NASCAR Race Weekend Central

NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Chicago

If starting first, leading all but seven laps, winning the race and claiming the top seed in the Chase at Richmond was enough for Brad Keselowski to make a championship statement, no one told him. He came from 25th place Sunday afternoon, led 62 laps and claimed his fifth overall and series-leading victory. On top of that, Keselowski automatically qualifies for the Contender round of the Chase.

A majority of the championship contenders had strong performances. Of the Richmond Power Ranking top 10, all finished in the top 15 Sunday afternoon. Additionally, four of the top 5 (Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano) finished in the top 5 as well.

Race two of the Chase is in New Hampshire. After Chicago, the bottom four drivers in danger of not moving onto the Contender round are Ryan Newman, AJ Allmendinger, Greg Biffle and Aric Almirola.

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

Brad Keselowski2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Look out New Hampshire. Brad Keselowski and team already cleaned out Richmond and Chicago of Miller Lite beer. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com

First Place Votes: 6

100

2

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

Backed up a strong regular season performance with a strong second-place run to start the Chase. Jeff Gordon is one of the few that can rely on consistency to take him far into the later rounds of the Chase. He won’t need many wins to be one of the final four at Homestead. Justin Tucker, Frontstretch.com

95

3

+2

2014 NASCAR Cup Joey  Logano headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALL

Joey Logano

It seems like Joey Logano’s year. Odds are good that he joins his teammate Keselowski with a win or two during the Chase. Maybe early. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com

88

4

-1

2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Kevin Harvick

Got a new pit crew for the Chase and still had some issues. However, I doubt there are many grids that don’t have Harvick in the top 4 heading into Homestead. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com

87

5

+9

2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Portraits

Denny Hamlin

Too bad Hamlin’s engine wasn’t “blowing up” during the regular season. He might be in a better Chase position. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com

72

6

-2

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

No need to panic Junior Nation. He will be fine, just scoring consistent finishes for the first couple rounds. 11th is not a bad start to the Chase. Justin Tucker, Frontstretch.com

69

7

-1

Jimmie Johnson2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Let the rumors of Jimmie Johnson’s demise start running rampant. Johnson and the No. 48 team haven’t won six championships by not learning and testing as they go throughout the season. It seems like the tracks starting in Dover through Homestead are right in their wheelhouse. They’ll be just fine. Justin Tucker, Frontstretch.com

66

8

+1

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

Reminding everyone that there are two Stewart-Haas Racing cars in this Chase. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com

61

9

N/A

Kyle Busch2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

After one Chase race Kyle Busch, in the No. 18, is 18 points behind leader Keselowski. Busch would do better with better math. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com

56

10

-2

2014 NASCAR Cup Matt Kenseth headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALL

Matt Kenseth

27 races into the season and Matt Kenseth still doesn’t have a win!? He barely made it into the Chase, and although he snagged a top 10 in Chicago, he’ll need a lot more than that to make it through the Contender round. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com

55

11

-1

Kasey Kahne2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

In the same position as his teammates Earnhardt, Jr. and Johnson. 13th isn’t a bad start to Kasey’s Chase. Now has to avoid the bad luck bug that has bitten him all year. Justin Tucker, Frontstretch.com

47

12

2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Kyle Larson

What a race for Kyle Larson in Chicago. He almost got that elusive win but, more importantly, he gained a lot of respect from a lot of drivers. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com

46

13

-6

2014 NASCAR Cup Ryan Newman headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALL

Ryan Newman

He had to be disappointed with a 15th-place finish in what has been one of his better tracks in recent years. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com

40

14

N/A

Jamie McMurray2014 NASCAR Cup Jamie McMurray headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALL

Needs to approach the 2015 Daytona 500 like it’s the first race in the Chase in order to make the playoffs next year. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com

37

15

-2

2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Carl Edwards

He was getting lapped Sunday, which doesn’t bode well for his Chase chances. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com

32

Others Receiving Votes: Greg Biffle (18), Martin Truex, Jr. (17), Austin Dillon (15), AJ Allmendinger (14), Aric Almirola (10), Clint Bowyer (6), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (6), Danica Patrick (5), Paul Menard (4), Tony Stewart (3)

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