NASCAR Race Weekend Central

The 10: Masters of the Monster Mile

Would you look at that? He did it again.
Martin Truex, Jr., surged ahead of the field –and I mean way ahead, by over 10 seconds– to claim a dominant victory in the Citizen Soldier 400 at Dover International Speedway, his fourth of 2016. With it, he also soared right back atop our power rankings.
I know. Spoiler alert. But that was obvious, right?
Much like in Sunday’s round-ending Chase race, it isn’t the top driver that provides the most intrigue in this week’s rankings. Instead, it’s the drivers at the back of the pack, the ones that are just hanging on, that offer the real storylines.
Let’s see who they are.

POWER RANKINGS: Citizen Soldier 400 Edition

1. MARTIN TRUEX, JR. (90 POINTS, +1)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Let’s not forget, two years ago Martin Truex Jr. led ONE LAP all season in this car. On Sunday? He nearly put ONE LAP on the entire field.” – Tom Bowles, Frontstretch
“At this point, everyone else is battling for second place.” – Jim Utter, Motorsport

2.  BRAD KESELOWSKI (80 POINTS, +1)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Needs a touch of speed, but consistency can get the job done, too – up to a point.” – Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service
“Keselowski has been a contender for the win at Homestead in each of the last two years. With the consistency he’s showing this year, be may be a contender for a championship, too.” – Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch

3. KYLE BUSCH (73 POINTS, +2)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“The defending Sprint Cup champ has been fairly consistent in the Chase this year and that might really be all he needs to do. Remember, Busch won the title in 2015 without winning a single Chase race until the finale, so he knows how to get the job done with consistency.” – Pete McCole, AutoRacing1

“That was the first time since Bristol that he’s led over 100 laps.” – Bryan Gable, Frontstretch

4.  KEVIN HARVICK (66 POINTS, -3)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“Uncharacteristic race for Harvick’s team but that’s the benefit of locking yourself in with a win.” – Utter

“Oh how thankful the No. 4 team must’ve been for that late victory at New Hampshire when Harvick’s No. 4 broke a track bar mount on Sunday. On to the next round.” – Bearden

5. JOEY LOGANO (60 POINTS, +1)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“See Keselowski. Another Round of 12 sweep doesn’t seem likely.” – Spencer

“Consistent but not leading laps.” – Dustin Albino, Frontstretch

 6.   MATT KENSETH (45 POINTS, -2)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“Lost the shootout to Harvick at Loudon, but made the Round of 12 on solid, consistent runs.” – Spencer

“Another team that didn’t make headlines in round 1. Last year was enough to last Kenseth awhile….” – Bowles

7.   DENNY HAMLIN (37 POINTS, -1)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Good but not great through the first three Chase races.  He’ll be looking to avoid elimination in the Round of 12 for the second year in a row.” – Gable
“Before New Hampshire the team had 10 straight top 10 finishes. Sunday was an average day due to a lack of aggressiveness, which he admitted to.” – Albino

8.   CHASE ELLIOTT (30 POINTS, Prev. Unranked)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Managed to advance to the next round while a three-time champion, a Daytona 500 winner and a former rookie of the year were all eliminated. Not bad for a rookie who had to qualify for the Chase on points.” – McCole
“This kid ought to decline the rookie title–because he doesn’t drive like one.” – Spencer

9. JIMMIE JOHNSON (26 POINTS, +1)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“He has lots of speed, but it’s hard to believe how mistake-prone the No. 48 team has been lately.” – Gable

“Somehow this team has gone from masters of the Chase to masters of chasing their own tail. The shame of it is if they ever clean up their mistakes they’re, like, the only ones on the same planet as the 78. Seven titles is achievable this year.” – Bowles

10. CARL EDWARDS (14 POINTS, -1)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Wait, Carl Edwards is still in the Chase? I hope you’ll forgive me for nearly missing him, I feel like I haven’t heard his name in months.” – Bearden

“If he had finished a few spots lower he might have found himself bounced from the Chase, but Edwards is still hanging in there, just as he has all season long.” – McCole

CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR

These two drivers just snuck through to the Round of 12, but they’ll need to run better over the next three races if they ever hope to crack the top 8, whether it be in the Chase or our rankings. Best of luck, gentlemen.

Austin Dillon (7 Points) – “Will he be the Ryan Newman of the 2016 Chase?” – Utter

Kurt Busch (4 Points) – “Running under the radar so far and needs to show more speed in Round of 12.” – Spencer

Others receiving votes: Kyle Larson (3), Tony Stewart (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.

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