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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

The 12: NASCAR Power Rankings, Bank of America ROVAL 400 Edition

So, you stuff it in the wall and your day is over. Well, that is not quite how the script read for Georgia’s favorite son. Daunted by an embarassing mistake that put the No. 9 behind the eight ball, Chase Elliott rallied to win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ Bank of America ROVAL 400 after meeting the tire barrier on lap 66.

After that impressive display of resilience, can Elliott conquer the Monster Mile this weekend for the second year in a row?

Like Elliott, Joey Logano also had an encounter with those tire barrier gremlins. However, his turned out worse, as Logano sustained a significant gouge to the left-front headlight decal.

With Logano’s struggles as of late, can he turn it around at the Dover International Speedway this weekend?

Speaking of turning around, water, fingers and a road course situated in the middle of a camper lot apparently do not bode well for Alex Bowman (and Bubba Wallace, for that matter). But hey, there is nothing to worry about. Right? He finished second, after all.

Quietly, Clint Bowyer has turned himself into one of the best road course competitors on the MENCS circuit, and it unsurprisingly showed at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL. The Kansas native took advantage of his road racing prowess to deliver a much-needed top five, good enough to advance him to the next round of the playoffs.

Questions continue to arise as the top competitors in NASCAR soldier on to Dover International Speedway. With drama, emotion and tempers still circulating, Dover might be a must-see event to open up the second round of the MENCS playoffs. With 12 drivers still in contention for the 2019 championship, our Frontstretch panel of experts were put to the ultimate challenge to determine the 12 best drivers in NASCAR today.

Power Rankings: Bank of America ROVAL 400 Edition

1. Martin Truex Jr. – 150 Points

First-place votes: 9

Last week’s ranking: 1st (No change)

Truex tops our leaderboard once again. The hard-charging New Jersian finished in the respectable seventh position but will look to improve on the result this weekend at his home track.

“When do I get to make my Final 4 picks? If this guy isn’t there, I’d be surprised.” -Trey Normile, Raw Gator

Tied 2. Kevin Harvick 124 Points

First-place votes: 2

Last week’s ranking: 5th (+3)

Harvick may have found a few turtles during the wild afternoon at Charlotte. Despite the encounter with the wildlife, his capitalization on Elliott’s controller dying and leading 34 laps, Harvick was unable to muster his Ford back to the lead in this final laps, ultimately landing in third.

“Somehow wasn’t as freaky fast as Elliott.” -Joy Tomlinson, Frontstretch

Tied 2. Kyle Busch 124 Points

Last week’s ranking: 2nd (No change)

Like Harvick, Kyle Busch found many shelled creatures on his interesting journey around the ROVAL. Unfortunately, the turtles likely inflicted a casualty: Busch’s sway bar. However, the sway bar malfunction didn’t rain on the parade of most fans, who gladly exclaimed their emotion to Busch casual Sunday drive down pit road… the wrong direction.

“Who knew Corey LaJoie’s Ninja Turtles ate sway bars?” – Zach Gillispie, Frontstretch

4. Chase Elliott – 114 Points

First-place votes: 2

Last week’s ranking: 8th (+4)

Apparently, Elliott’s GPS thought the lap 66 restart was going to take the field on the normal oval layout. Instead, he found that there were some very cushy stacks of rubber blocking his way. So, what do you do? Just back up, recalculate the GPS and take an alternate route to your destination, which in Elliott’s case was victory lane. Also, we might just have a candidate for the best burnout of the year.

“I mean, seriously, how many of us haven’t had our Xbox One controller disconnect with us when racing on NASCAR Heat 4?” -Rob Tiongson, The Podium Finish

“Don’t call it a comeback, call it a drive-thru.” -Rob Dutzar Jr, Rob’s NASCAR Blog

5. Brad Keselowski 97 Points

Last week’s ranking: 4th (-1)

Well, Darrell Waltrip might be retired, but we almost had another case of…

“You picked a fine time to leave me loose wheel.”

Anyway, Keselowski may have broken the record for the world’s fastest shopping cart.

