NASCAR Race Weekend Central

NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Phoenix

And then there were four. The drivers competing for the Championship at Homestead next week are set, and as the other Chase races have proven, it wasn’t without drama. Kevin Harvick’s only option was to win, and win he did, in dominating fashion by leading the most laps. Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano needed top-10 finishes to advance. After battling back from one lap down, they finished fifth and sixth, respectively. Ryan Newman created the most drama, dive-bombing under Kyle Larson into turn 3 of the final lap, pushing Larson into the wall. That one position was all Newman needed to knock Jeff Gordon out of the top 4 and secure his own place in the Championship Round.

Performance was key at Phoenix and the top 10 in Power Rankings after Texas stepped up their game. Seven drivers finished in the top 10 Sunday afternoon, and nine drivers finished in the top 14. The only driver with a poor finish was Kyle Busch, who was involved in an accident and finished 34th.

Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman will battle for the 2014 Sprint Cup Championship next weekend at Homestead. No matter the outcome, one thing is for sure: NASCAR will have a first-time champion. It is sure to be an exciting race. But, before we head to Florida one last time, see if your favorite driver 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

+1

Kevin Harvick2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Everyone thought he was going to stomp the field, and he did. Most dominant Phoenix winner ever. However, he’s set himself up like Davey Allison did in 1992. Can he close the deal in Homestead? Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com

First Place Votes: 7

7140

2

-1

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

FACT: Jeff Gordon, the best driver of his generation, won his first title at age 24. What age is Mr Logano? Why, he just happens to be 24, knocking the No. 24 car out of the way while earning his first ever chance for the title. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com

130

3

+1

2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Portraits

Denny Hamlin

This moment is the very one all of those sports psychology appointments were preparing Hamlin for. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com

120

4

+2

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

Most likely busted all remaining brackets – if there were any left – after his last-lap pass to knock Jeff Gordon out and put himself in the final four heading to Homestead. Has a 25 percent chance of winning his first Sprint Cup championship Sunday, and after his performance at Phoenix, I’d give him as much a chance as the other three. No underdog story here anymore. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com

118

5

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

More than likely, Jeff Gordon will score the most points for the entire season. He is ineligible to finish any better than fifth in points. Weak. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com

114

6

-3

Brad Keselowski2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Another victim of how cruel this Chase format is. Brad Keselowski had six wins this season, but a poor Martinsville finish kept him out of the hunt for his second title. Justin Tucker, Frontstretch.com

107

7

+2

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

Matt Kenseth is finally eliminated after having 21 top-10 finishes in 2014 with zero wins. Winning counts plenty with the new elimination format. Kenseth has said the format didn’t change his racing outlook. He hasn’t got a win yet, and has one chance to finally get a checkered flag. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com

95

8

-1

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.2014 NASCAR Cup Dale Earnhardt Jr headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALL

“Win one for Stevie” – it will be interesting to see how the No. 88 team fares in their last race with crew chief Steve Letarte on top of the pit box. Jim Noble, ESPN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio/PRN

90

9

+2

Kyle Larson2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Finished a decent 13th at Phoenix and showed the maturity of a veteran after what happened with Ryan Newman on the final lap. Justin Tucker, Frontstretch.com

80

10

-2

Kyle Busch2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

He’ll never look at Talladega the same way again. But of all the Chase drivers who didn’t make the final four, Kyle may have the most optimism heading into 2015. Jim Noble, ESPN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio/PRN

70

11

+1

Carl Edwards2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Carl Edwards does not have to worry about being a lame duck driver for much longer, and I doubt he will for many seasons to come. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com

65

12

N/A

Greg Biffle2014 NASCAR Cup Greg Biffle headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALL

Invisible when he’s a title contender and invisible when he’s not. Not much ever changes for Greg Biffle, does it? Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com

56

13

-3

2014 NASCAR Cup Jamie McMurray headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALL

Jamie McMurray

The good news is he seems primed and ready to make a big run next year. The bad news is his crew chief, Keith Rodden, may be jumping ship. Jim Noble, ESPN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio/PRN

45

14

N/A

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

Gene Haas said he never had any intention of sitting Kurt Busch after his domestic violence allegations surfaced. Let’s hope the allegations are not what they seem to be. Kurt, and SHR as a whole, does not need any more media attention this year. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com

43

15

-2

AJ Allmendinger2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Honestly, the No. 47 is running better now on a regular basis with AJ Allmendinger than it ever has before. Bravo. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com

42

Others Receiving Votes: Jimmie Johnson (37), Martin Truex, Jr. (20), Kasey Kahne (19), Marcos Ambrose (18), Aric Almirola (17), Clint Bowyer (17), Austin Dillon (10), Tony Stewart (8), Brian Vickers (4), Paul Menard (3), Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (2).

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John C.

You just exposed the flaw in your rating system!! Top 4 drivers in the ranking are the four left in the Chase? Give me a break, not even close!!

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