The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series blazed a trail into the Lone Star State this weekend for another 500-mile duel. With the playoff spots dwindling, the urgency starts to ratchet up for the drivers still vying for the title. Kyle Busch locked in his spot with his win last week and Martin Truex Jr. has a nearly insurmountable pile of playoff points paving his way in.
Of course, winning is the best way to book your place as a title contender and that’s exactly what Kevin Harvick did. He stalked Truex in the closing laps and used a rare hiccup in lapped traffic by Truex to sneak past. Harvick’s first win at Texas Motor Speedway couldn’t have come at a better time as he pursues his second Cup title.
So now we turn our attention once again to the Power Rankings. As far as our contributors are concerned, there isn’t a better time to reach peak form. What exactly that is varies greatly from one writer to the next. Perhaps it’s keen and accurate observations. Perhaps it’s good posture in the buffet line. Have we made all the right assessments? Or is there a Texas-sized hole in our logic? You decide.
How the Rankings Are Calculated: Frontstretch does our power rankings similar to how the Associated Press does them for basketball or football. Our expert stable of NASCAR writers, both on staff and from other major publications, will vote for the top 10 on a 10-9-8-7… 3-2-1 basis, giving 10 points to their first-place driver, nine for second and so on. In the end, Frank Velat calculates the points, adds some funny one-liners and… here you go!
I heard his flight leaving Ft. Worth was delayed. Apparently Trevor Bayne’s plane was blocking the runway. – Bryan Gable, Frontstretch
First-Place Votes: 4
Remember all that chaos and misfortune Busch avoided at Martinsville? Apparently someone told it right where to find him this week. – Frank Velat, Frontstretch
The Blue Deuce hasn’t graced Victory Lane in Phoenix since Rusty Wallace did it in ’98. Now would be the ideal time to break that desert drought. – Velat
The man known as “The Closer” certainly did his best Craig Kimbrel impersonation by scoring a win with a late race pass at Texas. – Rob Tiongson, The Podium Finish
Keselowski has a sizable gap over Hamlin for the final spot. But that could change very quickly if Keselowski enters a corner with his rear tires off of the ground. – Michael Massie, Frontstretch
Either the No. 48 team flips the switch this week, or the lights will stay off all winter. – Gable
While it’s a badge of honor to be labeled as the “people’s champion,” the one label that Elliott would like is to become this year’s Cup champion. – Tiongson
He has the chance to go out with the bang. If that bang happens to be in the back of Elliott’s bumper, he’ll have to sit out next year just to avoid the crazy fans. – Massie
Final round appearance or not, the Wood Brothers are going to miss having him around next year. – Gable
Any more bad luck and Larson might as well be the first driver to be eliminated from the playoffs twice in one season. – Velat
Others Receiving Votes: Erik Jones (6); Joey Logano (3); Kasey Kahne (1)