Race Weekend Central

Power Rankings: Twice as Much What Edition

The old joke about Pocono Raceway was easy to make, “Why are the races just six weeks apart? So once you clear traffic and make it onto the interstate, you can turn around and head back for the second race!”

Thankfully due to great management improvements and coordination between the track and local police over the years, that problem went away. But the problem of sometimes average-to-below-average racing remained. Attending a race at Pocono was always so much more entertaining and fun than watching on television. Maybe it was the threat of shorter races, rain and/or darkness, but the racing at Pocono this weekend was fairly good for a change. 

  1. Kevin Harvick – The guy they call “Happy” might want to change his nickname to “Ecstatically Happy” with the way the 2020 season is going. Maybe having no practice and qualifying gives his crew the incentive not to make mistakes.
  2. Denny Hamlin – This has been an impressive season for Hamlin too. Although until he can win the “Big One” at the end of the season, he has now replaced Mark Martin as the response when you say, “Hey Alexa, who is the best NASCAR driver never to win a NASCAR Cup Series title in his career?” 
  3. Ryan Blaney – It continues to be strong race after strong race for Blaney even though he only has one win and has only finished in the top 10 in a little under half of the races. All seven of those top 10s have actually been top-five finishes, but he has been in contention for the win much more frequently all year. 
  4. Kyle Busch – Can someone explain to me how we are now 15 races into the season and the winningest driver in the history of NASCAR’s top three national touring series has yet to win in Cup? The lack of being a closer is why Busch drops two spots this week. 
  5. Chase Elliott – Is he waiting for the famous si-reen at the Dawsonville Pool Hall to get fixed before he wins again? In other news, how is this kid just in his age 24 season when he seems like he has been a fixture in Cup for so long already? 
  6. Brad Keselowski – Despite having more top-10 finishes and one more win than his teammate, when I asked, “Hey Alexa, who is the best driver at Team Penske?” I was told it was Josef Newgarden. When I got more specific, Bad Brad’s name still did not come up. 
  7. Alex Bowman – The inconsistency of Bowman the Showman has me searching for a new nickname for him on the not so great races. The doubleheader at Pocono was a perfect example of his season to this point, with one good and one bad finish. 
  8. Martin Truex Jr. – Just as I asked an age question for Elliott, I will ask one about Truex, “How can this guy who I covered as a young whippersnapper, including the final win in the history of Nazareth Speedway, possibly be in his age 40 season?” Maybe the answer is that I am getting old. Nazareth is gone, Chance 2 Motorsports is gone and so is the name “Busch Series” for many years. 
  9. Kurt Busch – Since I have already shown my age with my comment about that historic win at Nazareth by Martin above, I might as well double down here. Cue the Monkees hit song “I’m a Believer.” When it comes to Kurt Busch this guy is in championship form! (All of you youngins can Google “Monkees” for a good laugh) 
  10. William Byron – Either I was distracted this weekend or Mike Joy made it through 675 miles of broadcasting at Pocono without reminding us that Byron got his start in iRacing. I’m going to bet on being distracted by my wife, cat or the timer for my pizza!
  11. Joey Logano – It is time for Sliced Bread to change glasses! That is not a tough enough look, and clearly the lenses might need a prescription tweak as well based on his four poor finishes in a row and his ability to perpetually find trouble this year. 
  12. Clint Bowyer – NASCAR’s funniest man is also having a pretty good record on the track this season as well as on the microphone. Trust me on this one, if and when they let fans back to the tracks in larger numbers, tune into Bowyer’s radio for a real treat and maybe a victory celebration soon. 
  13. Tyler Reddick – It ended up being a rough weekend in the results department for the best Rookie in NASCAR this season, but it wasn’t of his doing. Once again he managed to race his way into contention with less car than other drivers this season, which shows he is the real deal!
  14. Jimmie Johnson – Earlier this year I was ready to campaign for one more real season for seven-time so he could have a nice victory lap of a season in front of the fans at every track. But suddenly the performances have reverted back to last season’s quality. It is sad to say this might be a good decision to call it a career. 
  15. Aric Almirola – Apparently the threat to drop Almirola out of the Power Rankings altogether has turned his season around! Four top-five finishes in a row and a contender to win each of the last four races, too. 
  16. Matt Kenseth – The old-timer coming back to help out has become the new “Bubble Boy” for the Power Rankings this week. While he did come close this week twice, Kenseth hasn’t finished in the top 10 since his maiden race of the 2020 season at Darlington Raceway. 

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