Race Weekend Central

The 10: Slippin’ & Slidin’ on a Wild Kentucky Night

Saturday’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway could best be described as a war of attrition.

From an unpredictable racing surface to a trial run with the low-low downforce package, there we more variable for teams to account for than at any race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tour. Throw in a hard compound tire from Goodyear and a crash fest-turned-fuel-mileage race, and teams were thrown more curveballs than the MLB’s best hitters.

At the end of the night, Brad Keselowski reigned supreme, stretching his fuel to the last moment and holding off Carl Edwards for the victory. However, in a race defined as much by the drivers that crashed out as it was by the ones that finished on top, figuring out who deserved a jump up or down the rankings was nearly as challenging as driving through that flat turn 3.

Thankfully, that’s what our experts are here for.

POWER RANKINGS: Quaker State 400 Edition


(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Insists he doesn’t have the fastest car, but it sure knows its way to Victory Lane.” – Jim Utter, Motorsport 
 “2 WINS IN A ROW FOR THE 2 CAR. HE’S 2 LEGIT 2 QUIT.” – @AnnoyingRaceFan


(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“This dude is apparently The Closer.  However, he can’t close; hasn’t really been able to do it much of this season. Can we give him a new nickname, please?” – Phil Allaway, Frontstretch
“Before Saturday, he had never led a lap at Kentucky in Sprint Cup.  He led the most last weekend, but not the last. Story of his season.” – Bryan Gable, Frontstretch

3.  KURT BUSCH (83 POINTS, +2)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Made shinola out of that other substance with race-saving fuel strategy.” – Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service

“Busch is still racking up some great finishes despite being in the shadow of his little brother. I think he likes it that way.” – Pete McCole, AutoRacing1


(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“If it had been the Quaker State 402, he probably would have been the one in victory lane.” – Gable

“Others in the Joe Gibbs Racing camp, like Kyle Busch for instance, have been more dominant during races. But with 12 top-10 finishes, Edwards leads all JGR drivers in terms of consistency.” – Tom Bowles, Frontstretch

5.  KYLE BUSCH (60 POINTS, -1)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“It’s funny how he goes from kicking everyone’s butt in the XFINITY Series and then can barely crack a smile on TV when he finishes 12th in the Cup race.” – McCole

“Won as an owner on Thursday. Won as a driver on Friday. Saturday? Well, I guess it’s all right for fighting if nothing else.” – Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch

6.   JOEY LOGANO (51 POINTS, -6)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“No “shark” attacks on him this week, but still a rough race and a hard hit.” – Gable


7.   MARTIN TRUEX, JR. (36 POINTS, +1)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Surprised he has a foot left to mash the gas, as many times as he and the No. 78 team have shot it.” – Spencer
“It darn near would have been the story of the season had Truex made it to the end of the race on fuel.  He could have won from in the 20s at the final restart.” – Allaway


(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)

“That synchronized spin with Ryan Blaney did nothing for Awesome Chase from the Same Place in the points standings, but the two might consider Olympic diving if they can match their timing up a bit better.” – Bearden


(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“With a 30-plus-point lead over 31st place in points, Stewart can safely begin planning for the Chase.” – Utter
 “His first, and last, top 5 at Kentucky.  Not a bad result for start No. 600.” – Gable

10. TREVOR BAYNE (21 POINTS, Prev. Unranked)

(Photo: NASCAR)
(Photo: NASCAR)
“Compared to last year, it looks like the Bayne Train is on the right track in 2016.” – Gable
“Remember that aggressive showing in the All-Star Race? That’ll be looked back on as a turning point if the 2011 Daytona 500 champion makes the Chase. ” – Bearden


One driver moved up after his first top 5 of the season. The other stayed the same after yet another poor showing. Neither were good enough to crack the top 10. C’est la vie.

Jimmie Johnson (18 Points) – “Ouch – 32nd or worse in three of his last five races.” – Utter

Ryan Newman (15 Points) – Newman’s finally putting up some good results.  He needs it; remember, he’s racing for his next contract since we know dang well he won’t be in the No. 31, even if he wins the championship.” – Allaway

Others receiving votes: Matt Kenseth (12), Denny Hamlin (9), Austin Dillon (5), Greg Biffle (4), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (3), Jeffrey Earnhardt (1).


Dustin Albino@DustinAlbino
Phil Allaway@Critic84
Aaron Bearden@AaronBearden93
Summer Bedgood@SummerBedgood
Tom Bowles@NASCARBowles
Greg Davis@GregMDavis
Sean Fesko@TheWriterSean
Michael Finley@FinleyFactor
Bryan GableN/A
Tony Lumbis@TonyLumbis
Toni Montgomery@ToniLMontgomery
Kevin Rutherford@surfwax83
Jason Schultz@NASCARJason
Joseph Wolkin@JosephNASCAR
AnnoyingRaceFan @AnnoyingRaceFan I’M @annoyingracefan ON TWITTER (AND INSTAGRAM). PEOPLE CALL ME ARF. I’M A RELATIVE NOBODY.
Brian Eberly@beberly18Writer, Rubbings Racing, Motor Racing Digest
Mike Hembree@MikeHembreeWriter, USA Today
Ben Hinc@lemonlovrOwner, The Apex
Jerry Jordan@kicknthetiresOwner, Kicknthetires.Net
Pete McCole@PeteMcColeNASCAR Writer, AutoRacing1.com
The Orange Cone@TheOrangeConeI am an orange traffic cone.
Kyle Pokrefky@KPokrefkyWriter, The Fourth Turn
Reid Spencer@Reid_SpencerLead Writer, NASCAR Wire Service
Doug Turnbull@DougTurnbullAnnouncer, PRN Live, Atlanta Motor Speedway
Jim Utter@jim_utterNASCAR Editor, Motorsport.com

How they’re made: Following the conclusion of each NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, members of a voting panel, including Frontstretch writers, members of accredited media including Motorsport, NASCAR and USA Today, as well as writers from other sites and social media favorites, submit their top 10 drivers for the Power Rankings. The drivers are then given points based off their position, with first place getting 10 points, and each subsequent driver getting one fewer point until the 10th-place driver, who gets a lone point. Points are then tallied, and the rankings are created.

Do you agree with our rankings? Think someone got snubbed, or that one of the top drivers is overrated? Let us know in the comments, and tell others what your top 10 would be. 

About the author

A graduate of Ball State, Aaron rejoins Frontstretch for his second season in 2016 following a successful year that included covering seven races and starting the popular "Two-Headed Monster" column in 2015. Now in his third year of covering motorsports, Aaron serves as an Assistant Editor for Frontstretch while also contributing to other popular sites including Speed51 and The Apex. He encourages you to come say hi when you see him at the track.

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