By: Pete Pistone – @PPistone | MRN.com on April 19, 2016 | 9:20 A.M. EST
Carl Edwards (19) has climbed to second in this week’s edition of Pete Pistone’s Power Rankings following his win Sunday at Bristol. (Photo: Getty Images)
Despite his Bristol challenges, Kyle Busch remains on top of this week’s Power Rankings.
1. Kyle Busch: It’s time for the NHL Playoffs, but Busch did not want to score the hat trick he pulled off at Bristol. Tire issues and contact with Chris Buescher added up to Busch’s streak coming to a halting stop on Sunday. He was credited with 38th place.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 108.6
Points Standing: 5th
Previous Ranking: 1st
2. Carl Edwards: He’s won two straight poles and turned the No. 1 starting spot at Bristol into a strong performance that saw him lead 276 laps, and score his first win of the season and fourth at the Tennessee half-mile.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 105.2
Points Standing: 2nd
Previous Ranking: 6th
3. Jimmie Johnson: Bristol has not been one of his strong suits and Sunday was the latest example as he wound up with a 23rd-place finish.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 105.9
Points Standing: 3rd
Previous Ranking: 2nd
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: His day was almost over before it started when his engine cut out at the drop of the green flag. After the No. 88 crew got the issue squared away, Earnhardt made his way to the front and knocked down an impressive second-place finish.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 95.3
Points Standing: 6th
Previous Ranking: 4th
5. Kevin Harvick: Started seventh and finished in the same spot on Sunday after running at the front of the pack for a good portion of the race. He faded at the end and settled for the top-10 effort.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 118.9
Points Standing: 1st
Previous Ranking: 3rd
6. Joey Logano: Had to fight for all he was worth to come home with a top-10 finish. Logano was surprisingly a non-factor at Bristol on the heels of his August night-race win there last summer.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 102.1
Points Standing: 4th
Previous Ranking: 6th
7. Kurt Busch: A solid drive by the Stewart-Haas Racing driver, who charged from a middle-of-the pack starting spot to come home third. Richmond International Raceway might be the place where Busch breaks into Victory Lane based on the way he runs at that track and his recent performances.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.6
Points Standing: 7th
Previous Ranking: 8th
8. Brad Keselowski: Hard times for the former Bristol winner on Sunday, when Keselowski was the victim of a tire problem after making contact on the racetrack. It took him from running at the front of the field to ending up a disappointing 18th.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.2
Points Standing: 8th
Previous Ranking: 7th
9. Chase Elliott: The rookie’s ascension continues to be one of the most interesting stories of 2016. Elliott followed his first career top-five finish the week prior at Texas with an even better performance when he came home fourth Sunday in Bristol.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 85.9
Points Standing: 12th
Previous Ranking: NR
10. Denny Hamlin: One of three Joe Gibbs Racing drivers that stumbled through a trying day at Bristol with a variety of mishaps including tire issues and encounters with the wall.
Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 88.2
Points Standing: 9th
Previous Ranking: 9th
Dropped Out: Austin Dillon