After two weeks, Kevin Harvick was tired of being the bridesmaid. For the second week in a row he led the most laps, but this time that number included the most important lap winning the race at Las Vegas. With his third top-2 finish of the season, Harvick further solidified his lead in the points but more importantly punched his ticket into the 2015 Chase.
Three races into the season, the championship front-runners continue to march their way up the Power Rankings. Seven of the top 10 Power Ranking drivers from Atlanta finished in the top 10 at Las Vegas.
The “Most Surprising Start to the Season” award goes to Jeff Gordon. Although he won two of the first three poles of the season, Gordon has yet to finish in the top 10 and scored a season best of 18th this past weekend. That’s most certainly not the start to his farewell season anyone was expecting.
Week two of the West Coast swing is this coming weekend at Phoenix. Kevin Harvick won both races at Phoenix in 2014. Looking at trends, it seems like Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 team is unstoppable right now. But before we hand him the checkered flag, let’s see if your favorite driver made the top 15 in this week’s Power Rankings.
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!
The closer did what he does best on Sunday… closed. With six straight top-2 finishes and a Chase berth, the defending champ is looking unstoppable. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
First Place Votes: 7
Took a gamble with two tires, and it didn’t pay off. But at least Greg Ives isn’t worried about laying low in his transition to the big leagues. Aimee Turner, Richmond International Raceway
Had his worst finish of 2015 Sunday. Finished 10th. He’s not just “that kid” anymore. Amy Henderson, Frontstretch.com
Truex is keeping his excellent form up so far. The team has a grand total of one victory in Sprint Cup (2011 at Darlington with Regan Smith) but has never been closer to getting No. 2. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com
He isn’t sure how Junior took the horseshoe either. Did you really want to know anyway? Amy Henderson, Frontstretch.com
Recorded his second top-5 finish (P5 at Las Vegas) in three starts, and the best of the Gibbs bunch so far. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway
JTG-Daugherty Racing has never been better than it is at the moment. Consecutive top10s at intermediate tracks (single-car team’s kryptonite) just shows how far the team has come. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com
Kasey Kahne may be tired of the bad luck he has had for the past two years or so. Carl Edwards got a bump in Vegas from Kahne after he caused damage to the No. 5 car. Edwards apologized, but other drivers should take note. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
Ryan Newman continues to get consistent results. Not front row yet, but he could get close enough to win this season. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
I’m starting to wonder if my four-year-old son’s Brad Keselowski voodoo doll racecar is the real thing. Think I may start sleeping with one eye open. Aimee Turner, Richmond International Raceway
Second top 10 in a row but seems to be flying under the radar with the attention Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin are receiving. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com
Roush Fenway Racing hasn’t looked good in 2015, but Greg Biffle is doing his best to compete. The “Biff” brought his Ford home in 14th to move to 11th in points. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
Casey Mears finds himself still in the top 10. His name certainly is used to glory days, and he may finally be in for a great year. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
No matter what happened on Sunday; whether drivers flourished, struggled or crashed, Paul Menard found a way to run in 12th, which is where he finished. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
In an interesting turn of events, Brian Vickers returned to Sprint Cup Series racing and may just be the best MWR driver this year. Watch out Bowyer or you’ll end up being the forgotten one. Aimee Turner, Richmond International Raceway
Others Receiving Votes: Kyle Larson (32), Jeff Gordon (30), Aric Almirola (19), Brian Vickers (19), Carl Edwards (18), Austin Dillon (16), David Gilliland (8), Regan Smith (7), Brian Scott (3), Jamie McMurray (3), Ryan Blaney (1), Tony Stewart (1).
Participants: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com; Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com; Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com; Amy Henderson, Frontstretch.com; Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com; Aimee Turner, Richmond International Raceway; Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway