Busch Declines, Schildhouse Maintains Top Spot in MNR Pro Series Power Rankings

The playoffs have begun in the Monday Night Racing Pro Series presented by Rowdy Energy and Matt Stallknecht stole the show in the opener for his first win of the season.

This playoff field is arguably the most competitive playoff field the MNR Pro Series has ever had. Here is your updated Power Rankings after Talladega:

  1. David Schildhouse / –

It’s no surprise that the championship favorite was the highest finishing playoff driver at Talladega Superspeedway on Monday. Schildhouse scored an eighth-place finish in the postseason opener, and has put a 17 point cushion between himself and the cutoff line.

Credit: Seth Eggert
  1. Rajah Caruth / –

After leading a lap and running in the lead pack for a majority of the Sim Seats 215, Caruth was dealt a 21st-place finishing position. Caruth, the ARCA Menards Series driver, needs to have a clean run at Austria next week to set himself up for a spot in the next round.

  1. Collin Fern / –

Since the middle of the regular season, Collin Fern has been relatively quiet. While he still remains a threat each week, Fern needs to return to his aggressive ways if he wants a spot in the Championship Four.

  1. Will Rodgers / –

As I have mentioned before, I believe that Will Rodgers is up there with Ryan Vargas as the biggest sleeper in the playoffs. Due to a last lap incident on Monday, Rodgers finished 17th. But, his performance throughout the night should’ve earned him a top-ten spot. With road course racing on-tap this week, Rodgers is my way-too-early pick to win.

Credit: Seth Eggert
  1. Ryan Vargas / +1

Ryan Vargas finished just outside the top-ten, in eleventh, at Talladega. The California driver was the fourth highest finishing playoff driver, which catapults him to third in the playoff standings. Vargas has been outstanding at 1.5-mile racetracks and if he can get a good finish at Austria, Vargas is a lock for the Round of Seven.

  1. Preston Pardus / +2

I ranked Preston Pardus in eighth two weeks ago because, frankly, I did not know how he would perform in the Playoffs. But, after leading and running competitively at Talladega, Pardus could be the “Cinderella story” of this year’s playoffs. 

  1. Adam Cabot / –

Cabot started the year hot and slowly cooled down as the year progressed until he was victorious two weeks ago at Chicagoland. This week, Cabot finished 19th, putting him on the playoff cutline, just five points ahead of Josh Bilicki. While he has been competitive on ovals, road racing is where we have seen Cabot struggle this season. He needs to turn that around this week if he wants to chase a championship.

  1. Max Kennon / –

As I have said time and time before, Max Kennon is a wheelman. After a chaotic race at Talladega, Kennon was able to avoid the wrecks and finish ninth. Kennon is one of the most well-rounded drivers in the Monday Night Racing Pro Series and with a schedule that features so many crazy combinations, it falls right into his skillset.

Credit: Seth Eggert
  1. Kyle Busch / -4

“Rowdy” was scored 37th when the checkered flag flew on Monday in the playoff-opener at Talladega; his worst finish of the season. In Monday Night Racing’s most recent trip to a road course, Busch finished 31st. With the MNR Pro Series returning to left and right turns this week, he will need better his road course average as he is already 18 points below the playoff cutline.

  1. Josh Bilicki / –

Other than his win at the Daytona International Speedway road course, Josh Bilicki has not had the season he planned for. His 24th-place finish on Monday was his second-worst finish of the season and it came at a time you need to be on your “A” game. On the bright side, I think that the next two races at Austria and Homestead-Miami will be good for Bilicki and will allow him to advance into the Round of Seven.