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(Photo: Christian Koelle)

The 12: NASCAR Power Rankings 1000Bulbs.com 500 Edition

Kyle Larson was one of the first casualties of the carnage Monday (Oct. 14) at Talladega Superspeedway. Although his car stayed on the ground this time, Larson made heavy contact with an out-of-control Alex Bowman. Via his win at Dover International Speedway, Larson didn’t have to use a mulligan. Although he is in the next round of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, can Larson shed his longshot status and enter the final four?

Like Martin Truex Jr. at Richmond Raceway last month, Ryan Blaney pulled off another spin an win. Before Sunday’s rain delay and subsequent postponement, Blaney looped his Ford coming to pit road during green-flag pit stops but rallied back on Monday to complete the feat. Like Larson, Blaney’s Championship 4 hopes may be ambitious but is Blaney Team Penske’s best shot for a championship?

Before Brendan Gaughan got his pilot’s license, Joey Logano nearly got his. Logano nearly went over after contact with William Byron in stage three. Despite not flipping, Logano’s Ford was heavily damaged. However, Logano mustered up an impressive top-15 finish. Can the same grit carry over to next week’s contest at Kansas Speedway?

Clint Bowyer stayed out of trouble at Talladega… for the most part. Bowyer was on pace to collect valuable stage points and even had all four fenders intact on his Stewart-Haas Racing Ford at the end of the contest. The unfortunate part for Bowyer is he found himself in a high-centered for a costly two laps after losing a left-rear tire in turn 3 before safety personnel could come to his rescue. After his unfortunate break, can Bowyer shine at his home track this weekend?

The questions that remain are about as many MENCS drivers are relieved to get out of Alabama. After the dust settled after Talladega’s expected chaos, our Frontstretch panel of experts was tasked to determine the 12 best drivers in NASCAR currently. After much deliberation, here are Power Rankings: Talladega.

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: 1000Bulbs.com 500 Edition

1. Denny Hamlin 132 Points

First place votes: 4

Last week’s ranking: 2nd (+1)

If there is one driver in the garage area who knows what is going on underneath the hood, it would be Hamlin. In fact, he has quite the history of failing to keep his hood secure on the car. While Logano may have been the driver to encounter hood problems at Talladega, many drivers, including Hamlin, were losing hood flaps left and right. Despite the loss of the hood flap, Hamlin survived the carnage, and with a battered Toyota, came home fifth.

2. Martin Truex Jr. – 114 Points

First place votes: 4

Last week’s ranking: 1st (-1)

Incredibly, Truex finished the Talladega race. His Toyota was about as mangled as anyone who tries to play the Alabama Crimson Tide. Somehow, the New Jerseyan limped the No. 19 car home to a 26th-place finish, albeit six laps down. Despite the perseverance, Truex has lost the number one spot in our Power Rankings.

3. Kyle Busch 106 Points

Last week’s ranking: 5th (+2)

With manufacturer politicking readily apparent at Talladega among the Ford and Chevrolet camps, Toyota drivers found themselves without alliances or team orders. Because of that, Busch was stuck in the hornet’s nest on an island throughout the event. However, Busch found his way to the front, with the help of his former team and teammate Jimmie Johnson. Remember when Johnson and Busch were teammates? So much has changed.

4. Kyle Larson – 95 Points

First place votes: 2

Last week’s ranking: 4th (No Change)

Despite clobbering Bowman, Larson is apparently a huge fan of the new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette. Well, Larson’s fandom might be justified. With a 6.2 liter V8, nearly 500hp, and a base price of under $60,000, the new Corvette might be the real deal for American sports car enthusiasts. Just don’t tell that to Blaney.

5. Kevin Harvick 90 Points

Last week’s ranking: 3rd (-2)

While Harvick Beer may be a thing of the past, Harvick couldn’t find the peace and quiet of the serene scenes of the Busch commercials at Talladega. In fact, the Busch car was crushed like a BUSCHHHHHH can in a wreck caused by a Busch, who got turned by another Busch. Confused yet?

6. Brad Keselowski 81 Points

Last week’s ranking: 7th (+1)

The Monday race day could be easily forgettable for Keselowski. Before getting taken out in a crash, Keselowski struggled to even get his car started after the rain postponement. Despite the treacherous day, Keselowski executed two excellent displays of tandem drafting. One came with the aid of Bowyer’s high downforce Ford Mustang and the other came with a volunteer’s powerful but heavy Freightliner 4800.

7. Ryan Blaney – 79 Points

First-place votes: 2

Last week’s ranking: Not Ranked

Did you know that the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette has almost the same amount of horsepower as a Cup car? Did you also know that the new Corvette has a 0-60 similar to a NASCAR race car? Not to be outdone, did you know that Chevrolet will offer an eight-speed manual transmission in the new Corvette? The Corvette has more gears than a race car!

Haha, Ryan Blaney doesn’t care.

8. Joey Logano – 71 Points

Last week’s ranking: 8th (No Change)

As stated before, Hamlin surprisingly didn’t have major hood problems this time. That honor belonged to Joey Logano, and unfortunately for the 29-year-old, a missing hood isn’t legal or very aerodynamic for that matter.

Also, someone might want to pursue a Lenscrafters sponsorship for the No. 22.

9. Chase Elliott 57 Points

Last week’s ranking: 9th (No Change)

The top speed of the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette is approximately  194mph, which would fit very comfortably in the pack at Daytona or Talladega. The new Corvette also has 470lb -ft of torque, which is again, very impressive for a modern American sportscar.

10. Alex Bowman – 27 Points

Last week’s ranking: 6th (-4)

The 2020 Corvette comes in three trim levels: the 1LT, 2LT, and the 3LT. Also, if you have a spare $5000 laying around, you could upgrade to the ZL1 package. Not bad.

11. William Byron 23 Points

Last week’s ranking: 10th (-1)

Is Willy B even old enough to drive a Corvette?

Anyways, enough of the Corvette hijinx. Byron lead at Talladega for an impressive 23 hours. Unfortunately, this was not the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona as Byron was not able to keep the lead in the final hours and was taken out when a bump draft went awry.

12. Clint Bowyer – 18 Points

Last week’s ranking: 11th (-1)

On this week’s edition of Bowyer’s social media chronicles: the “Redneck Club,” race cars don’t have winches and a big… ah… um… well… problem.

Plus, the Chiefs lose, a Ferrari and shaking at 200 mph.

OTHER DRIVERS WHO RECEIVED VOTES

THIS WEEK’S VOTING PANEL

NameTwitterOrganization
Adam Cheek@adamncheekFrontstretch
Bryan Davis Keith@bryandaviskeithFrontstretch
Rob Dutzar Jr@rob_dutzarRob’s NASCAR Blog
Darian Gilliam@blackflagmatterBlack Flags Matter
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. 

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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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