Race Weekend Central

The 12: NASCAR Power Rankings Gander RV 400 Edition

When most people think of the racing at Pocono, they think of a snooze fest or a boring afternoon where the cars run single-file after the first few laps of a restart.

But this past Sunday was not the Pocono we have seen for the past few years.

With the addition of the PJ1 surface and the threat of rain in the first half of the race, followed by fuel conservation in the second half, the racing was two and three wide for multiple laps. When it was all said and done, it was Denny Hamlin in victory lane, earning his fifth victory at Pocono and his third this year.

Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch both had solid cars (Harvick’s more gnarly than Busch’s) but both played a different fuel strategy at the end and had to settle for top ten’s on Sunday afternoon.

How did all of this impact this week’s power rankings? Find out below.

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: Gander RV 400 Edition

1. Kyle Busch — 105 Points

First-place votes: 6

Last week’s ranking: 1st (-)

For Busch, it looked like he had the dominate car in the early stages, but like last week, he faded and went with the wrong strategy, having to ultimately settle for a ninth-place run.

“Not the strongest day in Pocono, but could have been another win without his pit strategy going awry. C’est la vie.” – Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Beat


2. Denny Hamlin— 93 Points

First-place votes: 2

Last week’s ranking: 4th (+2)

For Hamlin, the tech Gods delivered. After finishing second to Harvick last week, Hamlin went one spot further and won in Pocono for his third win of the season and the fifth at Pocono. Whatever Hamlin did this year that he didn’t do last year, he probably should continue, because 2019 has been a resurgence for Hamlin and the No. 11 team.

“He’s been overshadowed a bit by teammatez Busch and Truex, but Hamlin is quietly delivering a strong season for Joe Gibbs Racing. Sunday’s win was his third-consecutive top five, making it the second time he’s managed three or more in succession this season. ” –Bearden

3. Martin Truex Jr.81 Points

First-place votes: 2

Last week’s ranking: 5th (+2)

It was a solid day for Truex as he completed a one-two-three finish for Joe Gibbs Racing. If the caution would not have come out for the No. 53, would Truex have been able to save enough fuel to steal the victory? We will never know.

4. Joey Logano — 75 Points

First-place votes: 1

Last week’s ranking: 2nd (-2)

It was a relatively quiet day for Logano. He wasn’t completely out of contention but also wasn’t one of the front runners that was contending for the win the entire race. When it was all said and done, he ended up in the 13th position.

5. Kevin Harvick— 70 Points

First-place votes: 0

Last week’s ranking: 3rd (-2)

Early in the weekend, it looked like Harvick was going to have a gnarly weekend. With Gen X all over his car, he was up in the front for most of the day. But like Busch, the wrong pit strategy cost him some track position and he was unable to make up the time.

“Claimed the pole, led some laps, finished sixth. A typical, gnarly day for the Gen X car.” –Bearden

6. Brad Keselowski — 65 Points

First-place votes: 0

Last week’s ranking: 5th (-1)

Like teammate Logano, Keselowski had a solid run but didn’t have the speed for the leaders at the very front to challenge for the win. He did earn eight stage points that will help him for the time being. Decent weekend for the No. 2 team.

However, like the rest of us, we too, were intrigued by the caution that wrapped up the field.

7. Erik Jones 49 Points

First-place votes: 0

Last week’s ranking: 9th (+2)

While he was trying to track down his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate for his first win of the season, Jones simply ran out of time and had to settle for second.

On the bright side? He has a 39-point cushion over the final playoff spot which is currently held by Clint Bowyer.

8. Kurt Busch– 36 Points

First-place votes: 0

Last week’s ranking: 7th (-1)

It was a rough day for Busch as he was mired back in the field most of the day, then got turned by Ricky Stenhouse Jr after the caution that bunched up the field. The drama didn’t stop though, as Busch took to Twitter to share his thoughts on Stenhouse.

9. Ryan Blaney— 23 Points

First-place votes: 0

Last week’s ranking: 8th (-1)

It has been a productive few weeks for Blaney as he notched another top ten for his group and for Team Penske. Even though he doesn’t have any wins on the season, his time will come sooner, rather than later.

10. William Byron— 22 Points

First-place votes: 0

Last week’s ranking: UR (UR)

Like Blaney, it was a solid day for Byron. Even though he had to come from the back of the field after failing pre-race inspection, he marched his way up and scored a fourth-place finish. Second best finish for Byron of the year and his career to date.

11. Kyle Larson— 20 Points

First-place votes: 0

Last week’s ranking: UR (UR)

It has been a rough couple of weeks for Larson. For the second straight week, the No. 42 team had to turn to their backup car as Larson wrecked their primary in practice. However, the frustration disappeared after a yellow for the No. 53. Larson was able to take advantage of the ensuing restart and rallied to score a top five.

Solid day and effort for the No. 42 team.

12. Aric Almirola— 19 Points

First-place votes: 0

Last week’s ranking: 12th (-)

It was a non-eventful day for the No. 10 group of Almirola as he didn’t have the best car, but he did the best he could with what he had. He got eight stage points and ended up finishing 12th.



Name Twitter Organization
Aaron Bearden @aaronbearden93 Motorsports Beat
Bryan Davis Keith @bryandaviskeith Frontstretch
Rob Dutzar Jr @rob_dutzar Rob’s NASCAR Blog
Darian Gilliam @blackflagmatter Black Flags Matter
Godwin Kelly @godwinkelly The Daytona Beach News Journal
Mark Kristl @markkristl FrontStretch.com
Kobe Lambeth @kobelambeth Kobelambeth.com
Trey Normile
Joy Tomlinson @jt_giantsfan Frontstretch

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

 | Website

Bryan Nolen is the Podcast Manager for Frontstretch.com. He also hosts the Frontstretch Podcast with Bryan Nolen and occasionally makes appearances on The Happy Hour Podcast. He has a Sportscasting degree from the Dan Patrick School of Sportscasting. He resides in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two rabbits.

Follow him on Twitter @TheBryanNolen

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