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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

The 12: NASCAR Power Rankings Digital Ally 400 Edition

After a wild and entertaining race, Brad Keselowski reigned supreme at Kansas to claim the victory in the Digital Ally 400. Now tying Kyle Busch for most wins this season, will Keselowski outduel Busch in the win column this year?

Kevin Harvick was on track to claim his first victory before a flat tire false alarm derailed his winning chances. Should there be cause for concern that Harvick hasn’t won a race yet despite his competitive performance?

Alex Bowman extended his consecutive runner-up streak to three at Kansas. With such amazing performances, is Bowman beginning to look like Chevrolet’s biggest championship contender?

A rare sight greeted Clint Bowyer at his home town track when Erik Jones knocked the smile right off his face. A win at this week’s Monster Energy All-Star Race can turn the frown upside down for Bowyer, but can he regain his competitiveness?

Questions await as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series stays home in Charlotte this week for the All-Star race. Only time will tell who gets to take home the one million American dollars plus a shiny trophy, but one thing is for sure — there is a cast of characters who will do anything to capture the dough. Despite the contagion of money, the drivers will have to wait a few more days before they get their opportunity. In the meantime, our illustrious squadron of Frontstretch experts took to their calculators, keyboards, thinking caps, crystal balls, and even Adam Cheek’s abacus to determine the 12 best drivers in NASCAR at the current moment. With that, here is Power Rankings Kansas…

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: Digital Ally 400 Edition

1. Brad Keselowski – 209 Points

First place votes: 8

Last week’s ranking: 6th (+5)

For the first time since Las Vegas (yes, that long ago), a driver with a name that starts with B and rhymes with “push” has not sat atop our Frontstrech weekly power rankings. That’s right, Brad Keselowski has dethroned the Candyman for the top spot of the podium for the first time in nine editions of power rankings. As the No. 2 driver himself noted, Keselowski has now crossed the 30 win threshold. Is there such thing as humbly tooting your own horn?

“As I said last week, Keselowski is in 2012 title form.  He’s proven me right because Carly Rae Jepsen released another song.” – Rob Tiongson, The Podium Finish

“Where did he come from?” – Jake Baskinger, Jake Baskinger on YouTube

2. Kyle Busch 196 Points

First place votes: 10

Last week’s ranking: 1st (-1)

On paper, a 30th-place finish at one of his worst statistical tracks shouldn’t be surprising. However, this is Kyle Busch, the driver that is tied for the most wins this season, the most wins in the Gen 6 era, a win at every track on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Schedule, and tied Morgan Shepherd for the most consecutive top 10s to start a season. Despite the impressive resume, a finish outside the top 25 has relegated the Candyman to the number two spot for this week’s edition.

Yet he looks to win a lot of money in the All-Star race with his new colored paint scheme and firesuit, or as FOX Sport’s Matt Yocum suggests, some preppy yacht club kid apparel (thanks Urban Dictionary for that by the way).

“Tied for eternity now in NASCAR record book with roller-skating legend Morgan Shepherd.” – Godwin Kelly, The Daytona Beach News Journal

“That was rude of NASCAR to make him drive through too many pit stalls like that.” – Michael Massie, Frontstretch

3. Kevin Harvick 169 Points

Last week’s ranking: 5th (+2)

Who cares Harvick nearly won his first race of the season? The real story with Happy is that he is becoming cultured. Last week, the 2014 champion was facing a severe existential crisis after millennials took over his car. Yet, Harvick has started to learn that he can’t even. That’s a start.

For Harvick and this post-millennial, millennial lingo can be hard to comprehend, so please, give us time.

“Did someone double check to make sure to see if it was that black cat (or squirrel) again that once ran out in front of him that caused that unscheduled pit stop.” – Zach Gillispie, Frontstretch

4. Chase Elliott  161 Points

Last week’s ranking: 4th (No Change)

Cue the Jaws music, the Chevrolets are coming back.

“Another top-five which is just as exciting as Elliott’s monotone voice.” – Tiongson

5. Joey Logano – 143 Points

First place votes: 1

Last week’s ranking: 2nd (-3)

Logano was notably absent from the leaderboard at Kansas. Despite his truancy, Logano crept his way into the points lead, which was largely overshadowed by several events including a 39-year-old getting punked by a 22-year-old, the near overhaul of a roller skating legend’s record, an “exhilarating” aero package, a showman, a piece of trash, Keselowski emulating Mr. Kevin “where did he come from” Harvick, and a watermelon farmer.

OK it’s fine the new points leader was overlooked.

