NASCAR Race Weekend Central

The 10: Peeking Through the Fog After Pocono

If there’s one thing that can be said for certain about Monday’s postponed running of the Pennsylvania 400, it’s that no race in NASCAR’s history was quite like it.

First, there was the fact that it was the first time a track had suffered two postponed races in the same year. Then, there was the rarest of reasons for a race to end: fog. Throw in an underdog winner in Chris Buescher and poor outings for a few Chase hopefuls, and finding takeaways from the wild weekend that was proved difficult at best.

Picking the top 10 after Pocono Raceway’s second race wasn’t easy, and a few of our typical crew couldn’t participate as they traveled home or looked to catch up, but the majority of the experts did their best to peek through the fog and pick the top dogs after a trip through some Pennsylvania mountains.

POWER RANKINGS: Pennsylvania 400

1. KEVIN HARVICK (82 POINTS, +2)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Another missed opportunity at a win on Monday. He had the fastest car.” – Dustin Albino, Frontstretch   
“The only thing that prevents him from being a championship favorite again is the lack of wins.” – Jim Utter, Motorsport

2.  BRAD KESELOWSKI (77 POINTS, No Change)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“If the race had gone back green, Buescher was dead meat and he knew it. Keselowski could smell blood in the water, but the rain washed it all away.” – Pete McCole, AutoRacing1.com
“Won at Pocono in 2011 after suffering a vicious testing crash on a road course. Fell one spot short of repeating the act in 2016.” – Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch

3.  KYLE BUSCH (71 POINTS, -2)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Barely cooled off at Pocono after scorching field at the Brickyard.” – Doug Turnbull, PRN

“This team is testing things out for the Chase. He will be the championship favorite.” – Albino

4.   KURT BUSCH (57 POINTS, +2)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“It’s probably time we declared him NASCAR’s newest consistency master.” – Bryan Gable, Frontstretch

“The guy sponsored by an energy drink just set a record for most races completed in their entirety to start the season. Anyone else smell a marketing opportunity? – Bearden

5.  TONY STEWART (37 POINTS, +3)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Consistently fast and picks up positions at the end of races, something he hasn’t done since 2012.” – Albino

“We know Smoke’s hot streak is in the summer, but isn’t it good to see him on fire again?” – Fesko

 6.   CARL EDWARDS (36 POINTS, +3)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“Two rain-delayed races at Pocono, two eighth-place finishes.” – Gable

“It’s been a while since we’ve seen a backflip. Can Edwards right the ship with his second road-course win?” – Bearden

7.   JOEY LOGANO (26 POINTS, -2)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Probably had the second best car on track, but fell foul of the Tunnel Turn. It happens to the best of them. One false move and you’re in the SAFER Barrier.” – Allaway
“He’s ranked higher here than he is on the 2016 fan apparel list, that’s for sure.” – Turnbull

8.   KYLE LARSON (25 POINTS, Prev. Unranked)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Larson is finally showing some strength. It’s about time. With Chris Buescher winning, he needs it because its going to be that much harder now to get into the Chase.” – Allaway
“A win has to be right around the corner. He’s starting to look a lot like the 2014 season while leading laps and posting good finishes.” – Albino

9.   MATT KENSETH (21 POINTS, -5)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Looked strong early but once he fell back, he seemed to not be able to make up any ground, then got bit when the fog rolled in. Could have been a top-10 finish if the race had gone the distance.” – McCole
“Slow and steady, slow and steady. Granted, finishing 17th isn’t much to write home about, but the No. 20 team is getting there.  They’re winning again very soon.” – Allaway

10. CHRIS BUESCHER (19 POINTS, Press. Unranked)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Why not? He may never be here again.” – Utter

“As it turns out, ‘win and you’re in’ applies to our power rankings, too.” – Bearden

CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR

These two drivers both showed speed and promise at one point or another, but circumstances kept them from getting the finishes they should’ve earned. A solid run at Watkins Glen International would help either’s top 10 hopes seem a little less foggy.

Austin Dillon (13 Points) – “13th place doesn’t accurately portray just how good Dillon was on Monday.” – Fesko

Denny Hamlin (12 Points) – “Running better lately, but winning the Daytona 500 still erased a lot of potential Chase worries for the No. 11 team.” – Gable

Others receiving votes: Martin Truex, Jr. (11), Jimmie Johnson (6), Fog (3), Ryan Newman (2).

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 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.

Share this article

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com

Frontstretch