Despite waiting out the Sunday washout, Martin Truex Jr stormed through the field to claim his second victory of the season at Dover International Speedway. Has Truex finally found his mojo?
Miserable might just be the best word to sum up Denny Hamlin‘s Dover weekend. The Virginian was never able to find an ounce of competitiveness and had an uncharacteristic struggle all day. Can Hamlin make a quick turnaround this weekend at Kansas?
Alex Bowman arguably had the best race of his career at Dover. Like Truex, the No. 88 car stormed through the field after starting in the back of the pack too. With two consecutive runner-up finishes, can we expect Bowman the Showman in Victory Lane any time soon?
With wheels on the ground, fenders still straight, and tires fully inflated, Kyle Larson did the unthinkable: he crossed the finish line in one piece. The real question is, can he stay in one piece?
With the regular season nearing its halfway mark, questions continue to rise. Although there are still plenty of things to sort out, the stars of NASCAR are out to prove something. Are they a championship favorite? Does he deserve a playoff spot?
As the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers continue to jockey for position, our Frontstretch experts were tasked to determine the top 12 drivers ahead of the rest. With that, here is this week’s edition of Power Rankings…
How the power rankings are calculated: Following the conclusion of each Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, members of a voting panel, including Frontstretch writers and members of accredited media outlets as well as writers from other sites and social media personalities, submit their top 12 drivers for the Power Rankings.
The drivers are then given points based on their ranking by our panelists, with first place getting 12 points, and each subsequent driver getting one fewer point until the 12th-place driver, who gets a single point. Points are then added together, and the rankings are subsequently produced.
Power Rankings: Gander RV 400 Edition
1. Kyle Busch – 219 Points
First place votes: 17
Last week’s ranking: 1st (No Change)
Much to the disappointment of the NASCAR community, the rain came down on Sunday, forcing the Gander RV 400 to be postponed to a Monday at Dover International Speedway. Despite the rains, Kyle Busch was (barely) able to tie another record.
Busch held on to the 10th-place position, equaling him with Morgan Shepherd for the most consecutive top 10s to start a season in the modern era with 11. If there is any doubt about who should be at the top spot this week, it has to be the Candyman… er… uh… the dog food man.
— Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) May 6, 2019
“Looks like the Pedigree car’s bad luck (sort of) ran out.” -Adam Cheek, Frontstretch
2. Joey Logano – 201 Points
First place votes: 1
Last week’s ranking: 2nd (No Change)
Despite winning stage one, Logano faded, but still wound up finishing seventh at a track where he is winless. While Logano’s performance may have been indicative of Team Penske’s mediocre record at the Delaware circuit, the Connecticut native heads to Kansas this weekend, a track that has delivered two victories for the 28-year-old.
— Pocono Raceway (@poconoraceway) May 6, 2019
“Did some things, but not much of importance.” -Rob Dutzar Jr, Rob’s NASCAR Blog
3. Martin Truex Jr – 199 Points
First place votes: 2
Last week’s ranking: 5th (+2)
Despite starting in the back, Truex was able to navigate his way to the front, much of which was aided by the help of a surprising rabbit, Alex Bowman. After Bowman lead him to the top 10, Truex capitalized and stormed his way to the front, this time taking Bowman with him. The unlikely duo both did something for the second time this season. It was Truex’s second victory and Bowman’s second runner up this season. It must take two to tango.
— Martin Truex Jr. (@MartinTruex_Jr) May 6, 2019
“Dover + rain + Monday race = Race winner, MTJ” -Cheek
4. Chase Elliott – 164 Points
Last week’s ranking: 4th (No Change)
Despite having NAPA Brakes on his car this weekend, there was not very much braking, in stark contrast to previous Dover races in recent memory, as drivers were able to roll the center of the corner exorbitantly faster because of the new package. Fresh off of his Talladega celebration, Elliott was able to place the “brakes” car on the pole. Elliott led some opening laps and hung around the top 10 most of the day. Is Chevrolet trying to creep back in the picture?
— Hendrick Motorsports (@TeamHendrick) May 6, 2019
“I’d be watching that No. 9 closely in the next few weeks. I have a feeling he’s about to go on a little run, and grab the win at Kansas.” -Trey Normile, Gator Games
5. Kevin Harvick – 156 Points
Last week’s ranking: 8th (+3)
Bruh, stay woke here. Don’t be salty that your homie Harvick hasn’t won a race yet. All is gucci in Harv’s world. My man’s slayin’ it. He’s third in points. Trolls, quit throwing shade. Don’t be shook when he rolls his wheels into Victory Lane. If you’re a Harvick fan, that would be pretty dank. Every four fan would be like yaaaasssssss!!! I can’t even.
Millennial lingo game strong…
— Busch Beer (@BuschBeer) May 7, 2019
“Just kind of there, surprising after winning “yesterday.”” -Dutzar Jr
6. Brad Keselowski – 145 Points
Last week’s ranking: 3rd (-3)
Long run speed dogged Keselowski at Dover. The Michigander just needs 11 more spots to claim the win this fall in the playoffs. Instead, it looks as if he is focused on “next” fall. That’s a long way out Brad. Are you sure about that?
