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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

The 12: NASCAR Power Rankings Camping World 400 Edition

After finishing second three times in 2019 and having to wait out a three-hour delay due to a monsoon invading Chicagoland Speedway after lap 11, there was no denying Alex Bowman as the Tuscon, Arizona, native passed Kyle Larson in the closing laps to score his first career win in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

For Joe Gibbs Racing, meanwhile, it was a rough afternoon. Denny Hamlin and Erik Jones had average days, while teammate Martin Truex Jr came home ninth. The real loser was Kyle Busch, as he tagged the wall early in stage one and could not rally; the four-time winner this season had to settle for 21st.

Here’s how Bowman’s triumph — and JGR’s issues — factored into this week’s 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: Camping World 400 Edition

1. Kyle Busch – 118 Points

First-place votes: 3

Last week’s ranking: 1st (-)

It was not the day that Busch was looking or even expecting. The defending winner of the Camping World 400 hit the wall early in stage one, cut a tire and never recovered. He cut another tire on a restart and had to pit during green flag conditions.

That didn’t stop him from being a respectable guy, as he went out of his way to talk to some of the fans that were touring his Kyle Busch Motorsports shop the following day.

T-2. Martin Truex Jr 116 Points

First-place votes: 4

Last week’s ranking: 2nd (-)

After winning at Sonoma Raceway, Truex was looking to go back-to-back, but like his teammate, it just wasn’t his day. Truex started in 18th and finished fourth in stages one and two, but it just didn’t seem like he had anything for the Hendrick Motorsports guys.

On the bright side? The Cup Series heads to Kentucky Speedway in two weeks, where Truex has won every single stage there since stage racing’s inception.

Here’s how good Truex’s season has been: He had a terrible finish in ninth, and Austin Dillon had a great finish in 10th.” –Michael Massie, Frontstretch

T-2nd: Joey Logano 116 Points

First-place votes: 4

Last week’s ranking: 4th (+2)

After a disaster of a weekend at Sonoma, Logano rebounded nicely at Chicagoland. Sure, it may have not been a win, but it was a solid top-five finish. On to Daytona International Speedway, where he and his teammate are fairly good at superspeedway tracks.

4th Brad Keselowski 104 Points

First-place votes: 0

Last week’s ranking: 6th (+2)

Like teammate Logano, Keselowski was coming into the Chicagoland weekend looking to get back on track, and that is exactly what happened. Keselowski finished fifth in what was a relatively calm race for him and even collected a couple of stage points. Decent day for Keselowski and the No. 2 crew.

5. Denny Hamlin– 72 Points

First-place votes: 0

Last week’s ranking: 3rd (-2)

It seemed it was going to be a calm day for Hamlin, as the No. 11 car wasn’t the best but still was able to challenge for a top 10.

Then a pit road mistake happened; Hamlin received an uncontrolled tire violation.

Even after the race, he was displeased and was not afraid to share his frustrations on Twitter.

Next up? A trip back to where he won his second Daytona 500 back in February.

T-6. Alex Bowman 68 Points

First-place votes: 0

Last week’s ranking: UR (UR)

We knew it was going to happen — we just didn’t know when. Chicagoland was the answer, as Bowman led 88 laps and took the No. 88 to victory lane. Even though he got his car stuck in the grass after doing his burnout, that didn’t wipe the smile off his face, as evidenced by this post on Twitter.

“Bowman the Showman did it. So many second-place finishes, and just like Chase Elliott he finally broke through” –Rob Dutzar Jr, Rob’s NASCAR Blog

“Clearly the best haircut in NASCAR belongs to the newest race winner, and he is not a rookie.” Rob Tiongson, The Podium Finish

T-6. Kevin Harvick 68 Points

First-place votes: 0

Last week’s ranking: 5th (-1)

I know I keep sounding like a broken record, but ONCE AGAIN, it was the same story, different result. Harvick led five times for 132 laps and received eight stage points, but once it was all said and done, Harvick had to settle for 14th.
It is just one of those seasons for Harvick and the No. 4 team.

“Led the most laps, but was never the same in dirty air.”- Joy Tomlinson, Frontstretch

8. Chase Elliott 61 Points

First-place votes: 0

Last week’s ranking: 8th (-)

It was a much better day for Elliott than last week, as he actually got to finish this race! After blowing his engine in Sonoma, Elliott came back strong but was the slowest out of the four Hendrick Motorsports guys. All in all, it was a good team weekend, if you want to focus on the positives — and that is what Elliott did.

“Elliott was on vacation this week from his usual job of carrying Hendrick Motorsports” Massie

9. Ryan Blaney 33 Points

First-place votes: 0

Last week’s ranking: 7th (-2)

After a struggle of a first half of the season for the No. 12 team, it seems like Blaney and Co. is turning a corner. He finished third last week in Sonoma and continued the string of good runs by capitalizing with a sixth-place finish at Chicagoland.

To top it off? He got to go to a  Chicago Cubs game the Thursday before race weekend!

“Young Jedi Man was a lot like El Diablo with his Chicagoland finish – now you see him, now you don’t.” -Tiongson

T-10. Kyle Larson 31 Points

First-place votes: 0

Last week’s ranking: 10th (-)

It looked like Larson was going to break his long winless streak when he passed Bowman with under 10 to go, but Bowman charged back to the front and passed him to get his first career win. If Larson continues to run like that, that win streak will be gone before you know it.

T-10. Kurt Busch – 31 Points

First-place votes: 0

Last week’s ranking: 9th (-1)

While his teammate was battling for the lead and the win, it was a struggle of a day for Busch and the No. 1 team. Perhaps he will have a better run at Daytona, where has won before.

12. Jimmie Johnson– 13 Points

First-place votes: 0

Last week’s ranking: UR

Johnson had nothing to be ashamed of, as the seven-time champion led 10 laps and was in the top five for most of the race. He eventually ended up with his best finish of the year, concluding the event in fourth place. That No. 48 team is headed in the right direction.

“Who would have thought he’d be in the hunt at the end. Hendrick has picked up its game.” –Ed Coombs, SpeedwayMedia.com

“Something probably heard in the late 2000s: Johnson struggled all night. He only led 10 laps and finished fourth.” –Massie

OTHER DRIVERS WHO RECEIVED VOTES

  • Erik Jones: 10
  • William Byron: 9 – Seriously, if Byron wins a race here soon, the headline should be set to a Mansun song – “The Chad Who Loved Me.” –Tiongson
  • Aric Almiorla: 7
  • Austin Dillon: 1

THIS WEEK’S VOTING PANEL

NameTwitterOrganization
Ed Coombs@combsedSpeedway Media
Rob Dutzar Jr@rob_dutzarRob’s NASCAR Blog
Darian Gilliam@blackflagmatterBlack Flags Matter
Dan Greene@librarymonkFrontstretch
Dakota Honaker@2codered4u2CodeRed4U
Godwin Kelly@godwinkellyThe Daytona Beach News Journal
Mark Kristl@markkristlFrontstretch
Kobe Lambeth@kobelambethKobelambeth.com
Michael Massie@m_massie22Frontstretch
Rob TiongsonrobtiongsonThe 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 Bryan Nolen

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Bryan Nolen currently goes to the Dan Patrick School of Sportscasting at Full Sail. He would like to be involved in some aspect of Motor Sports after he completes school. He hosts a podcast that is on Apple Podcasts and Google Play called Sports Talk with Bryan and TB and lives in Boise, Idaho. Follow him on Twitter @TheBryanNolen

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One comment

  1. Avatar

    Austin Dillon got one vote? Is POP POP on the panel?