1. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske. Keselowski won on pure speed last week at Daytona and did the opposite Saturday night, stretching his last tank of fuel for 71 laps. Wonder what he’s going to do next week at Loudon, where he finished second last July? Grade: A+

2. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Edwards almost won the fuel-mileage game. Instead he finished in the top five for the seventh time this season, equaling his top fives in each of the past two seasons — with half a season to go. Grade: A

3. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. Newman snagged his first top five since last September at Chicagoland. Equally important, he moved up two spots to 12th in the standings and is now 40 points ahead of 17th-place Kasey Kahne . Grade: A

 

4. Kurt Busch, No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. What a night for Busch. He had to start in the rear of the field because he was in a backup car and navigated his way to his 14th consecutive top 10 at a 1.5-mile track. It also gave him top-five finishes at every Cup track. Impressive. Grade: A

5. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Big night for Stewart, too. Besides scoring a top five in his 600th start, he just missed the big wreck on Lap 93 and caught a big break when his three nearest competitors for 30th in the standings all wrecked and had DNFs. Stewart is still 30th, but he’s now 31 points to the good, a pickup of a whopping 28 points. Grade: A

6. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. Biffle told NBC Sports before the race his team was an 11th- to 16th-place team and needed to figure out how to get better. That didn’t take long. He has consecutive top 10s for the first time in nearly two years. Grade: A

 

7. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing. The top 10 moved McMurray up a spot in the standings to 15th, 16 points ahead of Kasey Kahne in 17th. Grade: A

 

8. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Kenseth’s fuel didn’t stretch as far as Brad Keselowski ‘s, but he contributed to the excitement at the end. Grade: A

9. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Harvick overshot his pit box on his final pit stop (under green) with 16 laps to go, but as it turned out, it only cost him a higher finish. He led a race-high 128 laps. Grade: A

 

10. Martin Truex Jr. , No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing. Truex was penalized for passing on entry to pit road and restarted 23rd on Lap 200 — after he was first off pit road for the race’s final restart. He wasn’t happy. “Say what? I do that every week,” he said when told of the penalty. He flew through the field and moved into the top five, but despite having packed his tank with fuel two laps after the leaders, he had to pit with 10 to go. What was unfortunate for Truex made for great theater. His blitz through the field was awesome. Grade: A-

 

11. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. Bayne just avoided the big wreck on Lap 93 and moved back into the top 16 (16th) for the second time this season. Grade: B+

 

12. Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Busch ran among the leaders all night — his average running position was 6.4 — he just didn’t have a finish that reflected it. Grade: B

 

13. Dale Earnhardt Jr. , No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Jimmie Johnson spun right in front of Earnhardt on Lap 32, and Junior emerged unscathed. Then he just missed getting collected in the big wreck on Lap 93. Considering what could have been, a top 15 wasn’t bad. Grade: B

 

14. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Kahne moved up a spot in the standings to 17th, but Trevor Bayne (16th) finished three spots better Saturday night. Inconsequential? Kahne missed the Chase last year by 16 points. Grade: B

 

15. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin finished a very quiet 15th. In the first six races on 1.5-mile tracks, Hamlin has one top 10 (fourth at Charlotte) and a 17.2 average finish. Five of the 10 Chase races are on 1.5-mile tracks. Grade: B

 

16. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. Dillon dropped two spots in the standings to 14th but has a 37-point cushion on 17th-place Kasey Kahne . Grade: B

17. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Danica drove through the big wreck on Lap 93 and later just avoided getting hit by Clint Bowyer when he got loose to bring out the ninth caution — which made Patrick the lucky dog. She parlayed those events into her third-best finish of the season. Grade B

 

18. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. Obscure fact of the night: In the 18th race of the season, Menard finished 18th for the fourth time in 2016. Grade: C

 

19. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing. Larson ran among the leaders early, but his car became very loose late and then fuel mileage took care of the rest. It was his worst finish since Kansas, two months ago. Grade: C

 

20. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. The No. 43 team tried a little pit strategy, but the result was the same — nother mediocre finish. Almirola is one of eight drivers to start all 18 races who has yet to finish in the top 10. Grade: C

21. Cole Whitt , No. 98 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Whitt squirted though the big wreck on Lap 93 and was rewarded with his third-best finish of the season. Grade: B

 

