The story of the weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway was Mother Nature and how she dominated most of the weekend.
When the cars were able to actually get on the race track, however, it was Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’s 75th Anniversary Toyota Camry, who dominated most of the race. Unfortunately for the Las Vegas native, he got caught up in a four-car accident in Turn 2 of Lap 359. The wreck ended his day and he finished 39th.
While Busch controlled most of the first half of the race, Kevin Harvick, driving the No. 4 Busch Beer Chevrolet SS, paced the field for a majority of the second half of the race. Harvick pulled away from Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the event’s waning laps to win by 1.933 seconds.
It was Harvick’s second win of 2016 and his second win at Bristol. The win also moved him back into the top spot in the points standings, taking the spot from Brad Keselowski, who finished 33rd.
Harvick led 128 laps, while Busch paced the field for 256 trips around the short track. Joey Logano (38 laps), Carl Edwards (31), Denny Hamlin (19), Chase Elliott (14), Ryan Newman (nine) and Brian Scott (five) all took turns leading the race.
Stenhouse finished second for only the second time in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career. His previous runner-up finish also came at Bristol.
Hamlin, Austin Dillon, Buescher, Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Jamie McMurray, AJ Allmendinger and Logano rounded out the top 10.
Jeff Gordon, who came out of retirement to fill in for the injured Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet, finished with a solid 11th-place showing.
Did Harvick’s win move him back into the top position in the Power 10? Did Busch’s 39th-place finish drop him from his second spot in the previous rankings? Were there any newcomers to the rankings?
These questions and more will be answered in this week’s edition of Lionel Racing’s Power 10.
(Note: Only the 10 drivers receiving the highest average rankings are shown. The number of spots they’ve moved since the previous Power 10 are shown in the parentheses.)
1. Kevin Harvick (+1): Kevin has performed well all season. We knew it was only a matter of time before he’d get his second win of 2016.
2. Kyle Busch (–): Although Kyle finished 39th, his dominance in the first half of the race was enough to keep him second here.
3. Brad Keselowski (-2): Brad suffered at Bristol more than any other driver, dropping to second in the standings and to third here.
4. Carl Edwards (+1): After starting on the pole, Carl didn’t actually lead a lap at Bristol until Lap 161. Regardless, he still finished strong.
5. Denny Hamlin (–): Denny stands pat in the fifth position, after finishing third. This feels like a good spot for him.
6. Joey Logano (+1): Joey was involved in two accidents that brought out yellow flags, but he still managed to leave Bristol with a top 10.
7t. Kurt Busch (-3): Apparently the accident Kurt got caught up in did more damage to his position here than his brother’s accident.
7t. Martin Truex Jr. (+3): Martin ran in the top 10 for the first 350 laps of the race, but he had fallen to 23rd by the end of the race.
9. Matt Kenseth (–): Matt’s disappointing 37th finish ties his worst finish of 2016, but he still manages to hang on to a spot here.
10. Chase Elliott (NR): After a 15th-place finish at Bristol, Chase returns to the Power 10, replacing Tony Stewart.