NASCAR Race Weekend Central

NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Talladega

As predicted, it took until the checkered flag before we knew who would be moving on to the eight-driver Eliminator Round. Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Matt Kenseth all knew what they had to do to continue their bid for a championship: win. Johnson led the most laps, Earnhardt, Jr. led the second most laps, but in the end, Brad Keselowski (coincidentally pushed by Matt Kenseth) won the race, finalizing Keselowski’s advancement to the next round. Sunday’s win was the sixth of the season and 11th overall for Team Penske, a new season-high for the team.

Talladega is always a race that produces surprise finishes and this past weekend was no exception. Only three drivers (Brad Keselowski, Ryan Newman and Kevin Harvick) in the Power Rankings top 10 after Charlotte finished in the top 10 at Talladega. However the bigger story was the four drivers eliminated from the championship. Three of the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers (Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.) were eliminated, along with Kyle Busch, who was involved in the race’s big one.

The points reset once again and the top eight head to Martinsville, which just might bring as much action as we’ve seen at Charlotte and Talladega combined. Only three opportunities remain for drivers to win and punch their ticket to Homestead. But before the beating and banging begins, see if your favorite driver survived Talladega and made the top 15.

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

Joey Logano2014 NASCAR Cup Joey  Logano headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALL

Joey Logano has won a race in each round of the Chase so far. If he can stay away from Danica Patrick at Martinsville, he could very well become the first driver to punch his ticket for Homestead. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com

First Place Votes: 2

116

2

+1

Kevin Harvick2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

After a ninth-place effort at ‘Dega, Harvick has his eyes set on the Eliminator Round with two of his strongest tracks coming up in Martinsville and Phoenix. Justin Tucker, Frontstretch.com

First Place Votes: 2

114

3

+6

2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Brad Keselowski

One day, we will look back at last weekend and call it one of the biggest clutch wins in NASCAR history. If he can get past Martinsville, the sky is the limit for the No. 2 team. Jim Noble, ESPN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio/PRN

First Place Votes: 2

105

4

+1

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

Proving that wins aren’t everything as he quietly continues his consistent climb up the Chase rankings. I see no reason why Ryan Newman can’t be in the final four with his performance to this point. How will NASCAR react if a driver with no wins in the Chase wins the championship? Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com

98

5

+7

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

Matt Kenseth advances again without winning. Moving up without a visit to Victory Lane may be tougher this round. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com

96

6

-3

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

Jeff Gordon survives the cut and still has another Sprint Cup Series championship trophy within his grasp. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com

94

7

+1

Denny Hamlin2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Portraits

Denny Hamlin could punch his ticket to Homestead this weekend at Martinsville, a track where he has four victories. Justin Tucker, Frontstretch.com

89

8

-1

Carl Edwards2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Carl Edwards knows the value of a late season win. That has cost him one championship already. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com

77

9

+1

Kasey Kahne2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Kasey Kahne was just four points shy of moving on to the Eliminator Round. While disappointing, Kahne has to be pleased with the momentum his team is building towards season’s end. Justin Tucker, Frontstretch.com

63

10

+3

Jimmie Johnson2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

NASCAR finally found a championship formula that driver and crew chief couldn’t master immediately. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com

61

11

-7

Kyle Busch2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

In many ways, it just doesn’t seem right for Kyle Busch to be knocked out of the Chase when he was perhaps as focused and calm as he’s ever been in the playoffs. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com

56

12

-6

Kyle Larson2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Does anyone realize that if Larson had made the Chase, he’d still be IN the Chase! Jim Noble, ESPN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio/PRN

49

13

N/A

2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

There can’t be a more disappointed driver after ‘Dega than Junior. Those three wins look like a blip on the radar due to the way his Chase run ended. Justin Tucker, Frontstretch.com

48

14

N/A

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

Rumors continue to swirl about Kurt and a crew chief change for 2015. If you’re going to do it, do it now. Jim Noble, ESPN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio/PRN

47

15

N/A

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

Deserves bonus points for his post-race media center performance at Talladega when he told Kenseth, “Karma is a bitch!”. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com

27

Others Receiving Votes: AJ Allmendinger (20), Greg Biffle (16), Landon Cassill (15), Austin Dillon (14), Danica Patrick (14), Jamie McMurray (10), Travis Kvapil (10), Aric Almirola (9), Casey Mears (4), Martin Truex Jr. (4), Marcos Ambrose (2)

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