Top-Five Remain the Same as Alfredo and Bickford join MNR Power Rankings
In Shane van Gisbergen’s return to the Monday Night Racing Pro Series presented by Rowdy Energy, he saved just enough fuel and tire to propel him to his first win of the season. There were ten different leaders throughout the Big Green Egg 180 with many drivers showing they had the speed to win.
With one race remaining in the regular season, the stakes are heating up and it’s win or go home if drivers want to lock themselves into the postseason. Here’s how the Power Rankings look going into the regular season finale at Chicagoland Speedway:
- David Schildhouse/ –
Schildhouse led 16 laps on Monday en route to a 13th-place finish. Driver No. 20 has been stout all season as he looks to be crowned the regular season champion. With two wins in the bag already, Schildhouse will be looking for more this week.
- Collin Fern/ –
We have come to see Collin Fern run up front on a weekly basis, but this week was a little different. Fern, while finishing just outside the top-ten in eleventh, struggled to find speed on the long runs. The Brandonbilt Motorsports driver needs to find the long-run speed this week if he wants a chance to pick up his second win of the season in the “Windy City.”
- Rajah Caruth/ –
Rajah Caruth has had an up and down year, but finished second Monday night. Caruth, one of the best mile-and-a-half racers on the service, is excited about the opportunity to race around Chicagoland for the regular season finale. I believe that the Alpha Prime Racing driver can get it done on Monday and etch his name in the playoff picture.
- Gary Sexton/ –
The phrase, “if you didn’t have bad luck, you’d have no luck at all,” could not be more true for Gary Sexton. The Battle Beaver driver led almost one-third of the Big Green Egg 180, but a pit road penalty on the final pit stop put him one lap down in 28th-place when the checkered flag flew.
- Will Rodgers/ –
Two consecutive poor performances for Will Rodgers puts him 16 points back from the championship lead. Rodgers has failed to finish inside the top-20 in two consecutive weeks, but he has clinched a playoff spot. With nothing on the line this week, I think Rodgers goes all out; it’s checkers or wrecks for the Spacestation Gaming driver.
- DJ Cummings/ +2
After coming back from a lap 19 incident with Fern, Cummings found himself as the leader with just five laps to go. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be that easy for Cummings as he lost control of his car late in a green-flag run, handing van Gisbergen the victory. Other than the spin, this was Cummings’ best run of the year and I believe he will be up front at Chicagoland.
- Gabe Wood/ +2
Much like last week, Gabe Wood found chaos early and often; one of those incidents providing damage to his car. The first incident came on lap seven when he cleared himself on the nose of Josh Bilicki. In the second incident, Wood barely missed the spinning car of Garrett Smithley. From there, he went on to finish 14th. He is in a must-win situation after the penultimate race of the regular season.
- Garrett Smithley/ +2
Smithley couldn’t catch a break on Monday as he was involved in two incidents, both with Caruth. The driver for Rick Ware eSports finished in the top-five for the first time since Daytona to open the season. Much like Wood, it’s win or go home if Smithley wants a shot to make a second consecutive championship four appearance.
- Ryan Vargas/ -2
This event was the last race to drop before the playoffs begin. Vargas, who is locked-in to the postseason, used this week as his drop to prepare for next week.
- Kyle Busch/ -4
Kyle Busch also used this week as a drop week to prepare for the regular season championship race next week. “Rowdy” has been so good in the NASCAR Xfinity Series cars in real life, we will see if it transfers over to iRacing on Monday.
- Max Kennon/ –
Kennon is one of the best drivers in the Monday Night Racing Pro Series; there I said it. Lady Luck has not been on his side this season but a 15th-place finish on Monday was just what he needed to secure a playoff spot. Kennon is just 25 points above the bubble but, barring any setbacks, we will see Kennon make a strong playoff run.
- Adam Cabot/ +1
After a few subpar finishes, Adam Cabot finally got his first top-ten finish since the second race of the season at Las Vegas. Fortunately for Cabot, he sits 17 points above the playoff cutline with just one race until the playoffs begin. He needs to build some momentum quickly if he wants to win a championship.
- Anthony Alfredo/ N/A
Alfredo finds his way back into the top-15 after a tenth-place effort on Monday night. During green flag pit stops, Alfredo spun and tagged the wall, ultimately damaging what could have been a top-five finish. “Fast Pasta” began the season as a top-ten driver in the Power Rankings, but has fallen due to poor finishes week after week. It’s do-or-die for Alfredo this week at Chicagoland Speedway.
- James Bickford/ N/A
James Bickford makes a return to the Power Rankings after a rather disappointing campaign thus far. He started on pole and led three laps in the ninth-place effort. Bickford finds himself just eight points out of the playoffs going into Chicagoland.
- Preston Pardus/ -3
Much like Busch and Vargas, Pardus used this week as a drop week and did not participate in the event. Sitting just seven points above the cutline, things could get interesting if Bickford does not have a strong run on Monday.
Dropped Out: Matt Stallknecht and Steven Ellis