Was Kyle Busch’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win in 22 attempts at Martinsville Speedway enough to move the driver of the No. 18 M&M’S 75th Anniversary Toyota Camry to the top of Lionel Racing’s Power 10?
He was dominant for most of the STP 500’s 500 laps, leading 352 of them (the most a driver has led a NASCAR Sprint Cup race at the short track since Bobby Hamilton led 378 on April 20, 1998). After the final restart, which occurred with 11 laps to go after Jamie McMurray’s No. 1 Bad Boy Off Road/Beechcraft Chevrolet SS spun out in Turn 2 for the race’s eight caution, Busch held off a hard-charging AJ Allmendinger in the No. 47 Kroger/Butterfinger/Coffeemate Chevrolet SS in the waning laps.
If the race had gone into overtime, it is possible Allmendinger would have been the one celebrating in Victory Lane. Instead, Busch completes his fifth career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series/NASCAR Sprint Cup Series sweep after winning the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 the previous night. The sweep was the first NASCAR national series weekend sweep at Martinsville Speedway.
The win also virtually locked the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series into the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
To find out where drivers rank after the STP 500, read on for today’s Power 10 standings.
Let us know what you think of the rankings and what would be different in your top 10.
(Note: Only the 10 drivers receiving the highest average ranking are shown. The number of spots they’ve moved since last week are given in the parentheses.)
1. Kyle Busch (+2): A dominating win at a track that has confounded Busch for years can and should propel him into the No. 1 spot in Lionel Racing’s Power 10.
2. Kevin Harvick (–): When Harvick leads the standings and open the season with five top-10 finishes, a 17th-place performance shouldn’t affect his position.
3. Jimmie Johnson (-2): With two wins and a low-finish of 16th, it’s a little surprising Johnson isn’t higher than third.
4. Brad Keselowski (+6): With a fifth-place showing at Martinsville and a win at Las Vegas are just two of the many reasons Keselowski is this biggest climber.
5. Joey Logano (+1): Logano led 21 laps in the STP 500 before falling back to finish 11th, which is still a good finish and obviously good enough to move him up one spot.
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (+1): After a respectable showing at Martinsville Speedway that ended with a 14th-place finish, Earnhardt gained a spot in the rankings.
7. Carl Edwards (-3): With five top-seven finishes in the first six races, there’s no doubt he’d make the Power 10.
8. Austin Dillon (NR): It’s about time Dillon made the top 10; it’s only a matter of time before he takes the iconic No. 3 back to Victory Lane.
9. Matt Kenseth (NR): Kenseth is starting to put together the season everyone expected to him have before it started — a win shouldn’t be too far off.
10t: Kyle Larson (NR): Larson’s third-place finish at Martinsville was his first top five and second top 10 of 2016; there’s more of those types of finishes in store.
10t: AJ Allmendinger (NR): A second-place finish at Martinsville propelled the ‘Dinger into the Power 10 … and don’t be surprised if he starts climbing.