NASCAR Race Weekend Central

NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Homestead

Four drivers entered the season finale at Homestead with one mission: finish ahead of the other three and win the 2014 Sprint Cup Series championship. There was a general consensus that whoever won the championship would also have to win the race, and that proved to be the case as all four drivers were strong throughout the event. In the end, Kevin Harvick took the checkered flag and his first championship in his inaugural season with Stewart-Haas Racing.

Jeff Gordon was the dominant car, leading 161 laps, but once Kevin Harvick made it to the front, he was not going to be denied the win. Even when a late race caution, and gutsy four-tire pit stop, put him in 12th place, Harvick remembered what his team owner told him; “It’s not over until the checkered flag falls.” Harvick maneuvered his way back to the lead and held off a hard-charging Ryan Newman. Denny Hamlin finished seventh and Joey Logano could only battle back to a disappointing 16th place after the jack slipped from under the car on the final pit stop.

2014 was a year of firsts; the first under the new Chase format, first-time winners (Allmendinger and Almirola), the first season Tony Stewart did not win a race and a first-time champion. There has been a lot of discussion about the new Chase format and whether it is good or bad for the sport. No matter where you stand on the issue, you cannot deny the drama and intensity the past 10 races have created. As teams head back to Charlotte to prepare for the 2015 season, see if your favorite driver made the top 15 one last time. How many days until the Daytona 500?

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

Kevin Harvick2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Finally, truly “Happy.” Let the Budweiser flow, as Harvick finally reaches his potential – no longer the “best driver never to win a Cup championship.” Jim Noble, ESPN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio/PRN

First Place Votes: 7

140

2

+2

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

He ALMOST did it. Imagine the headlines if Newman could have made it past Harvick. Still, a career-best points finish. Ironic that Newman and Harvick swap teams and finish 1-2 in points. An amazing season for the No. 31 team overall even though they did not win a race, proving once again that consistency is still key. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com

128

3

-1

2014 NASCAR Cup Joey  Logano headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALL

Joey Logano

Sometime in the next year, Ray Gallaghan will stop having nightmares about what happened to his jack Sunday night. That incident was not his fault. It happens. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com

119

4

+2

Brad Keselowski2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Out of all the controversy that surrounded Keselowski during the Chase, who would have thought that it would’ve been a broken part at Martinsville that ultimately cost him a shot at this second championship. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com

117

5

-2

Denny Hamlin2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Portraits

In 2010, he lost a title he should have won. This year he lost a title he shouldn’t have been eligible for. So I guess it all evens out? Maybe not. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com

116

6

-1

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

Somewhat sad that bad pit calls in two of the last three races may have cost Gordon a championship and a race win, respectively. Now one has to wonder – will he ever get to this point again? Jim Noble, ESPN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio/PRN

113

7

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

Although he finished without a win, Kenseth showed the same consistency he has his entire career. Justin Tucker, Frontstretch.com

95

8

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

After such a successful 2014 season, Junior will likely ask Greg Ives to announce that 2015 will be his last season. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com

93

9

N/A

Jimmie Johnson2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Johnson finishes outside the top 10 in points for the first time ever. A very interesting season for the No. 48 team. Although he finished with four wins, something was missing the entire year. It will be very interesting to see if any changes are made and, if not, how the team performs in 2015. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com

74

10

-1

Kyle Larson2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Will have another kind of target on his back next year as the driver everyone expects to have a breakout season. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com

73

11

+2

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

Did just enough to hold on to his job for 2015 – pretty much his modus operandi every year. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com

65

12

+2

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

Really intrigued by the pairing of Kurt and crew chief Tony Gibson. On the track, this looks like a formidable team. But the domestic assault investigation is a cloud lurking over Kurt right now. Jim Noble, ESPN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio/PRN

53

13

-3

2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Kyle Busch

Kyle’s season outright fell apart after the crash at Talladega. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com

49

14

-3

Carl Edwards2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Carl Edwards moves on to Joe Gibbs Racing, a team that struggled to run up front consistently in 2014. Edwards might not improve his results. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com

48

15

N/A

Kasey Kahne2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

A new crew chief announcement for the No. 1 team means Keith Rodden will most likely return to Hendrick Motorsports as the crew chief for the No. 5 team, replacing Kenny Francis. 2015 is a contract year for Kahne and the Nationwide Series champion is waiting in the wings. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com

44

Others Receiving Votes: Clint Bowyer (28), Paul Menard (26), Greg Biffle (23), AJ Allmendinger (20), Aric Almirola (16), Martin Truex, Jr. (13), Austin Dillon (11), Justin Allgaier (2), Brian Vickers (1), Danica Patrick (1).

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Ray Miller

How about an in depth insight on who,what and why about 2015 less horsepower/ downforce. Who gains,loses? Why?

Dan

Unbelievable!!!!!! Newman and Hamlin ahead of Gordon in power rankings? Pretty much dominated the race. Poor restarts but would still blow by everyone in front in a few laps. So one bad call near the end of the race puts Gordon sixth in the power rankings? I would have bet if he would have had ten more laps on four fresh tires he would have finished no worse than second. Unbelievable!!!!!!!!

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