After a wild and entertaining race, Brad Keselowski reigned supreme at Kansas to claim the victory in the Digital Ally 400. Now tying Kyle Busch for most wins this season, will Keselowski outduel Busch in the win column this year?
Kevin Harvick was on track to claim his first victory before a flat tire false alarm derailed his winning chances. Should there be cause for concern that Harvick hasn’t won a race yet despite his competitive performance?
Alex Bowman extended his consecutive runner-up streak to three at Kansas. With such amazing performances, is Bowman beginning to look like Chevrolet’s biggest championship contender?
A rare sight greeted Clint Bowyer at his home town track when Erik Jones knocked the smile right off his face. A win at this week’s Monster Energy All-Star Race can turn the frown upside down for Bowyer, but can he regain his competitiveness?
Questions await as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series stays home in Charlotte this week for the All-Star race. Only time will tell who gets to take home the one million American dollars plus a shiny trophy, but one thing is for sure — there is a cast of characters who will do anything to capture the dough. Despite the contagion of money, the drivers will have to wait a few more days before they get their opportunity. In the meantime, our illustrious squadron of Frontstretch experts took to their calculators, keyboards, thinking caps, crystal balls, and even Adam Cheek’s abacus to determine the 12 best drivers in NASCAR at the current moment. With that, here is Power Rankings Kansas…
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: Digital Ally 400 Edition
1. Brad Keselowski – 209 Points
First place votes: 8
Last week’s ranking: 6th (+5)
For the first time since Las Vegas (yes, that long ago), a driver with a name that starts with B and rhymes with “push” has not sat atop our Frontstrech weekly power rankings. That’s right, Brad Keselowski has dethroned the Candyman for the top spot of the podium for the first time in nine editions of power rankings. As the No. 2 driver himself noted, Keselowski has now crossed the 30 win threshold. Is there such thing as humbly tooting your own horn?
With everything going on, win #30 got lost in my mind. It’s a huge number to me personally & the sport. I try not to be a “stat guy” but If you look at the list of drivers that have 30+ wins. Wow
I feel blessed to have cars & a team even capable to do that it in the cup series. https://t.co/svLhT2NZbj
— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) May 13, 2019
“As I said last week, Keselowski is in 2012 title form. He’s proven me right because Carly Rae Jepsen released another song.” – Rob Tiongson, The Podium Finish
“Where did he come from?” – Jake Baskinger, Jake Baskinger on YouTube
2. Kyle Busch – 196 Points
First place votes: 10
Last week’s ranking: 1st (-1)
On paper, a 30th-place finish at one of his worst statistical tracks shouldn’t be surprising. However, this is Kyle Busch, the driver that is tied for the most wins this season, the most wins in the Gen 6 era, a win at every track on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Schedule, and tied Morgan Shepherd for the most consecutive top 10s to start a season. Despite the impressive resume, a finish outside the top 25 has relegated the Candyman to the number two spot for this week’s edition.
Yet he looks to win a lot of money in the All-Star race with his new colored paint scheme and firesuit, or as FOX Sport’s Matt Yocum suggests, some preppy yacht club kid apparel (thanks Urban Dictionary for that by the way).
Looks to me like Vinyard Vines designed the firesuit too…? https://t.co/ZOX5AxfrKZ
— Matt Yocum (@MattYocum) May 13, 2019
“Tied for eternity now in NASCAR record book with roller-skating legend Morgan Shepherd.” – Godwin Kelly, The Daytona Beach News Journal
“That was rude of NASCAR to make him drive through too many pit stalls like that.” – Michael Massie, Frontstretch
3. Kevin Harvick – 169 Points
Last week’s ranking: 5th (+2)
Who cares Harvick nearly won his first race of the season? The real story with Happy is that he is becoming cultured. Last week, the 2014 champion was facing a severe existential crisis after millennials took over his car. Yet, Harvick has started to learn that he can’t even. That’s a start.
For Harvick and this post-millennial, millennial lingo can be hard to comprehend, so please, give us time.
— Busch Beer (@BuschBeer) May 13, 2019
“Did someone double check to make sure to see if it was that black cat (or squirrel) again that once ran out in front of him that caused that unscheduled pit stop.” – Zach Gillispie, Frontstretch
4. Chase Elliott – 161 Points
Last week’s ranking: 4th (No Change)
Cue the Jaws music, the Chevrolets are coming back.
.@chaseelliott raced his way to a P4 finish to go along with another stage win.
The young driver from Dawsonville is getting it done this season. ? pic.twitter.com/4hUVJK0n0w
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) May 12, 2019
“Another top-five which is just as exciting as Elliott’s monotone voice.” – Tiongson
5. Joey Logano – 143 Points
First place votes: 1
Last week’s ranking: 2nd (-3)
Logano was notably absent from the leaderboard at Kansas. Despite his truancy, Logano crept his way into the points lead, which was largely overshadowed by several events including a 39-year-old getting punked by a 22-year-old, the near overhaul of a roller skating legend’s record, an “exhilarating” aero package, a showman, a piece of trash, Keselowski emulating Mr. Kevin “where did he come from” Harvick, and a watermelon farmer.
OK it’s fine the new points leader was overlooked.
— Joey Logano (@joeylogano) May 14, 2019
“It’s like the Team Penske drivers take turns on who has that good car. Except for Ryan Blaney, they don’t let him have a turn.” – Massie
6. Martin Truex Jr – 117 Points
Last week’s ranking: 3rd (-3)
This week’s party foul goes to Dale Earnhardt Jr who leaked Truex’s potential Darlington throwback scheme. Seriously Junior?
