Another rain delay and another late finish. This time Jimmie Johnson took advantage of a late-race caution and chose track position over tires/fuel to claim his season-leading third victory. Kevin Harvick led the second-most laps (53), but after pitting and taking two tires, was unable to catch Johnson in the few laps remaining. He managed another second-place finish, though.
Talladega might be a wild card race but, as you saw, the best drivers still came out on top. That continued at Kansas as nine of the top 10 in Power Rankings after Talladega took all top 9 positions at Kansas. The only driver to finish outside the top 10 was Jamie McMurray, who finished a respectable 13th.
Up next are possibly two of the most exciting weeks of the NASCAR season. First up is the All-Star race this Saturday, followed by the “best day in racing” which includes Formula 1 at Monaco, the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 Memorial Day weekend. But before the action heats up at Charlotte, see how your favorite driver ranked after Kansas.
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!
Still next to invincible on intermediate tracks. There’s got to be something that they’ve discovered over there. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com
First Place Votes: 2
The No. 48 is en fuego. Johnson’s win at Kansas allowed him to become the first three-time winner this season and has top-3 finishes in his last five starts. This streak could easily extend since the next points stop is Charlotte, where he is the all-time victory leader with seven, and defending champion of the Coca-Cola 600. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway
First Place Votes: 3
Junior said after his win at Talladega that he is relieved and doesn’t have to worry about the Chase now. A third-place finish at Kansas showed that he is still going for wins. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com
Logano’s sixth top 5 finish in eleven races has him sitting pretty in points. Still, it’s hard to believe he hasn’t gotten back to Victory Lane again after that Daytona 500 triumph. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
He’s now back to 2013 form, where he was leading laps and knocking on doors. It will be a matter of time before he finds his way to Victory Lane again. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
Early season trouble gone, Gordon has done all but get into victory lane in his last season. With another top 5 on his resumé, that win should be on the way soon. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
It took me half the weekend to figure out what Avaya was. Thankfully Kez ran up front to give me a good look at it en-route to a seventh-place finish. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
Wondering what the heck happened after he wasn’t in Victory Lane following a rain delay. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
He’s put himself in the top 15 in points despite missing the first three races. That has to be quite the accomplishment. He’s essentially been Harvick’s equal since his return. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com
Newman is hoping interim crew chief Todd Parrot can prepare his cars like it’s 1999, when Parrot led Dale Jarrett to a championship. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
The All-Star Race is this weekend, the site of McMurray’s last win. He needs to get better at winning points-paying races, though. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com
I don’t know what is more surprising – Almirola being 11th in points or Almirola being 11th in points without recording a top-10 finish this season. He edged closer last week at Kansas, nearly notching one with a season-best 11th. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway
Kahne’s up-and-down season continues. The past five races he has two top 10s and two finishes outside the top 30. Add to that a ‘decent’ finish of 17th at Kansas. Looks like another nail-biter come Richmond if he doesn’t get a win. Luckily he doesn’t have to worry about a contract extension. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com
We’re getting to the time of year when Menard traditionally fades, and an 18th-place showing at Kansas did nothing to convince his fans that it won’t happen again this season. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com
Hamlin was having a decent night until he rubbed against Sam Hornish, Jr. Then, it fell apart like a ton of bricks. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com
Others Receiving Votes: AJ Allmendinger (18), Greg Biffle (15), Clint Bowyer (12), Danica Patrick (11), Kyle Larson (10), Sam Hornish, Jr. (8), Austin Dillon (5), Carl Edwards (5).