NASCAR Race Weekend Central

NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Richmond

After 26 races and 13 race winners, the 2014 Chase field has been set. Brad Keselowski made a championship statement Saturday night, leading 383 of the 400 laps en route to his season-leading fourth victory. With his win, Keselowski claimed the number one seed as the Chase standing reset heading to Chicago.

Results were mixed Saturday night in Richmond, though. Half of the Atlanta Power Rankings top 10 finished in the top 10 this past weekend as well as Ryan Newman who needed another consistent run to claim one of the two remaining non-win Chase positions. Greg Biffle needed to finish 20th or better to claim a spot as well. His 19th-place finish put two Roush Fenway Racing drivers in the Chase and kept Clint Bowyer and Michael Waltrip Racing out.

The 10-week Chase begins next week in Chicago and it’s sure to be exciting as the three-week Challenger series will determine the first four drivers to be eliminated.

How The Rankings Are Calculated: Frontstretch does our power rankings 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… 3-2-1 basis, giving 20 points to their first-place driver, 19 for second, and so on. In the end, Mike Mehedin calculates the points, adds some funny one-liners, and… here you go!

 
Rank
Change
Name
Total Votes

1

+5

Brad Keselowski2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Four wins, top seed in the Chase and quite simply a dominating performance Saturday night at Richmond. Looks like the Championship hangover has subsided. But I suspect Brad will have another one the day after the championship banquet. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com

First Place Votes: 6

173

2

-1

Jeff Gordon2014 NASCAR Cup Jeff Gordon headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALL

If it wasn’t for the Chase it would be Gordon, not Jimmie Johnson, aiming for record-tying title number seven. Will this year’s Chase format, with its unpredictability, rob him at Homestead a third time? Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com

First Place Votes: 2

172

3

+1

Kevin Harvick's record at Phoenix makes him the odds-on favorite this weekend, having won here just three races ago.

Kevin Harvick

Needs to hire a secret agent to steal pit guns and kidnap crew members from Joe Gibbs Racing and the title will be his. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com

First Place Votes: 1

157

4

-2

2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

How will the No. 88 team respond now that the pressure is on? Pressure is something they haven’t had to deal with since…well…NEVER this entire season. Jim Noble, ESPN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio/PRN

149

5

-2

2014 NASCAR Cup Joey  Logano headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALL

Joey Logano

I picked him to make the Final Four way back in January. Back then he was a “dark horse” pick. Now, he’s not. Jim Noble, ESPN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio/PRN

148

6

-1

Jimmie Johnson2014 NASCAR Cup Jimmie Johnson headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALL

Found the most creative way ever to avoid the media circus for the Chase drivers, proving once again why he is a champion. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com

139

7

+4

Ryan Newman2014 NASCAR Cup Ryan Newman headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALL

Ryan Newman has been very consistent in 2014. Nothing overpowering, but pretty good. Problem is, the new format doesn’t favor anyone who races like Newman has. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com

109

8

-1

Matt Kenseth2014 NASCAR Cup Matt Kenseth headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALL

Thankfully Matt Kenseth was locked in and his Richmond finish had zero impact on his Chase status. Kenseth has shown he can be a contender this year but now being a contender just won’t cut it. He has to win or face early Chase elimination. Justin Tucker, Frontstretch.com

106

9

+3

Kurt Busch2014 NASCAR Cup Kurt Busch headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALL

Sure he didn’t have the most consistent season, but he’s capable of winning at any track, which makes him dangerous in this Chase format. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com

104

10

2014 NASCAR Cup Kasey Kahne headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALL

Kasey Kahne

Kasey Kahne and team have struggled all season, but triumphed in time to get a win and into the Chase. The No. 5 could surprise throughout the Chase. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com

74

11

+1

Clint Bowyer2014 NASCAR Cup Clint Bowyer headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALL

Atlanta truly did “shift” Clint Bowyer’s chances out of the Chase. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com

70

12

+2

2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Kyle Larson

Kyle Larson’s miss means no rookie has made the Chase since Denny Hamlin in 2006. And there’s no rookies on the horizon for next year, either. When will this sport start to evolve again? Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com

69

13

-4

Three years ago, Carl Edwards made the choice to stay with Roush Fenway Racing, but this time around, things have changed.

Carl Edwards

How can the Roush cars have been so bad at Richmond, when the Penske cars were so good? Carl Edwards would like to know. One of my picks not to make it out of the first round. Jim Noble, ESPN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio/PRN

67

14

-5

Denny Hamlin2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Portraits

Remember when Denny Hamlin used to dominate at Richmond? That was far from the case on Saturday night. Hamlin is nothing more than a darkhorse at this point heading to Chicago. Justin Tucker, Frontstretch.com

66

15

-2

2014 NASCAR Cup Greg Biffle headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALL

Greg Biffle

Worked real hard to not lose his Chase spot Saturday night and almost did anyway. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com

57

Others Receiving Votes: Jamie McMurray (55), Kyle Busch (55), Aric Almirola (49), AJ Allmendinger (34), Danica Patrick (11), Austin Dillon (10), Brian Vickers (10), Paul Menard (4), Tony Stewart (1)

Participants: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com; Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com; Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com; Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com; Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com; Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com; Jim Noble, ESPN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio/PRN; Justin Tucker, Frontstretch.com; Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com

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