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NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Atlanta

Throughout the 2014 season, the question on everyone’s mind was, when will Jimmie Johnson win his first race of the year? Although Johnson went on to win four races in 2014, he was never a threat for the championship, opening the door for questions about the team and combination with crew chief Chad Knaus. The No. 48 has put those rumors to bed quickly in 2015, leading 92 laps and dominating the second half of the race in Atlanta on the way to his first win of the season.

Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano dominated the first half of the race before handing the reigns to Kevin Harvick, who led a race-high 116 laps and continued his streak of top-2 finishes. The two biggest surprises in the top 10 were 2014 Chase contender AJ Allmedinger (seventh) and one-race substitute Brett Moffitt (eighth), who filled in for Brian Vickers. Vickers returns to the seat in Las Vegas.

The storyline out of Atlanta, regretfully, was that for the second race in a row a driver found an inside, track-facing wall without a SAFER barrier. Jeff Gordon was caught up in a wreck for the second race in a row and had harsh words for NASCAR and Atlanta Motor Speedway regarding the lack of safety.

The first West coast swing starts next week in Las Vegas. But before the cross-country road trip begins, see if your favorite made our power rankings after Atlanta.

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

2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Joey Logano credit NASCARJoey Logano

Would be the youngest driver to win a championship since they invented the bagel slicer. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com

First Place Votes: 4

151

2

2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Kevin Harvick credit NASCARKevin Harvick

He’s so close to hitting paydirt once again. Those second-place finishes must grow on him. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com

First Place Votes: 2

150

3

 +1

2014 NASCAR Media Day - PortraitsJimmie Johnson

The new rules package agrees with him. Collective “Oh, $H!*” from the rest of the field. Amy Henderson, Frontstretch.com

First Place Votes: 2

148

4

 -1

2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Dale Earnhardt Jr credit NASCARDale Earnhardt, Jr.

Steve who? Just kidding. Kudos to Junior and Greg Ives making a swift and successful transition and immediate driver-crew chief chemistry. And Junior admitted after the Atlanta race he didn’t realize he was a good cheerleader too, like Letarte. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway

141

5

 +6

2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Martin Truex Jr credit NASCARMartin Truex, Jr.

Top-10 finishes in both races to open the season after recording a grand total of five in 2014. Can he do what Kurt Busch did for this organization a few years ago? Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway

First Place Votes: 1

121

6

 +4

2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Matt Kenseth credit NASCARMatt Kenseth

The JGR drivers have started the season strong. They just need to find a little better luck to pull off a win. Aimee Turner, Richmond International Raceway 

110

7

 +1

2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Kasey Kahne credit NASCARKasey Kahne

Even though he shares a shop with the No. 24, who’s shown he has a strong car the last two weeks, Kahne has finished ahead of Gordon, giving his shop bragging rights two weeks in a row. Aimee Turner, Richmond International Raceway

102

8

 +4

2015 NASCAR headshots CUP  Brad Keselowski credit NASCARBrad Keselowski

Solid on Sunday but hasn’t flashed that championship form yet. Good thing it’s early. Amy Henderson, Frontstretch.com

84

9

 -2

2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Clint Bowyer credit NASCARClint Bowyer

Clint Bowyer and team are ready to take a good start this season to multiple victory lanes. It’s early, but many victory lanes are vacant right now. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com

76

10

 N/A

2015 NASCAR headshots CUP AJ Allmendinger credit NASCARAJ Allmendinger

AJ Allmendinger and team are the upset squad. Allmendinger may snatch a checkered flag soon. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com

69

11

 +2

2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Carl Edwards credit NASCARCarl Edwards

Number one in terms of ugliest paint schemes so far in 2015. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com

68

12

 N/A

2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Aric Almirola credit NASCARAric Almirola

Aric Almirola is standing tall in the King’s shadow. He could be on the way to a very fast year. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com

59

13

 -8

2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Denny Hamlin credit NASCARDenny Hamlin

Fourth in Daytona and wrecked in Atlanta. Goes to show how quickly emotions can change from week to week. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com

57

14

 +1

2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Ryan Newman credit NASCARRyan Newman

Quietly logged a top-10 finish at Atlanta. Not sure these finishes will go under the radar this year after he surprised everyone by crashing the Chase party in Homestead last year with the same kind of performances. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com

54

15

 N/A

2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Casey Mears credit NASCARCasey Mears

In recent years, Mears and Germain Racing have been very strong at the beginning of the season. They’re basically the best full-time single car team in Sprint Cup right now. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com

49

Others Receiving Votes: Jeff Gordon (46), Greg Biffle (41), Paul Menard (27), Sam Hornish, Jr. (23), Danica Patrick (20), Austin Dillon (12), Kyle Larson (12), David Ragan (10), Breff Moffitt (9), Jamie McMurray (9), Regan Smith (6), Tony Stewart (4), Trevor Bayne (4), David Gilliland (2).

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About Michael Mehedin

Avatar
Mike starts his second year with the Frontstretch in 2014 working on a combination of promotional and marketing assignments. Managing the NASCAR Power Rankings (Wednesdays), he works with broadcast and writing experts from throughout the world of racing to produce the biggest national weekly poll on Sprint Cup competition. Also our resident Marketing Assistant, Mike handles day-to-day client responsibilities while settling into his new digs outside of Charlotte.