It was a long weekend for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway.
In a race dubbed the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, rain pelted the field after just 31 laps of green-flag racing on the half-mile Tennessee oval, forcing a postponement that left many referring to it as a day race despite its name.
Still, due to the track’s efforts to improve the inside line with a polishing, running of Kentucky Speedway’s tire monster and addition of a chemical known as VHT to add grip, the field put on a great show when they finally did roar to life for the final 450 laps at the Last Great Coliseum.
Kyle Busch led early, Kurt Busch rose into contention and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., rode the high line into the runner-up spot late. In the end, it was Kevin Harvick that led the way to give Stewart-Haas Racing its first team win.
Was the win enough to bump Harvick back into first, or did Rowdy’s early dominance justify keeping him in the top spot? Let’s find out.
POWER RANKINGS: Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race Edition
1. KEVIN HARVICK (95 POINTS, +5)
2. KYLE BUSCH (87 POINTS, -1)
3. BRAD KESELOWSKI (72 POINTS, +4)
4. DENNY HAMLIN (60 POINTS, No Change)
5. CARL EDWARDS (53 POINTS, +3)
6. KURT BUSCH (43 POINTS, -1)
“His lead lap finish streak ended at Bristol, but the No. 41 team is still primed for a good Chase run.” – Turnbull
“Sooner or later, he was going to have a bad day. Better now than in the Chase.” – Bryan Gable, Frontstretch
7. JOEY LOGANO (34 POINTS, -4)
8. MARTIN TRUEX, JR. (26 POINTS, -1)
9. TONY STEWART (22 POINTS, No Change)
10. CHRIS BUESCHER (20 POINTS, Prev. Unranked)
CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR
These two drivers came close to winning in a big way at Bristol, but they’ll have to wait another week to return to the top 10.
Jimmie Johnson (13 Points) – “Managed to keep himself mostly out of the mess and picked up a good finish. Perhaps the doldrums have passed for the No. 48.” – Allaway
Austin Dillon (12 Points) – “Came close to the weekend sweep after challenging Harvick for the victory on the final run, and likely punched his Chase bid as a result.” – Bearden
|AnnoyingRaceFan||@AnnoyingRaceFan||I’M @annoyingracefan ON TWITTER (AND INSTAGRAM). PEOPLE CALL ME ARF. I’M A RELATIVE NOBODY.|
|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 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.
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