“The wheels on the car go round and round, mostly….” -Dan Greene, Frontstretch

6. Joey Logano – 82 Points

Last week’s ranking: 6th (No change)

Like Elliott, Logano’s GPS needed a bit of recalculating. Fortunately for Logano, though, the No. 22 carries the colors of a brand of motor oil, so it wouldn’t have been perfect product placement is his Ford got caught on those tires (a la Keselowski at Indy).

“If this were soccer, I’d give him an A+ for the dropkick on the tire barrier.” -Gillispie

7. Denny Hamlin 80 Points

Last week’s ranking: 3rd (-4)

Hamlin’s weekend got off to a rough start as he crashed into the tire barriers in first practice. However, Hamlin did not have to necessarily rebound, because the entire rest of the field likely encountered some sort of problem throughout the weekend, too. Hamlin will try to rebound at Dover, a track at which he is winless.

“Joe Gibbs Racing’s version of Raph from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has channeled his anger into, well, positive energy?” -Tiongson

8. Alex Bowman – 61 Points

Last week’s ranking: Not Ranked

So, let’s see if we can get this straight. You spin and sort of crash. A guy flips you off. And flips you off. And flips you off again. You spin the guy. Make the second round. You are exhausted. You need some sort of hydration. Some guy gives you some water. Ah… the circle of life. Hakuna Matata.

“At least he has Nationwide on his side.” -Gillispie

9. Kyle Larson 58 Points

Last week’s ranking: 7th (-2)

At least this go-round at the ROVAL didn’t involve Larson crashing into walls and tire barriers. However, Larson encountered plenty of rogue turtles. We might need to ask a biologist why there are so many turtles so far from home.

“Showing some veteran moxie right now.” -Godwin Kelly, The Daytona Beach News Journal

10. William Byron 42 Points

Last week’s ranking: Not Ranked

For your random NASCAR trivia of the week:

Question: Who has the most poles so far in the 2019 season?

Answer: Kevin Harvick and, drum roll, please… William Byron.

“I like to call him the Atlanta Falcons of NASCAR. He gives us such hope for what is to come and then completely falls apart.” Jake Baskinger, Jake Baskinger on YouTube

11. Clint Bowyer – 39 Points

Last week’s ranking: 10th (-1)

On this week’s edition of Bowyer’s social media chronicles: Wolfgang, lead sled troubles and Cash in a carseat.

“This time at Charlotte, Bowyer was throwing punches in a different way: on the track. You’re welcome, Ryan Newman.” -Gillispie

12. Ryan Blaney 24 Points

Last week’s ranking: 11th (-1)

If you haven’t figured this out by now, we need to do something. This is an absolute travesty for all of biology. Please, SAVE THE TURTLES!

“When asked what he’ll do after a top-10 finish at the ROVAL, Blaney simply told reporters, “strut” before walking to the Bee Gees’ ‘Stayin’ Alive.'” -Tiongson

OTHER DRIVERS WHO RECEIVED VOTES

  • Ryan Newman: 8 Points
  • Jimmie Johnson: 5
  • Michael McDowell: 3
    • “Apparently Ryan Newman is still harder to pass than a kidney stone.” -Gillispie
  • The Yellow Flag: 1
    • “The officiating had more power than many of this week’s drivers.” -Greene

THIS WEEK’S VOTING PANEL

NameTwitterOrganization
Jake Baskinger@jbaskinger41Jake Baskinger on YouTube
Adam Cheek@adamncheekFrontstretch
Rob Dutzar Jr@rob_dutzarRob’s NASCAR Blog
Darian Gilliam@blackflagmatterWorking on My Rednck
Zach Gillispie@gillispie_zachFrontstretch
Dan Greene@librarymonkFrontstretch
Godwin Kelly@godwinkellyThe Daytona Beach News Journal
Mark Kristl@markkristlFrontstretch
Kobe Lambeth@kobelambethKobelambeth.com
Tommy McCoart@nascarman_rrRacing Reference
Trey Normile@rawgatorytRawGator
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.