Race Weekend Central

Power Rankings: 4-Wide for the Win Edition

The folks at NASCAR got very lucky this weekend with an epic finish that was great enough to get the fans to forget that the first 390 miles were a snoozefest of clean air being king after restarts at Kentucky Speedway. The late, great Dan Gurney used to preach about the best racing coming with less downforce and more horsepower. What was true back in the 1960s and ’70s is still true today. But the NASCAR rule package ensures frequent restarts and an occasional great restart when it counts the most. The “Cold Custard” kid saved the day! 

  1. Kevin Harvick – The Top Dog is still the top dog at the Cup level, but he did have one less win than another Harvick last weekend (son Keelan won his first race). 
  2. Denny Hamlin – Hamlin slipped a spot in the standings with his 12th-place finish, but it will take more than one subpar outing at a track that was very track position dependent to change his status on the Power Rankings. He also remains as the best driver in Cup history to not win a Cup title. 
  3. Kurt Busch – I am a believer that for the 2020 season the Best Busch is the Older Busch! It’s still amazing that victory lane has been “Shrubless” this season. 
  4. Chase Elliott – There went a perfectly good theory on who would win the next Cup race. Now that the Si-reen in Dawsonville, Ga has been fixed; it’s only a matter of time before Chase sets it off, right? 
  5. Kyle Busch – Rowdy is winless in 2020 after 17 races! The three things you could count on were death, taxes and Kyle Busch irritating NASCAR fans with a bow after another Cup win. Now we are down to two! 
  6. Ryan Blaney – The kid was only a few caution flags away from being in a position to win last weekend. Team and driver will be strong on the big tracks moving forward. 
  7. Brad Keselowski – Bad Brad’s fans are wondering how a top-10 finish drops their guy two spots in the Power Rankings this week while he stays second in points. The easy answer is this is a forecast of the future, not the past. 
  8. Martin Truex Jr. – If it wasn’t for late restarts, Truex would have three or maybe four wins already this season. Unfortunately for the No. 19 team the timing of late cautions have not been kind to them. This is also a team that misses qualifying more than just about any other…. that’s if they can make it through pre-race technical inspection.  
  9. Alex Bowman – Just like an ultimatum was delivered to Aric Almirola in a past edition of Power Rankings that got Almirola’s season going, I am issuing a warning to Bowman the Showman this week. A few more bad performances, and you will be sliding down fast!
  10. Joey Logano – Things were better for Sliced Bread this week but only marginally. He failed to lead a lap while finishing 15th, and his eye glasses are still ugly. 
  11. Clint Bowyer – If NASCAR gave bonuses for “woulda, coulda and shoulda,” then Bowyer would be in the top five in points and the Power Rankings. How does he consistently manage to fade late in the race? 
  12. Tyler Reddick – The biggest rookie surprise since Stephen Leicht continues to amaze people. The difference is that Leicht won Rookie of the Year by default, finishing 41st in points. Reddick continues to impress, although one of the other rookies got the win last week. 
  13. Aric Almirola – While his streak of top-five finishes ended at an amazing five in a row, he did extend his top-10 streak to six. Power Rankings will take full credit for his sudden turnaround, and more top 10s will move him up into the top 10 here too. 
  14. William Byron – The most successful racer in NASCAR to start in iRacing, Byron had another decent effort on Sunday. Bad starting positions have hurt his efforts the last two weekends. 
  15. Cole Custer – Why isn’t Culvers sponsoring this kid? Finish in the top 10 and get a free small “Cole Custard” sundae. Win on Sunday, have sundaes on Monday? That four-wide pass for the lead could have equal folklore like the “Pass in the Grass That Wasn’t Really a Pass” if Custer goes on to win seven titles. 
  16. Bubba Wallace – It was a rough outing for Wallace last weekend, but he entered this season with four career top-10 finishes and has three top 10s this year. Track position has hurt this driver and team the last two weeks. 

About the author

Dennis a.k.a. DMIC has been covering NASCAR racing since 1998. After spending 23 years as a professional weather forecaster, Dennis still didn't know what he wanted to be when he grew up, so he started covering auto racing full time. He is the moderator of the Race Track Business Conference - an all-day educational seminar covering the business of speed - and is the owner of DMIC Media & Marketing where he spends his time mouthing off about all kinds of sports. He is also the play-by-play voice for the professional Ultimate Disc team the Chicago Wildfire of the American Ultimate Disc League. Dennis can be heard every Saturday on The Final Inspection on 105.7FM The Fan in Milwaukee, Wis. talking NASCAR, and you can listen on the Radio.com app.

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