As the halfway point of the NASCAR regular season has come and gone, Kyle Busch and Joe Gibbs Racing did not miss a beat. For the ninth time in 14 races, a JGR driver has gone to victory lane. Busch won his first race since Bristol and his fourth of the season. He will stay at the number one spot in our power rankings, but did everybody think he is the best driver after Pocono?
Kevin Harvick looked to be in contention to try and get his first victory of the season but once again, pit problems arrived for Harvick’s team. They struggled on the final pit stop before having a cracked power steering box problem to derail his race, which left Harvick 22nd. Did the slow pit stop slide Harvick down in the rankings?
We answer these questions and much more, right here!
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: Pocono 400 Edition
1. Kyle Busch – 168 Points
First place votes: 14 (unanimous)
Last week’s ranking: 1st (-)
For Kyle Busch, everyone agrees that he was the best driver and is currently the best driver in NASCAR, as all 14 voters voted for Kyle Busch to take the dog.
Now, you would think winning the race would make a person happy, right? That is not the case for Busch as he was having none of one reporters question about the “P” word (AKA Package).
— Will Kunkel (@WillKunkelFOX46) June 2, 2019
“No reason to change a thing at the top.” Ed Combs, Speedway Media
“POW! Back on top.” Godwin Kelly, Daytona Beach News Journal
“The domination of Joe Gibbs racing this season is just unbelievable.” Matt Courson, KickInTheTires.Net
2. Brad Keselowski – 142 Points
First place votes: 0
Last week’s ranking: 4th (+2)
It was a solid day for Team Penske but specifically for Keselowski as he took advantage of a restart with under 10 laps to go to get a top-three finish. He even surprised some campers on Friday after he was done practicing.
— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) May 31, 2019
3 Joey Logano– 126 Points
First place votes: 0
Last week’s ranking: 3rd(-)
Once again, it was a quiet weekend for Logano as he was solidly in the top 10 all day Sunday. But like most of the drivers, he could just not find his way up to the front due to the struggle to pass. Here is hoping Michigan is not like that this upcoming weekend.
Tough battle today at the tricky-triangle. My No. 22 @ShellMotorsport @Pennzoil @FordPerformance crossed the finish line in the 7th position and we’ll get ready for MIS next week. #TeamJL pic.twitter.com/A8pliU7d8Q
— Joey Logano (@joeylogano) June 2, 2019
4. Martin Truex Jr.– 115 Points
First place votes: 0
Last week’s ranking: 2nd (-2)
From hero to zero became a reality for Truex as the defending winner of the Pocono 400 went up in smoke on lap 91. This was only Truex’s second DNF of the season as the first one was in the season opening race in Daytona.
Martin Truex Jr. on his Pocono engine issues: pic.twitter.com/rIRLXmOCmv
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) June 2, 2019
“Ran great until the grenade went off.” –Combs
5. Chase Elliott – 108 Points
First place votes: 0
Last week’s ranking: 5th (-)
Like Logano, nothing big surrounded the No. 9 car, and for Elliott, it was a solid day. He led a few laps and was relatively happy after the race.
— Hendrick Motorsports (@TeamHendrick) June 4, 2019
6. Denny Hamlin – 91 Points
Last week’s ranking: 7th (+1)
After two wins in the first five races for the JGR driver, Hamlin seemed to go on a cold spell for a bit. But in Pocono?
He looked like the Denny Hamlin of old, throwing back to his first career win as well as his first of three Pocono victories. However, he didn’t seem to mince words when describing expectations moving forward.
Denny Hamlin on why a driver had to have realistic expectations today with this aero package and why he thinks Michigan could be a great race with this package. #nascar @NASCARONFOX pic.twitter.com/ucjgCDfnCI
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) June 2, 2019
“Hamlin wins for quote of the week. “It’s wasn’t that passing was hard. It was impossible.” – Michael Massie, Frontstretch.com
7. Kevin Harvick– 88 Points
First place votes: 0
Last week’s ranking: 6th (-1)
Had a great car again this weekend @poconoraceway and @KevinHarvick drove his butt off. Still one of my favorite places and will knock it off the list soon.
Big thanks to all the fans that came out this weekend. 👊🏼👍🏼
— Rodney Childers (@RodneyChilders4) June 3, 2019
“Did he catch Kyle Larson’s bad luck?” Joy Tomlinson, Frontstretch.com
“Harvick continues to dominate the best driver/worst pit crew ratio” –Massie
“He might be on the verge of getting out and pitting the car himself from now on.” –Adam Cheek, Frontstretch.com
8. Kyle Larson – 45 Points
Last week’s ranking: 10th (+2)
It looked like the bad luck went off of Larson and went to Harvick as Larson was in command of Sunday’s race, winning both stage one and stage two.
But once again, like the entire season has gone, a late-race incident moved Larson down in the result column and he once again ended the race on a sour note.
At least Chip Ganassi won something on Sunday as Scott Dixon earned the victory in the NTT IndyCar Series at Belle Isle.
— CGR IndyCar (@CGRindycar) June 2, 2019
“He won again today, actually twice. Overall these wins didn’t matter much.” – Rob Dutzar Jr, Rob’s NASCAR Blog
9. Clint Bowyer – 41 Points
Last week’s ranking: NR
With Bowyer going to The Bahamas to celebrate his 40th birthday, you would think he would get some steam off and be thankful he finished fifth?
Nope. The Emporia, Kansas native is itching for a victory as he will be approaching a winless streak of one full year when they arrive in Michigan this upcoming weekend.
— #NASCARSalutes (@NASCAR) June 3, 2019
“In fifth place, Bowyer was the highest-finisher for Stewart-Haas Racing. It really is a surprise that they have yet to win a race this year.” –Ryan Holman, Ryan Holman on YouTube
“Only a few more weeks until Bowyer is fully recovered from his 40th birthday party.” –Massie
10. Alex Bowman – 36 Points
Last week’s ranking: 8th (-2)
Like his teammate Elliott, it was an uneventful day for Bowman and the No. 88 team until the final part of the race where the gears got stuck and Bowman had to drive one handed.
Rough day. Lost 4th gear while looking for turn 4 🤦🏻♂️. Had to run the last run one handed while trying to hold the car into gear. On to Michigan. pic.twitter.com/qs7FIFzO8n
— Alex Bowman (@AlexBowman88) June 3, 2019
“Consistently in the top 10, and for what it’s worth he is looking like Chase did before he got the win at Watkins Glen.” -Dutzar Jr
11. Kurt Busch– 35 Points
Last week’s ranking: 8th (UR)
It was a solid day for the Chip Ganassi racer as he had to climb his way up through the field on an extremely tough day to pass. Solid day in which his younger brother won the race.
— Kurt Busch (@KurtBusch) June 2, 2019
“While Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon won the second Detroit IndyCar race, Kurt Busch was the highest-finishing driver for the team at Pocono, finishing 11th.” – Holman
12. William Byron – 34 Points
Last week’s ranking: 12th (No Change)
For Byron, this was very a solid day as they won the pole and led a good amount of laps before having to settle for a ninth-place run. If they continue to run like this, they will be getting to victory lane in no time.
We executed a solid weekend all around. Good stage points. Building momentum for the summer stretch. Thanks @Hendrick24Team!
— William Byron (@WilliamByron) June 3, 2019
“Hey, this kid is getting the hang of this cup thing.” –Kelly
“If races were only 30 laps, then Byron would win the championship.” –Massie,
OTHER DRIVERS WHO RECEIVED VOTES
THIS WEEK’S VOTING PANEL
|Jake Baskinger||@jbaskinger41||Jake Baskinger on YouTube|
|Ed Coombs||@combsed||Speedway Media|
|Matt Courson||@m_courson||Kick In The Tires|
|Rob Dutzar Jr||@rob_dutzar||Rob’s NASCAR Blog|
|Darian Gilliam||@blackflagmatter||Black Flags Matter|
|Ryan Holman||@realryanholman||Ryan Holman on YouTube|
|Godwin Kelly||@godwinkelly||The Daytona Beach News Journal|
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.