Race Weekend Central

The 12: NASCAR Power Rankings Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race Edition

Much to the exasperation of many fans packed into Bristol Motor Speedway last weekend, Denny Hamlin overcame several problems to claim his fourth victory of the season. Is Hamlin potentially the hottest driver going into the playoffs?

Chase Elliott has been relatively quiet since his big win at Watkins Glen. Another quiet top five at Bristol may have Elliott lurking in the weeds. Should Dawsonville, Georgia’s beloved son be considered as an unassuming threat?

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick encountered a rare mechanical failure at the Last Great Colosseum. With Harvick’s Bristol problems and SHR’s recent skid, can anything positive be salvaged for the four-car team before the playoffs begin?

Mr. Rocky Balboa himself, Matt DiBenedetto may have been the most popular man in Eastern Tennessee after a thrilling duel between the “Rocky” and Hamlin. Leaving his performance and uncertain future on the table, is “Matty D.” a true winning driver in the eyes of team owners for years to come?

Power Rankings: Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race Edition

1. Denny Hamlin – 126 Points

First place votes: 7

Last week’s ranking: 4th (+3)

We have a new sheriff in town and his name is Hamlin. After a winless 2018 season, the Virginian has taken NASCAR by storm this summer and has now climbed to the top pedestal of our power rankings, dethroning the longtime number one man Kyle Busch. Thanks to his Bristol victory, Hamlin sits tied for the most wins collected this season. Are we seeing shades of 2010?

2. Kyle Busch – 118 Points

First place votes: 3

Last week’s ranking: 1st (-1)

As mentioned previously, Hamlin sits tied for the most wins this season. But who is he tied with? He doesn’t have to look far, because fellow Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr have four green win stickers too. There might just be an apparent power struggle at the top of the JGR totem pole, and surprisingly, Busch is the driver who has had the worst summer statistically amongst the three. Competition is good but is Busch’s “skid” going to continue?

3. Martin Truex Jr – 96 Points

Last week’s ranking: 3rd (No Change)

The third driver in the trio of the JGR strongmen is Truex, whose name of the game as of late has been consistency. After a flat tire slowed his Bristol charge, Truex mustered up a solid top 15 in his sponsor’s race. Not bad.

4. Brad Keselowski 84 Points

Last week’s ranking: 6th (+2)

DiBenedetto’s emotional front page drive may not have been if Keselowski hadn’t received late-race contact from Paul Menard. Keselowski cited this contact as the reason he couldn’t run down DiBenedetto and retake the top position in the late going due to the subsequent swing in handling. Seriously Paul.

5. Chase Elliott – 76 Points

Last week’s ranking: 7th (+2)

Cue the jaws music.

6. Kevin Harvick – 74 Points

Last week’s ranking: 2nd (-4)

To quote NASCAR on NBC personality Rick Allen, “Bristol Motor Speedway certainly has not gotten the memo that it is 2019 and the parts failures don’t happen anymore.” Well, Harvick may have gotten the short end of the stick after his clutch failure on lap 244, which resulted in Harvick’s second career last-place finish. (Thanks Brock Beard and LASTCAR for that nugget)

7. Kurt Busch 61 Points

Last week’s ranking: 8th (+1)

Over a fourth of the Bristol field led at least one lap. At the bottom of that list was ninth-place finisher and defending winner Kurt Busch, who managed to pace the field for nine laps. However, one of his nine circuits out front netted him a stage two victory.

8. Joey Logano 59 Points

Last week’s ranking: 5th (-3)

Was Logano even competing at Bristol? He was nowhere to be found.

9. Matt DiBenedetto – 44 Points

Last week’s ranking: Not Ranked

“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward.” ~Rocky


10. Kyle Larson 42 Points

Last week’s ranking: 11th (+1)


11. Ryan Blaney 29 Points

Last week’s ranking: 9th (-2)

Blaney welcomed new sponsor Dent Wizard at Bristol, which turned out to be very fitting, considering the condition of his 10th-place finishing Ford at Bristol. According to Blaney, it’s a great product.

12. Erik Jones 15 Points

Last week’s ranking: 12th (No Change)

Once again, if Jones hadn’t of smacked the wall, where would Matty D be?



Name Twitter Organization
Jake Baskinger @jbaskinger41 Jake Baskinger on YouTube
Adam Cheek @adamncheek Frontstretch
Bryan Davis Keith @bryandaviskeith Frontstretch
Rob Dutzar Jr @rob_dutzar Rob’s NASCAR Blog
Darian Gilliam @blackflagmatter Black Flags Matter
Zach Gillispie @gillispie_zach Frontstretch
Dan Greene @librarymonk Frontstretch
Godwin Kelly @godwinkelly The Daytona Beach News Journal
Mark Kristl @markkristl Frontstretch
Kobe Lambeth @kobelambeth Kobelambeth.com
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

The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.

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