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NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Indianapolis

Frontstretch Power Rankings
It was a Hendrick Motorsports kind of day last weekend in Indianapolis. Jimmie Johnson stole the show to win his fourth Brickyard 400, putting him in elite company at America's most famous speedway. Meanwhile, looking at the "big picture" teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr. took the series point lead for the first time since the Fall of 2004. Is  the apocalypse, supposedly predicted by the Mayans this year finally upon us? Or are Steve Letarte and Earnhardt just really, really good together — better than anyone could have ever imagined once they were joined at the hip by Rick Hendrick? 
At this point, with the upcoming Chase looming our experts can only tell you one thing for sure: these outstanding performances made it a very, very tough choice on who to pick number one after Indianapolis. Keep reading to find out which of these two heavyweights edged out each other! 

How The Rankings Are Calculated: Frontstretch does our power rankings somewhat similar to how the Associated Press does them for basketball or football — our expert stable of NASCAR writers, both on staff and from other major publications will vote for the Top 20 on a 20-19-18-17-16-15… 3-2-1 basis, giving 20 points to their first place driver, 19 for their second, and so on. In the end, Summer Bedgood calculates the points, adds some funny one-liners, and … there you go!

Rank Driver (First Place Votes) Votes Last Week
1 Jimmie Johnson (4) 137 2
That damned Jimmie Johnson. Doesn't he know how to suck every once in awhile instead of stinking up the show? Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com
2 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (3) 135 1
One guy reaches the top spot in the points by top fiving the competition to death, replacing another one who does the same thing. Still looks like consistency rules over wins. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
3 Denny Hamlin 114 6
Just like the Japan gymnastics team, petitioned NASCAR for some extra points due to not being part of the Hendrick arsenal. CEO Rick Hendrick… er, Brian France rejected the plea at last check. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
4 Greg Biffle 112 5
With teammate and friend Matt Kenseth leaving the organization at the end of the year, Biffle is scrambling to learn all of Kenseth's tips and tricks before he jumps ship. That includes how to run quietly and consistently when no one is watching… so far, so good. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com
5 Matt Kenseth 100 3
Did he just get an up close and personal view of the car he'll be driving next year? Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
6 Tony Stewart 98 7
Hasn't exactly set the field on fire as of late. But haven't we seen this movie before? The poster child for those who say all you have to do to win the Chase in the "regular season" is just make the field. P.S. – If you see Stewart on the street this week, I wouldn't recommend cutting in front of him. Just a thought. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
7 Brad Keselowski 94 4
A weekend sweep at the Brickyard could have been his if not for a crazy restart towards the end of Sunday's race. Of course, it was a crappy call from NASCAR about Elliott Sadler's restart that won Keselowski the Nationwide race in the first place. Irony? Or karma? Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com
8 Jeff Gordon 90 11
After finishing fifth, Gordon said he thought his car was better than Johnson's or at least second-best. Sure, Gordo, maybe if this was 2004… Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com
9 Kyle Busch 86 T – 12
Looking like he's on the verge of a Chase berth that comes with minimal expectations. Is that what the younger Busch finally needs, no one paying attention to him in order to be successful in the playoffs? Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
10 Kasey Kahne 74 10
Apparently, that momentum gained from a strong New Hampshire win wasn't quite strong enough to last 2 weeks. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
T – 11 Clint Bowyer 67 8
A good driver to watch once those Chase points reset. That 15th-place finish at Indianapolis sure didn't come easy… Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com
T – 11 Martin Truex, Jr. 67 T – 12
In one of the sport's most wide open Chase fields ever, there's still going to be one guy whose season will simply consist of being happy to make it there. Any guesses on who that driver might be? Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
13 Ryan Newman 66 14
Top 10s are nice when it comes to the points. But when it comes to sponsorship, you might as well have finished last. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com
14 Kevin Harvick 60 9
Harvick's Chase spot is pretty well secure, but performances like Sunday make me wonder how much of a factor he'll really play in the championship. If things stay the same … zero. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com
15 Paul Menard 39 NR
Well, at least he made the RCR plane on time this year. But I'm guessing Menard would have liked a trophy instead (or at least a top-5 finish, since he's now gone a full year without one). Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
Dropped Out: Carl Edwards (15)
Others Receiving Votes: Mark Martin (35), Joey Logano (29), Carl Edwards (17), Marcos Ambrose (17), Jamie McMurray (9), Sam Hornish, Jr. (7), Regan Smith (5), Aric Almirola (4), Kurt Busch (3), Trevor Bayne (2), Juan Pablo Montoya (2), David Stremme (1).
Who Voted: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.comKelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com; Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com; Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com;  Dustin Long, Athlon Sports; Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com; Matt Taliaferro, Athlon Sports.

Contact Summer Bedgood

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