We finished 12th with it and need to find 11 more spots next fall. https://t.co/0yZdjttCGq
— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) May 6, 2019
“Is it me or is anyone getting some 2012 vibes from this Michigander?” -Rob Tiongson, The Podium Finish
7. Denny Hamlin – 90 Points
Last week’s ranking: 6th (-1)
As stated prior, Denny Hamlin had a very rough go at it on Monday, and no, it was not the Monday morning blues. As documented by our own Davey Segal, the Virginian needed assistance exiting his vehicle and was immediately looked at by a medical team as exhaustion was written all across his face. While Hamlin was experiencing discomfort, one must credit him for being able to persevere through the entire event, despite an ill racecar.
.@dennyhamlin was being attended to by medical staff on pit road once he exited his car. Looked exhausted.
— Davey Segal (@DaveyCenter) May 6, 2019
“Despite the perils involved, this is why we love racing and all the grit it takes to do it. Drivers will all experience horrendous days. At Dover, it was Dennis’ turn.” -Zach Gillispie, Frontstretch
8. Kurt Busch – 75 Points
Last week’s ranking: 7th (-1)
As names like Bowman, Jones, Larson, and Byron were able to muster up impressive runs in the Monster’s concrete canyons, Kurt Busch was among the contenders who faulted. Despite being amped up on an energy drink, the No 1 didn’t seem to have their normal spring in their step, which proved critical, as the Monster Energy car spent the majority of the day outside the top 10.
— Kurt Busch (@KurtBusch) May 6, 2019
“Just imagine if Clint Bowyer was sponsored by an energy drink.” -Gillispie
Tied 9. Clint Bowyer – 68 Points
Last week’s ranking: 11th (+2)
On this week’s edition of Clint Bowyer’s social media chronicles: Cash is out of control, Artie Kempner does his best Miles the Monster impression, and a sore loser wins.
Plus, your boss is at the race track and, with the rainout, Spotter Brett and Bowyer head to a Mexican restaurant.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) May 7, 2019
“And now let’s hear the many days of folks asking when Clint will win at his home track….for like the 15th year in a row.” -Tiongson
Tied 9. Alex Bowman – 68 Points
Last week’s ranking: Not Ranked
Two second-place finishes in a row? With the way the showman is running, are we seeing shades of Phoenix 2016? Someone, please give this guy a beer already…
Thanks Dale. I need a beer https://t.co/CLeuCF69Kx
— Alex Bowman (@AlexBowman88) May 6, 2019
“Two consecutive seconds are almost like a win.” -Godwin Kelly, The Daytona Beach New Journal
11. Ryan Blaney – 49 Points
Last week’s ranking: 10th (-1)
Blaney’s consistency issues continue to mount as an uneventful Monday greeted the aspiring Jedi. Despite his shortcomings, the 25-year-old hopes to finally find his way up the leaderboard.
Check out my paint scheme on this awesome @drinkBODYARMOR limited edition bottle! Only 12 bottles per Circle K stores in Charlotte so grab one, check out @drinkBODYARMOR and use #BlaneyBottle for your chance to win great prizes! #TeamBODYARMOR pic.twitter.com/260jjdrd4A
— Ryan Blaney (@Blaney) May 7, 2019
“While the Jedi Knight has struggled some in recent weeks, we are returning to Kansas. Carry on my Team Penske son.” -Tiongson
“BodyArmour is pretty good by the way.” -Gillispie
12. Kyle Larson – 39 Points
Last week’s ranking: Not Ranked
What a difference a week makes.
Last week, Larson was rolling down the back straightaway at Talladega
This week, Larson was rolling around Dover at a blistering pace, en route to a gratifyingly efficient third position
Thus, he did the unthinkable…
I finally made it across a finish line! Yay!! 🏁 pic.twitter.com/oLWZ20bGqK
— Kyle Larson (@KyleLarsonRacin) May 6, 2019
“Maybe that trip to the magic store with Jeff Gordon eliminated the bad juju for Yung Money.” -Tiongson
“Who knew that Jeff Gordon was a psychological spirit healer.” -Gillispie
OTHER DRIVERS WHO RECEIVED VOTES
THIS WEEK’S VOTING PANEL
|Jake Baskinger||@jbaskinger41||Jake Baskinger on YouTube|
|Ed Coombs||@combsed||Speedway Media|
|Bryan Davis Keith||@bryandaviskeith||Frontstretch|
|Rob Dutzar Jr||@rob_dutzar||Rob’s NASCAR Blog|
|Eric Estepp||@ericestepp17||Out of the Groove|
|Darian Gilliam||@blackflagmatter||Black Flags Matter|
|Leon Hammack||@captainblowdri||Working on My Rednck|
|Ryan Holman||@realryanholman||Ryan Holman on YouTube|
|Godwin Kelly||@godwinkelly||The Daytona Beach News Journal|
|Tommy McCoart||@nascarman_rr||Racing Reference|
|Rob Tiongson||@robtiongson||The Podium Finish|
Do you agree with our rankings? Think someone was left out, or that one of the top drivers is overrated? Let us know in the comments, and tell others what your top 12 would be.