22. David Ragan , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing. Ragan was right there with Cole Whitt in avoiding the Lap 93 mess. Later he escaped being collected when Clint Bowyer got loose. Grade: B-

 

23. Clint Bowyer, No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports. Speaking of Bowyer … he was running 26th, one lap down, when the air was taken off his car and he got loose, bringing out the ninth caution. He finished two laps back. Grade: C

 

24. Josh Wise , No. 30 Chevrolet, The Motorsport Group. Wise posted his best finish of the season. In fact, his best three finishes of the season have come in his past four starts. Grade: B+

 

25. Ty Dillon , No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport-Leavine Family. Dillon was collected in the night’s biggest wreck but sustained minimal damage after having nowhere to go and running into the back of AJ Allmendinger. The result: Dillon keeps his RAF streak alive. He’s 15-for-15 in Cup races. Grade: B

 

26. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports. Annett followed up a season-best 20th at Daytona with his second-best finish of 2016. Grade: B

27. Reed Sorenson , No. 55 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Something must be in the water. Sorenson does the same as Annett. Sorenson finished 22nd at Daytona. Grade: B

 

28. Jeffrey Earnhardt , No. 32 Ford, GO FAS Racing. Hats off to Earnhardt, who posted the best finish of his Cup career (12 starts). Grade: B+

 

29. Landon Cassill , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. Moments after making a great save, Cassill was running 19th when he hit the outside wall on Lap 194 to bring out the final caution. Ruined a pretty good night. Grade: C

 

30. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing. Mears went to the garage on Lap 29 with a brake issue. He returned to the track and finished 21 laps back. Grade: D

 

31. Chase Elliott , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Elliott was on the outside of a three-wide after the restart on Lap 88 when Ryan Blaney got loose and collected the No. 24, causing extensive damage. That’s two wrecks in two weeks. Grade: C-

 

32. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson lost the car on Lap 32 and slapped the wall, forcing him into the garage for repairs. Johnson returned to log 208 laps but still suffered his third DNF because of crashes in the past five races. Grade: F

 

33. Brian Scott , No. 44 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. Scott set off the biggest wreck in the race when he got loose on Lap 93, saved the car but was hit from behind by Kyle Larson . Scott swooped wide but turned back to the middle of the track, right in front of Chris Buescher who T-boned him. It was Scott’s third DNF for crashes in the past four races Grade: F

 

34. Regan Smith , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing. Smith’s night ended in an instant on Lap 152 when he crashed hard into the outside wall. Smith put his night into perspective on Twitter after the race: “Kentucky… I love your people, whiskey, horses, hell basically ur whole state. Your racetrack though, we’re gonna have to work on that.” Note to Regan: In Kentucky, it’s bourbon. Grade: F

 

35. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing. Blaney’s night began to go south during the fifth caution when he was leaving his pit stall as Cole Witt was entering his. They made contact, and Blaney’s car suffered damage to the right front. He still restarted fifth on Lap 88, but moments later he was in the middle of a three-wide, got loose and collected Chase Elliott on the way to hitting the wall. Blaney lost three spots in the standings to 18th. Grade: F

 

36. AJ Allmendinger, No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing. Allmendinger got caught up in the Lap 93 wreck, running into the back of Chris Buescher . Allmendinger was 68 laps down when he returned to the track, but he crashed hard, ending his night and injuring his thumb. He was 16 points below the Chase cut line coming into the race. He’s 31 back now. Grade: D

 

37. Chris Buescher , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. Buescher was in the wrong place at the wrong time. His night was showing promise when his car was destroyed on impact with Brian Scott . Grade: C-

 

38. Matt DiBenedetto, No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing. DiBenedetto was running 29th when he hit the wall, bringing out the fifth caution and ending his night. Grade: F

 

39. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske. Logano got loose on Lap 42 and hit the wall, damaging the right-rear quarter panel and deck lid. On Lap 54 he hit it even harder, ending his night. Logano was one of a number of drivers with brake and tire issues. Grade: F

 

40. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. , No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. Stenhouse completed all of nine laps before he smacked the wall twice. His Chase hopes also took a big hit; he went from 17 points behind 16th to 40. Stenhouse tweeted the culprit was his mishandling of low downforce. He had plenty of company Saturday. Grade: F

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