(Photo: NASCAR via Getty Images)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Fontana

Kevin Harvick came awfully close to sweeping the west coast swing but had to battle his Stewart-Haas teammate Kurt Busch to do so. What they didn’t see was Brad Keselowski and his four fresh tires (Harvick and Busch only took two) who passed them both on the second green-white-checkered finish to score his first win of 2015. Keselowski led only one lap – the one that mattered – and now both Team Penske drivers are now locked into the Chase.

There has been a lot of debate already about NASCAR and its debris caution affecting the outcome of the race. Sprint Cup Series Managing Director, Richard Buck, answered questions following the race regarding the decision to throw debris cautions but not to throw a caution when Greg Biffle crashed on the frontstretch after the field took the white flag. NASCAR’s decision to finish the race under green was also defended by Steve O’Donnell.

After three weeks on the west coast, teams head back to the east coast to the first short track race of the season at Martinsville Speedway. While teams make the trek across the country, 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

Kevin Ha2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Kevin Harvick Jimmy Johns credit NASCARrvick

Just think how disappointing it’s going to be when he finishes third. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com

First Place Votes: 7

159

2

Joey Logano2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Joey Logano credit NASCAR

Best of the non-Chevy teams so far. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com

142

3

 +3

Brad Keselowski2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Brad Keselowski credit NASCAR

All the talk has been about his Penske teammate since Joey Logano won the Daytona 500, but Keselowski picked up his first win at California. If you haven’t noticed, he also has four top-10 finishes in his five starts. He’s lurking. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway

139

4

 +4

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

Sterling Marlin once called Greg Biffle a “bug-eyed dummy.” Earnhardt wishes he’d thought of it first after a bad block left him scrambling. Amy Henderson, Frontstretch.com

127

5

 -2

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

Truex is for real this season and he has quite an inspiration to succeed in girlfriend Sherry Pollex. He joined Harvick and Logano as the only drivers to record top-10 finishes in all five starts this season. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway

 

126

6

 +1

Jimmie Johnson2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

After scoring a dominant win at Atlanta, many expected Johnson to take over, but Sunday’s ninth-place finish was his only top 10 on the west coast swing. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com 

117

7

 -2

Ryan Newman2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Ryan Newman credit NASCAR

Ryan Newman seems to be repeating his consistent 2014 results. A win would really boost his steady efforts. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com 

115

8

 +6

Jeff Gordon2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Jeff Gordon credit NASCAR

Shocked the entire NASCAR world by not only missing all of the hard wall spots at a track, but also finished the race. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com

79

9

 -5

Kasey Kahne2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Kasey Kahne credit NASCAR

California girls will have to wait another year. Kasey Kahne struggled to a 17th-place finish at Fontana, dropping him to eighth in points. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com

78

10

 

Matt Kenseth2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Matt Kenseth credit NASCAR

Kenseth led 43 laps and looked to be in position to win his first race since 2013 when a mechanical failure ruined everything. Still, Joe Gibbs Racing fans have something to be optimistic about. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com

77

11

 +4

Paul Menard2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Paul Menard credit NASCAR

Paul Menard would be a great guy to follow through speed traps on highways. He keeps slipping under the radar and logging top 10s. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com

75

12

 +1

Kurt Busch2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Kurt Busch credit NASCAR

A couple weeks ago, Kevin Harvick was a huge title favorite. Now his teammate wants that distinction and is working hard on taking it. Amy Henderson, Frontstretch.com

First Place Votes: 1

70

13

 N/A

Aric Almirola2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Aric Almirola credit NASCAR

Aric Almirola continues to take the King’s banner to upper-level results. Another win would help shine that crown a bit. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com

59

14

 N/A

Denny Hamlin2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Denny Hamlin credit NASCAR

Good to see Hamlin walk away from Fontana knowing he will race next weekend at Martinsville. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com

58

15

 -6

AJ Allmendinger2015 NASCAR headshots CUP AJ Allmendinger credit NASCAR

After a great start to the season, Allmendinger fell back to Earth Sunday after the engine turned traitor in the first 10 laps. No real idea what the team could have accomplished on all eight cylinders. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com

47

Others Receiving Votes: Carl Edwards (42), Jamie McMurray (37), Kyle Larson (28), Justin Allgaier (24), Austin Dillon (21), David Ragan (16), Casey Mears (13), Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (8), Clint Bowyer (7), Tony Stewart (4), Chris Buescher (2), Greg Biffle (2).

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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.

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