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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

The 10: Dominance in Daytona

Anyone who thinks a restrictor plate race can’t be dominated need look no further than Brad Keselowski’s drubbing of the field in Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 to be proven wrong.

Driving a strong No. 2 Ford, Keselowski fended off a wealth of challengers, including brothers Kurt and Kyle Busch, to claim his first victory at Daytona International Speedway, and his second-straight restrictor plate win.

With a series-best three victories to his name, Keselowski caught the eye of our contributors and saw a substantial leap up. However, ranking the rest of the field following Saturday’s 22-car melee proved to be as difficult for us as dodging it was for the drivers.

Thankfully, Frontstretch’s experts were up for the challenge.

POWER RANKINGS: Coke Zero 400  Edition

1. BRAD KESELOWSKI (122 POINTS, +5)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Dominated Daytona with Earnhardt-like proficiency.” – Jim Utter, Motorsport
“Brad’s performance Saturday night was one of the most dominant by a non-Chevrolet driver at a plate race in 20 years.” – Phil Allway, Frontstretch

“HE WAS 2 STRONG FOR THE REST OF THE FIELD AT DAYTONA. SEE WHAT I DID THERE?” – @AnnoyingRaceFan

2.  JOEY LOGANO (103 POINTS, +2)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Was that a Fusion or a dump truck? Bonus points for the mea culpa.” – Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service
“Teammate Brad Keselowski may have more victories this year but Logano has the most (12) since the start of NASCAR’s new Chase format in 2014. Though if I were him, I’d keep at least 50 feet away from Kurt Busch at all times come Martinsville. Don’t make the same mistake twice….” – Tom Bowles, Frontstretch

3.  KEVIN HARVICK (89 POINTS, -2)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Harvick’s car came out looking like a crushed beer can. His 39th-place finish marked his first DNF since last August at Pocono. He’s been one of the few drivers to dodge the big one for the last seven restrictor-plate races, but Saturday night his luck finally ran out.” – Pete McCole, AutoRacing1.com

“Crashed at Daytona. Mulligan.” – Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch

4.   KYLE BUSCH (75 POINTS, +1)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“An average finish of 4.5 the last two weeks and Kentucky dead ahead – a race where Busch has won twice in five years? I’d say this little slump of his is over. Don’t forget, Jimmie Johnson went through similar ups and downs during the regular season before putting it together five straight times in NASCAR’s Chase.” – Bowles

“Kentucky would be a good place to win and fully put that bad luck streak behind him.” – Bryan Gable, Frontstretch

5.  KURT BUSCH (60 POINTS, -3)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“JOEY LOGANO DROVE “STRAIGHT THROUGH” KURT. SORRY, KURT, BUT THAT WOULD DEFY THE LAW OF PHYSICS. EVEN FIRST GRADERS KNOW THAT.” – @AnnoyingRaceFan

“Made some bold moves in the last laps and it almost paid off, but went from second to 23rd in less than 300 feet.” – McCole

6.   CARL EDWARDS (48 POINTS, -3)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“Survived the big wreck. Clobbered by a small one.” – Spencer

“Cousin Carl’s still looking to shake his summer slump after getting acquainted with the outside wall for the second-straight plate race.” – Bearden

7.   CHASE ELLIOTT (41 POINTS, +3)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Took a big hit in the race and just as big a hit in the points. Two bad finishes in the last two races breaks a string of six-straight top-10 finishes. Elliott needs to shake this one of and get back on his horse if it wants to stay in the race to make the Chase.” – McCole
“He’ll have many more opportunities to get a Daytona win before he’s done.” – Gable

8.   MARTIN TRUEX, JR. (31 POINTS, No Change)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Still fast. Still snakebit.” – Spencer

“Wow, it really wasn’t a good night to be driving a Bass Pro Shops car unless you were Austin Dillon.” – McCole

9.   AUSTIN DILLON (30 POINTS, Prev. Unranked)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
WAY TO GO BY NOT FLYING THROUGH THE AIR THIS YEAR.” – @AnnoyingRaceFan
 “An average finish of 14.5 through the land mines of Sonoma and Daytona? That’s just what the doctor ordered to get this fledgling Chase bid back on track.” – Bowles

10. TONY STEWART (23 POINTS, -3)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“As bad as things went at Daytona, Stewart still moved into the top 30 in points. It’s all downhill from here to the Chase.” – Utter
“Smoke may have crashed out at Daytona, but he still snuck into the top 30 and became one of three people to drive a midget on a dirt track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In all, not a bad week.” – Bearden

CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR

Two Chevrolet drivers in their 40s – both by number, one by age – came close to making their way into the top 10 on Saturday, both both fell just short. Perhaps a trip to Sparta, Kentucky, will be enough to vault them back into the rankings.

Jimmie Johnson (21 Points) – “JJ hasn’t found Victory Lane since the West Coast Swing, but until he’s knocked out of the Chase, you just can’t rule him out.” – Bearden

Kyle Larson (20 Points)Within 19 points of the Chase after missing Daytona’s big one; teammate Jamie McMurray was the one that got turned to start it. Two men headed in very opposite directions these days over at Chip Ganassi Racing.” – Bowles

Others receiving votes: Denny Hamlin (18), Trevor Bayne (11), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (8), Matt Kenseth (6)  Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Ryan Blaney (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@AnnoyingRaceFanI’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 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 others what your top 10 would be. 

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2 thoughts on “The 10: Dominance in Daytona”

  1. When has Johnson been passed at Daytona when the win was on the line?

    Shouldn’t Jordan be kickntheass?

Comments are closed.