Ask anyone and they would tell you that a win was inevitable once Kurt Busch returned behind the wheel of the No. 41. He came close a few times but finally closed the deal, leading 291 laps and winning his first race of the season at Richmond. Oh, and by the way, he’s now all but locked into the 2015 Chase.
Another rain delay didn’t keep the strong teams from making it to the front of the pack, even if they started in the rear. It was a strong showing for the top Power Ranking drivers, too. Seven of the top 10 after Bristol finished in the top 10 at Richmond, including four of the top 5.
Next up is the ‘wild card’ at Talladeg where, as you know, anything can happen. Will we have a surprise winner? How about a wreck-fest? Before we answer all of those questions, let’s see how your favorite fared this week in the 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!
Harvick’s 6.4 average finish is a full 6.5 positions better than he managed in his 2014 championship campaign. And he’s halfway to last year’s top 10 total, too. Scary stuff. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
First Place Votes: 5
Once again, Logano was strong early on, but faded. Team Penske is doing a better job at keeping up with the adjustments, though. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com
Just in case there were those still wondering if Johnson would get back to championship form – for the last two weeks – the No. 48 team came back to record a top 3 after being considered all but out of contention. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
Keselowski has a win and six top 10s on the year, but he’s still been surprisingly quiet through the early stages of the season. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
Martin Truex, Jr. continues to have a productive year. He and the No. 78 team might repeat Ryan Newman’s winless entry into the Chase. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
We all knew Gordon would return to form sooner than later. The legend finally cracked the top 10 in points after scoring his sixth top 10 in a row. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
He must be sore after carrying the entire JGR team on his back at Richmond. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
Kasey Kahne keeps proving he can come from the back and finish strong. A checkered flag awaits him and team. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
McMurray overcame adversity to be the only driver to seriously challenge Kurt Busch in the second half of the race. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com
Kurt Busch really needed a win to boost his troubled mood. Driver and team support in the garage was up as well. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.comm
Looks like the Achilles Heel for Greg Ives might be the short tracks after the No. 88 bunch recorded finishes of 36th, 16th and 14th at Martinsville, Bristol and Richmond, respectively. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
Talk about feast-or-famine. Hamlin has a win and three top 5s but also has five finishes outside of the top 20. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
Penalty? No problem. I’ll just do what I did last year and bust out top 1o after top 10. It’s all about consistency, remember? Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com
Almirola’s consistency has him sitting 11th in points at the quarter mark of the season, but his lack of a single top 10 is still pretty worrying. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
Menard shocked the field, leading 200 laps and dominating at Richmond! Nah, just kidding. He came home 15th without a lap led. Typical ‘slightly above average’ showing from the mutton-chop missile. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com