Power Rankings: Toyota Owners’ 400 From Richmond


Power Rankings heading into Richmond.  Photo credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

This week’s edition of the Power Rankings finds many of the consistent top-10 drivers this season scratching their heads after Bristol wondering what happened.  To that end, I’ll have a mix of opinions this week — some drivers will disappear for a while because they know better than to do what they did while others will still be rewarded for some consistency in recent weeks.

Dropping off the list this week:  11, 48

New to the list this week:  42, 43

Also, I’m imposing two P6 penalties this week to Jimmie Johnson for his reckless driving which took out four good cars and Kasey Kahne for his hypocritical and asinine comments about Tony Stewart.  Both drivers are suspended from the list for this week.  See ‘ya next week, boys… maybe.

Honorable Mentions

HM. (Last Week: NR) – In a run that is sure to be a morale-booster for the three-time champion, Stewart kept the car clean all day/night and was nothing if not consistent.  More improvement is still needed, but this is a start.. No. 14. Stewart-Haas Racing. TONY STEWART

HM. (Last Week: NR) – After attempting to give himself a Bristol stripe early in the race and falling back to 38<sup>th</sup>-place, Ricky soldiered all the way back to a 4th-place finish.  Danica was so proud of her boyfriend that she drove the F-150 to Waffle House and then home after the race.. No. 17. Roush Fenway Racing. RICKY STENHOUSE, JR.

Power Rankings

Richard Petty Motorsports. ARIC ALMIROLA. #10. (Last Week: NR) – According to the radio commercials, I’m supposed to visit my local grocery and tell them that The King sent me in for some Smithfield bacon.  The King must have told Almirola to have yet another solid finish as well. . No. 43

#9. (Last Week: NR) – Larson certainly benefitted from the attrition of others, but nonetheless he put himself in a position to secure a 7<sup>th</sup>-place finish.  Landon Cassill might have a different opinion… he was the football that Larson felt a need to punt late in the race.. No. 42. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. KYLE LARSON

#8. (Last Week: 3) – If Junior was playing Jeopardy, the category would be pit stops for $1000.  The answer would be five.  The question:  What is the correct number of lug nuts that should be tightened during a pit stop. . No. 88. Hendrick Motorsports. DALE EARNHARDT, JR.

MARTIN TRUEX, JR.. #7. (Last Week: 7) – A cut left front tire forced an inopportune green flag pit stop from which they never recovered, and this unfortunately brought an end to his streak of finishing all of this year’s races in the top ten.  Don’t expect this new streak to continue, however.. No. 78. Furniture Row Racing

#6. (Last Week: NR) – A 15<sup>th</sup>-place finish isn’t bad considering that he got involved with the 48 early, had a tire get away from the crew during a pit stop which led to the penalty and then had nowhere to go when Edwards tried his video game move from Kansas again late in the race.. No. 41. Stewart-Haas Racing. KURT BUSCH

Joe Gibbs Racing. CARL EDWARDS. #5. (Last Week: 10) – His finish, while his own fault for another ill-fated banzai move to try to get under Jeff Gordon late did not reflect his overall run on Sunday.  If he wants to take himself out; fine, but I’m sure others are getting tired of it.. No. 19

#4. (Last Week: 6) –.He must have been fussing with his iPod early to cue up Paul Simon’s 1975 release, Slip Slidin’ Away. That’s what he did on lap 19 yesterday which also collected teammate Joey Logano and with it, Team Penske’s hopes.  . No. 2. Team Penske. BRAD KESELOWSKI

#3. (Last Week:4) – Sliced bread quickly became burnt toast.   . No. 22. Team Penske. JOEY LOGANO

Hendrick Motorsports. JEFF GORDON. #2. (Last Week: 5) – A third-place finish when others from last week’s Top 10 faltered gives reason to move him up a couple of spots this week.  His experience helped him know that Bristol typically rewards those who get to the end relatively unscathed.. No. 24

#1. (Last Week: 1) – Another potential winner yesterday who was looking for the 48 after the race.  He can’t be held responsible for Johnson’s stupidity.  His race up until that point gave no reason to believe this team has slipped at all.. No.4. Stewart-Haas Racing. KEVIN HARVICK

What do you think?  Did your driver make the list?  Who would you have included?  Excluded?  Discuss below!

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