Power Rankings Phoenix
Phoenix was a battle of attrition for a majority of drivers. Before Lap 1 was even completed, half the field was wadded up like an old time game of Rush Hour. This took out some contenders for the Power Rankings, as they had no opportunity to show their talents at the season's first short track. But all is fair in love and race cars, and while these drivers took a hit, others cemented themselves on the list.
1. Lawson Peel - No Change
Peel spent part of the week leading up to Phoenix trying to convince everyone he wasn't good here. Breaking news. He is a liar. A solid P2 performance is enough for him to hold on to the top spot this week, and do so very easily.
2. Eric Schaffer - No Change
Ol' Schaff kept his Top 5 streak alive this week, avoiding his worst finish of the season by 1 spot, finishing in 4th. There really is no reason to even consider moving Eric off of his P2 spot, because other than his teammate Peel, he has been Mr. Consistent
3. Luke Knupp - Last Week: 6
After mixed results in the Duels and missing Auto Club, Knupp left us all in anticipation of what he could accomplish. He immediately made his return with a bang, claiming victory in Nashville. And if it wasn't for a late race spin, Luke looked poised to be on his way to his second victory of the young season. He made a valiant effort to climb back through the field, but ran out of time, finishing in 5th.
4. Brandon Banks - Last Week: 3
Brandon Banks had close view in his mirror of the Lap 1 carnage. After that, he managed to stay just in front of the trouble all day. A mid race incident with Ryan Pandiscio put him further back than he had been running, but he still managed to hold on to a top 10 finish.
5. Jayden Porter - Last Week: 4
Porter was setting himself up to have a quiet night in comparison to everyone else. He was consistently up front for the majority of the race, until a late incident ended his rally towards a top 5. Regardless, the Season 5 Champion has put together enough clean runs to keep himself in the top half of the list.
6. Michael Newbraugh - Last Week: 10
Here is one of the surprises of the season. Newbraugh went out and managed to gain 25 positions throughout the race, and match his season high 7th place finish. His strategy of staying out of trouble and just picking drivers off as they make mistakes is paying off for the DBR driver.
7. Tyler Murray - Last Week: 8
Last week, I was told by others inside the league that I needed to put myself on the Power Rankings. This week, I convinced myself. Barely missing heavy contact in the Lap 1 incident, Murray put himself on an alternate strategy, which almost blew up in his face on two separate occasions. In the attempt to rally back, Murray self spun, all but digging his grave for his first sub-11th finish. Luck played on his side, and he managed to capture another top 10.
8. Kyle Benson - Last Week: 7
Kyle Benson has been quick all season. But at Phoenix, he just couldn't keep the car out of trouble. Two early mistakes forced him to reset his progress through the field. It appeared as if he was going to give Luke Knupp a run for his money as we were cycling through green flag pit stops, but the 45 got loose and Kyle overcorrected to miss him, ending his own race in the process. Benson is realistically a top 5 driver in the league, but we need to see the little mistakes get cleaned up before we see those performances.
9. Ethan Fonseca Moreno - Last Week: Unranked
The driver of the 43 machine fell off the list last week with a 34th place run at Nashville. He recovered very well this week with a P3 finish. Ethan showed us what he is capable of, and like Benson, could very easily be a top 5 driver in the league. He just needs people to stop using the microwave while he is racing.
10. AJ Green - Last Week: 5
Now it isn't AJ's fault he dropped down the list, which is why he parks it at 10 instead of falling all the way off. He started P5, which looked like a great spot to be to avoid the early carnage. But unfortunately, he was the car to the inside of Ethan Fonseca Moreno when he hit the wall Lap 1, turning AJ in front of the entire field. Green isn't having the start to the season he would hope. He has speed, but gets caught up in accidents. If the BEEF Machine can stay clean, he will climb back up the rankings.
FIRST 5 OUT: #94 TJ Burske
#14 Jeff Noe
#4 Trevor Haley
#25 Daniel Michel
#63 Ryan Pandiscio
DRIVERS WHO DROPPED OUT:
#25 Daniel Michel - DNS