say Truex saw a bump in the standings. As for the rest of the field? Things were bit more interesting.

Who moved up? Who dropped like the sun on a beautiful Sunday afternoon? Let’s find out.

POWER RANKINGS: Coca-Cola 600 Edition

1. KEVIN HARVICK (123 POINTS, +1)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Seemed none too pleased after the race when he realized he just became the answer to the ultimate NASCAR trivia question – “Who finished second after Martin Truex, Jr. won leading 392 laps in the 2016 Coca Cola 600?” – Pete McCole, AutoRacing1.com
“Considering that burying the competition in top fives has worked pretty well for him in the past, who am I to criticize Harvick for having won only once this year?” – Bryan Gable, Frontstretch

2. MARTIN TRUEX, JR. (113 POINTS, PREV. Unranked)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
 
“The last time we saw a Colorado team beat down Charlotte’s best like that, the Denver Broncos killed the ‘Dab’ and Peyton Manning walked into the sunset with a Super Bowl ring.” – Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch 
“HE USED A DIFFERENT LURE TO REEL IN THIS VICTORY. I MADE A FISHING REFERENCE BECAUSE MARTIN LIKES TO FISH. GET IT?” – @AnnoyingRaceFan

3.  KURT BUSCH (95 POINTS, No change)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Basically a non-factor despite dominating practice. Story of his year.”- Sean Fesko, Frontstretch

“He’d be one of the biggest threats for the championship right now if it weren’t for the Chase. Though, to be fair, he also wouldn’t be a champion in the first place without it, either.” – Bearden

4.   BRAD KESELOWSKI (80 POINTS, +1)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Simply breathed a sigh of relief to run a race he didn’t help design from start to finish (and then get criticized like crazy for afterward).” – Bowles

“Finished fifth and I have no idea how. I don’t think I heard his name mentioned once all night.” – McCole

5.  KYLE BUSCH (78 POINTS, -4)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“I HAD TO SCROLL DOWN THE FINISHING ORDER LIST TO FIND KYLE. 33RD. HE WAS THE MEAT IN A MCDOWELL/DIBENEDETTO SANDWICH.” – @AnnoyingRaceFan

“A lack of attrition this year means that anything bad that happens late in a race can kill your entire weekend.  Kyle Busch found that out the hard way.” – Phil Allaway, Frontstretch

6.   CARL EDWARDS (73 POINTS, -2)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“He started the season with eight top tens in nine races, only to finish outside the top ten for the last four races.” – Gable

“ESPN 20 for 20: From back flips to the back of the pack – The Carl Edwards speeding penalty story.” – Bearden

7.   JIMMIE JOHNSON (54 POINTS, +1)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“REMEMBER WHEN CHARLOTTE WAS HIS HOUSE? NO, LITERALLY, THE TRACK WAS CALLED LOWE’S MOTOR SPEEDWAY.” – @AnnoyingRaceFan
“Snapped a streak of three runs outside the top 15 with a third-place performance at Charlotte. Yet don’t you get the feeling something’s still a little bit off these days at Hendrick Motorsports?” – Bowles

8.   CHASE ELLIOTT (52 POINTS, -2)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“With the way he’s been running, wouldn’t be surprised to see him pull a Hamlin and win at Pocono in his rookie year.” – Fesko
“Probably had the steady run of anyone in the top 20 in points Sunday night not named Martin Truex Jr.  That gave him a good finish and kept him on task.” – Allaway

9.   JOEY LOGANO (47 POINTS, -2)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Not the first time he’s made an impressive comeback, but not the first time where a pit stop cost him a shot at victory, either.” – Gable

“He and Larson left off right where they did from Saturday’s XFINITY Series race and watching them battle it out was probably the best action on the track all night.” – McCole

10. MATT KENSETH (37 POINTS, No Change)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Bad news: No more Dollar General for Kenseth and the JGR team in 2017. Good news: No more atrocious yellow Dollar General paint schemes.” – Bearden
“Three straight top-10 finishes and a win over the past month. Keep an eye on Kenseth despite that slow start to 2016 and remember how much he heated up last summer.” – Bowles

CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR

These two drivers didn’t end up in the money, but all things considered, the night could’ve gone worse. Some Coca-Cola 600 success could push them over the top.

Denny Hamlin (16 Points) – Hard to believe the Daytona 500 winner is performing the worst in the standings for Gibbs. – Fesko

Kyle Larson (12 Points) – “Fair or not, I expected more from Larson after he won or nearly won the last four races he competed in.” – Bearden

Others receiving votes: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (8) Ryan Blaney (2), Alexander Rossi (1)

Contributors

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, 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. 

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