“It’s like the Team Penske drivers take turns on who has that good car. Except for Ryan Blaney, they don’t let him have a turn.” – Massie

6. Martin Truex Jr  117 Points

Last week’s ranking: 3rd (-3)

This week’s party foul goes to Dale Earnhardt Jr who leaked Truex’s potential Darlington throwback scheme. Seriously Junior?

But shhh!!! This is just a rumor. You didn’t hear it from us.

“MTJ is having a Katy Perry-like season. And by that I mean, a hot and cold one.” – Tiongson

7. Alex Bowman  104 Points

Last week’s ranking: Tied 9th (+2)

The following sentences each have something in common:

Walmart has a lower acceptance rate than Harvard.

Alex Bowman has three runner-up finishes in a row.

Hunting Unicorns is legal in Michigan.

These are all wildly surprising facts.

“Moving up the charts faster than a Taylor Swift single.” – Kelly
“New nickname: Bowman the Bridesmaid” – Adam Cheek, Frontstretch

8. Kurt Busch  93 Points

Last week’s ranking: 8th (No Change)

Remember Corey Lajoie? Or, more specifically, his face?

You now have the chance too.

“Technically, a record was broken. A Busch has finished in the top 10 in each of the first 12 races. It’s not the Busch brothers’ problem Morgan Shepherd didn’t have a brother to pick up the slack in the 12th race.” – Massie

9. Clint Bowyer  83 Points

Last week’s ranking: Tied 9th (No Change)

You’ve probably already heard about Mr. and Mr. Jones. Enough of that. Here is this week’s episode of Clint Bowyer’s social media chronicles…

On this week’s edition of Clint Bowyer’s social media chronicles: Chase Elliott’s big truck, sleepless nights in Vegas, and a rat rod school bus.

“He didn’t like that block. Do I smell another spingate in the All-Star race?” – Baskinger

10. Denny Hamlin  69 Points

Last week’s ranking: 7th (-3)

While Keselowski earned the title of “Mr. Where-Did-He-Come-From” this week, Hamlin might as well be “Mr. Where-Did-He-Go.”

“I like his strategy: get all of the bad luck out of the way now.” – Massie

11. Erik Jones  36 Points

Last week’s ranking: Not Ranked

That block was almost as good as Chuck Norris blocking bullets with his skull.

“Did That Jones Boy rattle Bowyer’s cage?” Kobe Lambeth, Kobelambeth.com

“Heard he was throwing one hell of a block party.” -Massie

12. Kyle Larson  33 Points

Last week’s ranking: 12th (No Change)

Larson claims his performance at Kansas was decent. Yet, looking at his track record this season, his performance at Kansas was actually outstanding, phenomenal, astonishing, amazing, staggering, miraculous, unheard of, sensational, breathtaking, insane, astounding, incredible (where are you Kyle Petty), unparalleled, awesome, terrific, tremendous, super and any other synonym for pretty good.

“I guess he needs to flip every weekend to actually do good. He should just think about entering more sprint car races just to flip.” – Baskinger

OTHER DRIVERS WHO RECEIVED VOTES

THIS WEEK’S VOTING PANEL

NameTwitterOrganization
Jake Baskinger@jbaskinger41Jake Baskinger on YouTube
Adam Cheek@adamncheekFrontstretch
Ed Coombs@combsedSpeedway Media
Bryan Davis Keith@bryandaviskeithFrontstretch
Rob Dutzar Jr@rob_dutzarRob’s NASCAR Blog
Eric Estepp@ericestepp17Out of the Groove
Darian Gilliam@blackflagmatterBlack Flags Matter
Zach Gillispie@gillispie_zachFrontstretch
Dan Greene@librarymonkFrontstretch
Leon Hammack@captainblowdriWorking on My Rednck
Ryan Holman@realryanholmanRyan Holman on YouTube
Dakota Honaker@2codered4u2CodeRed4U
Godwin Kelly@godwinkellyThe Daytona Beach News Journal
Mark Kristl@markkristlFrontstretch
Kobe Lambeth@kobelambethKobelambeth.com
Michael Massie@m_massie22Frontstretch
Tommy McCoart@nascarman_rrRacing Reference
Rob Tiongson@robtiongsonThe Podium Finish
Joy Tomlinson@jt_giantsfanFrontstretch

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. 

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About Zach Gillispie

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A lifelong race fan, Zach Gillispie joined Frontstretch fresh out of high school in the summer of 2018 as a news writer. In addition, Zach coordinates Frontstretch's industry-wide weekly power rankings column. Originally from Charlotte, NC, he resides in western PA with his family. He currently attends Grove City College and is a die-hard fan of the Atlanta Braves. Follow Zach on Twitter @gillispie_zach

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