August 25, 2015

Magic Mile Power Rankings: Bristol

Next Up: Bojangles' Southern 500

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For the 10th time this season, Kevin Harvick has been relegated to second place. Not a bad stat for the defending Sprint Cup Series champion, but what might get under his skin a bit is that for the second time this year, the car in front of him was the No. 22 of Joey Logano.

Logano's win at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday night was his third of the season and second in three weeks. Logano took over toward the later stages of the race and never looked back for his second career win at the half-mile Colosseum, having won the August race there last year, too.

It will likely be Logano and Harvick battling it out at the end of the season once again this year, but it will hardly be a two-horse race for the title with so many quality drivers having won races this season. But, with that said, who's the hottest right now? Did Logano climb into the top spot or has Matt Kenseth done enough over the last five weeks to put a blown-engine finish behind him and into the rearview mirror?

Here's a look at the rankings heading into the 25th race of the season on Sept. 6 at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, S.C.:

August 20, 2015

Bristol: Three To Watch

Irwin Tools Night Race Preview

Matt Kenseth picked up his first of three 2015 wins
at Bristol Motor Speedway in April. (Getty)
When NASCAR fans sit down in the cold of winter and try to look forward to warmer days with faster cars, The Night Race is one of the first that gets circled on the schedule (after New Hampshire Motor Speedway, of course).  Situated each year in the late August, it's not just a night race, it's The Night Race.  The Bristol Motor Speedway event always proves to be one of the most exciting of the year with plenty of twisted bumpers and bent feelings.

Here's a look at three drivers that may or may not finish the race with both:

Green Flag - Matt Kenseth

He has three top-threes in the last four races at Bristol, including two wins.  Plus, he's won two of the last three races currently, and his third win on the season came at Bristol in April.  Bad luck at BMS can ruin even the best car's day, but Kenseth is the closest thing to a lock right now.

August 13, 2015

Michigan: Three To Watch

Pure Michigan 400 Race Preview

A rainy ending in June helped Kurt Busch
pick up his third win at Michigan. (Getty)
With the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series field having passed through Watkins Glen, the wild card tracks are more or less off the schedule.  The opportunity for an underdog to sneak a Chase berth has passed.  There are four races left before the Chase and if anyone not currently in contention is going to make the postseason, it will need to come via a strong performance in a fast car, not the luck of a restrictor plate track and not the tactility of a road course.

That holds especially true this weekend at Michigan International Speedway, as the two-mile oval is one of the fastest tracks on the schedule.  Here's a look at three drivers to keep an eye on in this race:

Green Flag - Kevin Harvick

He dominated at this track in June, starting second and leading 63 laps, but pit road trouble immediately before a race-ending red flag for rain cost him dearly.  That finish broke up an impressive streak of four consecutive second-place finishes at Michigan.

August 10, 2015

Magic Mile Power Rankings: The Glen

Next Up: Pure Michigan 400 at
Michigan International Speedway

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One week prior at Pocono Raceway, it was Joey Logano running out of fuel late in the race. This week, at Watkins Glen, Logano was more fortunate, passing the fuel-drained Kevin Harvick heading into the final turn to win at the 2.5-mile road course.

It was the first career win for Logano at Watkins Glen, having never finished better than fifth in six previous starts there. It's the second win of the season overall for the 22 and his first since taking the season-opening Daytona 500 back in February.

While it's been a while since Logano has visited victory lane, Sunday's victory marked his fourth top-five in his last five starts and his seventh top-five finish in his last nine starts. Maybe the only driver hotter than Logano right now is the guy who finished second behind him, Kyle Busch. But was the win at The Glen enough to put Logano ahead of Busch in the MMPR?

Here's a look at the rankings heading into the 23rd race of the season at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich:

August 6, 2015

Magic Mile Power Rankings: Pocono

Next Up: Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen

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Well, that was interesting. Pocono Raceway, long known as a race that lacks excitement, stepped up in a big way on Sunday afternoon. Driver after driver fell as fuel mileage became a serious issue for everyone running up front ... except Matt Kenseth.

A top-10 car for much of the day, Kenseth picked up his second win of the season, taking the checkers after the likes of Joey Logano and Kyle Busch watched the open track in front of them disappear thanks to an empty gas tank.

It was hardly a lucky win for Kenseth, though, who has been running better over the last four weeks and now might be primed for a push to his third championship. That said, was his win enough to push him up to the point in the Magic Mile Power Rankings this week or has Rowdy Busch done enough in the last five weeks to stay out front? 

Here's a look at the MMPR heading into the 22nd race of the season at Watkins Glen International on Sunday in upstate New York: