Race Weekend Central

The 10: Wrecking at Watkins Glen

Oh how quickly things can change.

For a time, it appeared that Martin Truex, Jr. and Kyle Larson were each due for a leap into the top 5 of these rankings. Then, in the final 300 yards of Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at the Glen, everything went awry as both drivers were sent spinning and, in Larson’s case, stopping well short of the finish.
Such is the tale of road course racing. All it takes is one move from either a competitor or someone around them to completely alter someone’s race.
That makes for exciting racing for fans, like the sellout crowd at Watkins Glen International, and thrilling moments for winners such as Denny Hamlin, but it makes gauging each driver’s performance just a bit more difficult.
Still, we gave it our best.

POWER RANKINGS: Cheez-It 355 at the Glen Edition

1. KYLE BUSCH (92 POINTS, +2)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“SNICKERS AND CHEEZ-ITS PROBABLY AREN’T THE BEST COMBINATION.” – @AnnoyingRaceFan
“Two bad restarts and too many cautions kept him from winning at Watkins Glen. Busch is the most consistent of the JGR clan.” – Doug Turnbull, PRN

2.  BRAD KESELOWSKI (87 POINTS, No Change)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“FURNITURE ROW ISSUED A “BOLO” IN THEIR STORES FOR BRAD KESELOWSKI. HE’S NOT WELCOME, APPARENTLY.” – @AnnoyingRaceFan
“The man tried an ultra-aggressive pit strategy and got lucky thanks to the wrecks. I don’t think anyone ever went 41 laps on fuel in Cup at Watkins Glen when everyone still ran 22 gallon fuel cells.” – Phil Allaway, Frontstretch

3.  JOEY LOGANO (66 POINTS, +4)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“The No. 22 team looks like it has found some speed in the last few weeks, so watch out for Logano at Bristol.” – Bryan Gable, Frontstretch

“Winner of the last two Bristol night races and snuck off a runner-up at The Glen.” – Turnbull

4.   DENNY HAMLIN (58 POINTS, Prev. Unranked)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Completed the coveted Daytona 500-Watkins Glen sweep.” – Jim Utter, Motorsport

“UNLIKE FED EX, DENNY DELIVERED ON SUNDAY. ALSO, SICK BURNOUT, DENNY.” – @AnnoyingRaceFan

5.  KURT BUSCH (50 POINTS, -1)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“It’s been 10 years since he won at Bristol, but would anyone really be surprised if he pulled off a victory?” – Gable

“He isn’t rattling off wins, but completing every lap has value, too. That sort of consistency could come into play come the Chase.” – Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch

 6.   KEVIN HARVICK (42 POINTS, -5)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“That beer can car got CRUSHED, and it cost him the points lead – like that matters.” – Pete McCole

“Fuel was not a concern this time, but being stuck back in the pack when things got crazy took him out of contention.” – Gable

7.   MARTIN TRUEX, JR. (36 POINTS, Prev. Unranked)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Went from second to seventh in 100 feet. Must have felt like every race he’s run this season. Seriously, if there’s any team that needs an exorcism, it’s this one.” – McCole
“HE WISHES WATKINS GLEN WAS ONLY SIX TURNS.” – @AnnoyingRaceFan

8.   CARL EDWARDS (28 POINTS, -2)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“His team got him penalized out of a likely win at The Glen. He is the spring Bristol winner.” – Turnbull
“Swept the poles at the road courses and had a hot rod before a penalty did him it at the Glen. Next Edwards will try to force journalists to use alliteration with the terms backflip, broom and Bristol as he searches for a sweep.” – Bearden

9.  TONY STEWART (24 POINTS, -4)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE SOMEONE WITH A FIREWORKS CACHE AND A FLAME THROWER COULD QUIETLY FINISH FIFTH.” – @AnnoyingRaceFan
“A guy who missed the first eight races of the season now has one of the series’ most consistently top-performing teams.” – Utter

10. MATT KENSETH (22 POINTS, -1)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Got his 600th start and 300th top 10 in the same race.” – Gable

“Say what you will, but for a short time Kenseth looked like a contender on a road course, and if son Ross Kenseth’s tweet joking that a road course ringer was in the No. 20 doesn’t say enough about that, I don’t know what will.” – Bearden

CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR

These two Chase hopefuls saw their days swing in different directions after the final turn, as Elliott moved further ahead of the bubble and Larson saw his hopes come crashing down a bit. Perhaps the two will find better luck in Bristol after an off-weekend.

Kyle Larson (16 Points) – “Got wrecked like he had a target on his back. Thankfully, that Target will be gone after 2017…” – Bearden

Chase Elliott (12 Points) – “Hopefully, the rook has stopped the bleeding. He’s struggled recently.” – Allaway

Others receiving votes: Jamie McMurray (7), Jimmie Johnson (5), AJ Allmendinger (3), Danica Patrick (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 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.

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.

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.

Share this article

1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
DoninAjax

In a stat that defies all logic, Truex has led more laps than Kyle.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

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