(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Power Rankings: Monster Marathon Edition

Every year it seems that we have the debate about whether NASCAR needs a 600-mile race. You can holler out “OK, Boomer,” but I think it is very important to have some of the classic NASCAR races stay at their classic lengths. There was a time this was a test of man and machine, and maybe it is more of a test of the viewers patience, but some things like the World 600, Daytona 500, 500 laps at Bristol Motor Speedway and the Southern 500 on Labor Day weekend shouldn’t be messed with at all.

With that said, let’s take a look at where the Power Rankings are after the monster of a marathon race on Sunday (May 24). 

  1. Kevin Harvick – Happy is still the only driver with a perfect record of top-10 finishes this season, so it’s impossible to knock him out of his top spot. It was interesting to see the Chevy brand show such dominance in qualifying, though on Sunday, Harvick and the rest of the Ford crowd showed their usual strength. 
  2. Kyle Busch – It was time for yet another different paint scheme on Sunday for the M&M’s Toyota, but once again the result was a strong finish. He didn’t even have the urge to knock Chase Elliott out of the way this week! 
  3. Martin Truex Jr. – Charlotte Motor Speedway is always a strong track for Truex, and once again, it looked like he would continue his recent dominance by leading 87 laps. But the track position shuffle wasn’t kind to him this week and he had to settle for a sixth-place finish.
  4. Chase Elliott – Another strong run and another unique way to lose a race. This time it was a bad decision by his crew chief Alan Gustafson that cost him the win. Pitting for four tires from the lead with just the overtime to go? As strong as his car was at the end of this marathon event, he had to know if he ZIGGED the rest of the field would ZAG. 
  5. Brad Keselowski – They say that sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. Others might say you have to be strong to be in the hunt to take advantage of a great break. Either way, when Elliott pitted and Bad Brad got clean air on the front of his Ford, it wasn’t a surprise to see him hang on for the win and earn a jump in the rankings. 
  6. Denny Hamlin – As an avid golfer, Hamlin had a mulligan coming to him in Power Rankings after he was a victim to a bad crew mistake. They used to say that a 50 cent part can cost you a race. In this day and age, it’s more like a $50 dollar bolt and the failure to check a box on a pre-race checklist that killed his chances during the pace laps. Luckily, the ballast fell out during the pace laps and not during the race.  
  7. Alex Bowman – Bowman the Showman had another strong car, leading 164 of the 405 laps and won the first two stages. Unfortunately the pay window doesn’t open up until the checkered flag falls and Bowman dropped to 19th on a final restart. 
  8. Ryan Blaney – 2020 has been a weird season for Blaney thus far. After starting back in the pack it appeared this would be another race of underachieving for the young racer. But a strong finish would yield his best finish since he was the runner-up in the season opener in the Daytona 500. 
  9. Joey Logano – This is one guy who continues to either be really good or really average on any given week. Besides his two wins, he has failed to score another top five and has four finishes outside of the top 10. 
  10. Tyler Reddick – This guy is a rookie? He is not only making it look easy with the jump to the NASCAR Cup Series, but when you look at the rest of his teammates, his performance is even more amazing. Could he become only the fourth driver in Cup Series history to win in the No. 8 car? (Joe Weatherly, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Bobby Hillin Jr. are the others) 
  11. Matt Kenseth – The old guy again looked like he hadn’t been sitting out since 2018. But bad luck got him during the monster marathon. Matt the Brat will be going to victory lane several times this season and could be a threat to win the title. 
  12. Jimmie Johnson – Is anyone else starting to lose faith in Seven-Time despite his strong start? Once again, he made a rookie-like mistake getting himself out of the groove and in trouble. He would rally for a runner-up finish before getting disqualified. 
  13. William Byron – In the latest version of the NASCAR drinking game, you have to take a shot every time Mike Joy mentions iRacing and Byron. It’s a good thing there is only one 600-mile race every year, because you would be sloshed by 300 miles, let alone 600. 
  14. Clint Bowyer – The latest saga in Bowyer losing when he had a strong car was a mechanical failure. NASCAR’s funny man had a wreck that was nothing to laugh about. But thankfully, he was his usual joking self in need of a beer. 
  15. Aric Almirola – When your race starts like Almirola’s race did, it’s impossible to drop in the rankings. But when you have only led six laps all season, it’s impossible to move up in the rankings too. 
  16. Kurt Busch – The other Busch finally was convincing enough to make it into the top 16. This was Kurt’s fourth top-10 finish of the season, which ties him for second along with his brother Kyle, Elliott, Keselowski and Hamlin. 

 

Do you have any complaints about the Power Rankings? Do you think another driver is more worthy of making the cut? Include your ranking in the comments section and your comment might make the article next week! 

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Dennis a.k.a. DMIC has been covering NASCAR racing since 1998. After spending 23 years as a professional weather forecaster, Dennis still didn't know what he wanted to be when he grew up, so he started covering auto racing full time. He is the moderator of the Race Track Business Conference - an all-day educational seminar covering the business of speed - and is the owner of DMIC Media & Marketing where he spends his time mouthing off about all kinds of sports. He is also the play-by-play voice for the professional Ultimate Disc team the Chicago Wildfire of the American Ultimate Disc League. Dennis can be heard every Saturday on The Final Inspection on 105.7FM The Fan in Milwaukee, Wis. talking NASCAR, and you can listen on the Radio.com app.

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One comment

  1. Avatar

    You don’t seriously think Elliott would have won if he stayed out. He came from 10th to third in 2 laps and everyone else on new tires did the same. Flying through the field . He would have ended up 5th or 6th if he was lucky