But shhh!!! This is just a rumor. You didn’t hear it from us.
— r/NASCAR on Reddit (@NASCARonReddit) May 14, 2019
“MTJ is having a Katy Perry-like season. And by that I mean, a hot and cold one.” – Tiongson
7. Alex Bowman – 104 Points
Last week’s ranking: Tied 9th (+2)
The following sentences each have something in common:
Walmart has a lower acceptance rate than Harvard.
Alex Bowman has three runner-up finishes in a row.
Hunting Unicorns is legal in Michigan.
These are all wildly surprising facts.
I’ve never wanted something so bad. Not going to lie, this one hurts. My team has worked like crazy though to get us to where we’re at, and I’m proud of what we’ve done. Going to keep after it to get that win we deserve ??
— Alex Bowman (@Alex_Bowman) May 12, 2019
8. Kurt Busch – 93 Points
Last week’s ranking: 8th (No Change)
Remember Corey Lajoie? Or, more specifically, his face?
You now have the chance too.
YOUR face? On @KurtBusch's car? ?
Global Poker returns at @kansasspeedway this weekend! This means another chance for YOU to submit your #GlobalPokerFace and enter be featured on the No. 1 @official_glp car this fall @MartinsvilleSwy. ? ♠️ ❤️ ☘️ pic.twitter.com/dtmcozjLwI
— Chip Ganassi Racing (@CGRTeams) May 8, 2019
“Technically, a record was broken. A Busch has finished in the top 10 in each of the first 12 races. It’s not the Busch brothers’ problem Morgan Shepherd didn’t have a brother to pick up the slack in the 12th race.” – Massie
9. Clint Bowyer – 83 Points
Last week’s ranking: Tied 9th (No Change)
You’ve probably already heard about Mr. and Mr. Jones. Enough of that. Here is this week’s episode of Clint Bowyer’s social media chronicles…
On this week’s edition of Clint Bowyer’s social media chronicles: Chase Elliott’s big truck, sleepless nights in Vegas, and a rat rod school bus.
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) May 13, 2019
“He didn’t like that block. Do I smell another spingate in the All-Star race?” – Baskinger
10. Denny Hamlin – 69 Points
Last week’s ranking: 7th (-3)
While Keselowski earned the title of “Mr. Where-Did-He-Come-From” this week, Hamlin might as well be “Mr. Where-Did-He-Go.”
— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) May 9, 2019
“I like his strategy: get all of the bad luck out of the way now.” – Massie
11. Erik Jones – 36 Points
Last week’s ranking: Not Ranked
That block was almost as good as Chuck Norris blocking bullets with his skull.
P3 for our @DEWALTtough team tonight. It was really up and down, but at the end of the day we had a good enough #Camry to win. Just weren’t able to get to the right spot. We ran out of time and ran out of getting the right runs and the right positions. Good day overall. pic.twitter.com/IMmplgMMC7
— Erik Jones (@Erik_Jones) May 12, 2019
“Did That Jones Boy rattle Bowyer’s cage?” – Kobe Lambeth, Kobelambeth.com
“Heard he was throwing one hell of a block party.” -Massie
12. Kyle Larson – 33 Points
Last week’s ranking: 12th (No Change)
Larson claims his performance at Kansas was decent. Yet, looking at his track record this season, his performance at Kansas was actually outstanding, phenomenal, astonishing, amazing, staggering, miraculous, unheard of, sensational, breathtaking, insane, astounding, incredible (where are you Kyle Petty), unparalleled, awesome, terrific, tremendous, super and any other synonym for pretty good.
— Kyle Larson (@KyleLarsonRacin) May 12, 2019
“I guess he needs to flip every weekend to actually do good. He should just think about entering more sprint car races just to flip.” – Baskinger
OTHER DRIVERS WHO RECEIVED VOTES
- Ryan Blaney: 14 Points
- “He must be thinking WHAT IS HAPPENING!!!” -Kelly
- Jimmie Johnson: 13
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr: 13
- “Solid run, the team seems to be improving.” -Rob Dutzar Jr, Rob’s NASCAR Blog
- Aric Almirola: 10
- Chris Buescher: 10
- William Byron: 2
- Tyler Reddick: 1
THIS WEEK’S VOTING PANEL
|Jake Baskinger||@jbaskinger41||Jake Baskinger on YouTube|
|Ed Coombs||@combsed||Speedway Media|
|Bryan Davis Keith||@bryandaviskeith||Frontstretch|
|Rob Dutzar Jr||@rob_dutzar||Rob’s NASCAR Blog|
|Eric Estepp||@ericestepp17||Out of the Groove|
|Darian Gilliam||@blackflagmatter||Black Flags Matter|
|Leon Hammack||@captainblowdri||Working on My Rednck|
|Ryan Holman||@realryanholman||Ryan Holman on YouTube|
|Godwin Kelly||@godwinkelly||The Daytona Beach News Journal|
|Tommy McCoart||@nascarman_rr||Racing Reference|
|Rob Tiongson||@robtiongson||The Podium Finish|
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.
About the author
He may be a full-time college student and only a part-time journalist, but Zach Gillispie’s passion for fast cars is undeniable. Since joining Frontstretch in 2018, the 21-year-old has served in a variety of roles. Currently, he pens the weekly NASCAR 101 column, which can be seen every Friday. Additionally, Zach is one of the site's news writers and helps with Fronstretch's social media pages on race day. In the rare moments when he is not studying or writing, you can find him traveling, making double bogeys on the golf course, or cheering on his beloved Atlanta Braves.