A lot can change in a week. Some drivers locked themselves in to the Playoffs, others got a little closer to the cut line. The biggest change belongs to the drivers hoping to catch Luke Knupp as he missed races, and possibly claim one of the wildcard spots. Well his slide down the standings halted this week as the 45 car made its long awaited return after the Christmas break.
1. Ethan Fonseca Moreno - Gained 2
For the first time this season, Ethan Fonseca Moreno has broken DBR's stranglehold on the Power Rankings and climbed to the top spot. While it was close for the 2nd week in a row, a slightly better qualifying effort and one step higher on the podium have catapulted Moreno to the top spot.
2. Lawson Peel - No Change
Peel went into Wednesday's race as the odds on favorite, after claiming the past two Texas races, with the one in Season 4 bringing him his championship. The 12 car came out of the gate with speed, running the Lawson Line to climb up into the podium. One more spot on the track would've had him tied for the Power Rankings lead through the algorithm, but instead, his armor shows a crack, and the 12 "X" Camaro heads into Iowa looking to reclaim his top spot.
3. Eric Schaffer - Lost 2
Damn internet. That's all Ol' Schaff has to be screaming as he reads this. Not only does a technical issue cost him his lead in the Power Rankings, but it costs him the overall standings lead. We have seen in seasons past how important the Regular Season Champion bonus has been when it comes to the Playoffs, so it will be interesting to see if Eric can make up lost ground between Iowa and Talladega to reclaim the top of the standings.
4. Luke Knupp - No Change
Closing out the BBR/DBR sandwich is Bacallao-Bueno's own Luke Knupp. Knupp made his long awaited return after deciding two weeks for Christmas wasn't enough, and he looked to be picking up right where he left off. That was until the same fate bestowed him as did the 3 car, and the internet decided to quit on the same exact lap. It was a tragic site as the 45 car had been battling up front all night, but the positive is he retained his wildcard and didn't let more drivers in front of him in the standings who could possibly win and knock him out altogether.
5. AJ Green - No Change
It has been a remarkable season for the Beef Machine. In season's past, it seemed AJ's only downfall was the avoidable incidents he has found with other drivers. This season, Green has mostly stayed out of controversy, and is quietly one of the more competitive drivers of the season. He still needs to find a bit of luck I think to chase his second championship, but as long as he remains out of trouble he has the opportunity to pounce.
6. Kyle Benson - No Change
Kyle Benson had a wicked fast Quaker State Ford Mustang at Texas. But typical "MRMS - We dont have any idea how to operate strategy or when to pit" bullshit lost him his track position. A relentless charge on the final run of the day helped Kyle climb to 5th, but one can only wonder what would have happened if we didn't suck at strategy.
7. Jayden Porter - Gained 1
Following in the footsteps of his teammate Moreno, the defending champion Porter continues up the board. Essentially clinched into the Playoffs after Texas, Jayden has to be feeling good after a rough start to the season. The driver of the 28 is getting hot at what seems to be the right time, and we should all be watching to see if he continues the momentum he is building.
8. Brandon Banks - Lost 1
It was a race to forget for Banks. While he never seemed to be outside of the top 15, he also never seemed to be above 10th. Banks did what he had to do to clinch into the Playoff's this week, and he and the Reese's team will look to regroup at Iowa. And never forget, we do go to Talladega in two weeks, where Banks has to be the overall favorite to win.
9. Colin Forrester - No Change
A handful of missed races might keep Forrester out of the Playoffs, but dont let it fool you. He still has speed, and if he doesn't make it into the Playoffs, he could be a driver to upset those chasing a championship.
10. Scott Healy - No Change
Healy is in the same boat as Forrester, having missed a few more races and being a bit more of a long shot for the Playoffs. But you wouldn't know that from how he ran at Texas, as the Season 2 champion had statistically his best race of the season. Knupp returning has all but sealed the fate of the 64 car chasing a second championship, but don't be surprised if Scott continues to chase wins.
11-20 11. Trevor Haley
12. Adam Aleshire
13. Craig Lautenslager
14. Jesse Pries
15. Ryan Pandiscio
16. Lance Hill
17. Tyler Murray
18. Tony Kivett
19. Kevin Delia - Gained 1
20. Wyatt Brackett - Lost 1