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Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2015 STP 500 at Martinsville

It seems, for the time being, that Joe Gibbs Racing is back. JGR cars took three of the top-five finishing positions at Martinsville including David Ragan (fifth), Matt Kenseth (fourth) and winner Denny Hamlin. Carl Edwards finished in 17th position. Hamlin did not lead the most laps, but he led the one that mattered most, grabbing his fifth win at Martinsville.

Perhaps the biggest story to come out of Martinsville is the fact that Kevin Harvick’s top-two finishing streak finally came to an end. Althought he led a race-high 154 laps, Harvick finished eighth. It was not the debut Chase Elliott was hoping for, as early crash damage put his No. 25 car behind the wall for a number of laps. Elliott wound up finishing in 38th place.

A number of drivers turned some heads with their strong, and poor, finishes. Notables in the top 10 included Danica Patrick (seventh) and the aforementioned Ragan, while Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were both involved in on-track incidents and finished 35th and 36th, respectively. In the end, six of the top 10 in the Power Rankings after California finished in the top 10 at Martinsville.

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

At least he won’t finish first or second for the first 35 races and still lose the championship in the showdown race to make a complete mockery of the system. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com

First Place Votes: 7

140

2

Joey Logano2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Joey Logano credit NASCAR

Logano took two poles and one grandfather clock home from Martinsville, and came tantalizingly close to a second clock. If his missing piece was consistency, the competition could be in trouble. Amy Henderson, Frontstretch

129

3

Brad Keselowski2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Brad Keselowski credit NASCAR

Look out. Keselowski and Wolfe are back. The duo played the strategy right for the second straight week to have a shot at the end. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch

119

4

 +1

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

How good are Truex and Furniture Row Racing? They have one more top 10s (six) than the entirety of Richard Childress Racing, with whom they are affiliated. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch

115

5

 +9

Denny Hamlin2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Denny Hamlin credit NASCAR

Wondering if Denny keeps each of his grandfather clocks set to different time zones around the world so that he can truly know its five o’clock somewhere. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch

95

6

 +3

Kasey Kahne2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Kasey Kahne credit NASCAR

Kahne’s been the best in the Hendrick stable in 2015 after a year of being a Shetland pony amongst thoroughbreds. Amy Henderson, Frontstretch

93

7

 -3

Matt Kenseth2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Matt Kenseth credit NASCAR

Kenseth found himself with a chance to win his first race since 2013, which is comforting even if he had to settle for fourth. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch 

91

8

 -4

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

Somehow was still in position to earn a decent finish before his wreck, despite having to throw shifters at the car every 50 laps. That crew is good. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch

78

9

 -2

Ryan Newman2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Ryan Newman credit NASCAR

Newman looked like a favorite for Sunday’s race, but fell to a disappointing 27th-place finish. And after Tuesday’s penalties, that 27th will hurt even more. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch

77

10

 -4

Jimmie Johnson2014 NASCAR Cup Jimmie Johnson headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALL

Johnson and team seem to be slipping down the standings, but they aren’t likely to get down to Tony Stewart‘s level. Johnson and team know how to rebound. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com

70

11

 -3

Jeff Gordon2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Jeff Gordon credit NASCAR

During Gordon’s restart negotiation, I immediately thought of the scene in Aladdin when he reached out to Jasmine just before the magic carpet ride and asked, “Do you trust me?” Matt apparently jumped on board the magic No. 24 carpet. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch

68

12

 +1

Aric Almirola2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Aric Almirola credit NASCAR

Almirola continues to keep the King’s team in upper numbers. The No. 43 could shine even brighter this season. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com

64

13

 -2

Paul Menard2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Paul Menard credit NASCAR

With Newman’s penalty, Menard is now the best RCR driver in points (seventh). He’s likely going to have to carry the baton for the next couple months. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch

58

14

 N/A

Jamie McMurray2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Jamie McMurray credit NASCAR

Jamie Mac isn’t great so far, but his second top 10 coming in the first six races offers a glimmer of hope for Ganassi fans. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch

48

15

 -3

Kurt Busch2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Kurt Busch credit NASCAR

On the rise but hit a roadblock Sunday. Amy Henderson, Frontstretch

42

Others Receiving Votes: David Ragan (36), Carl Edwards (35), Clint Bowyer (28), Danica Patrick (27), Casey Mears (25), Greg Biffle (10), Austin Dillon (8), AJ Allmendinger (4), Kyle Larson (3), Tony Stewart (2), Trevor Bayne (2), Regan Smith (1)

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