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NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Charlotte

Carl Edwards took advantage of fuel strategy to win his first race of 2015 and first driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. Edwards led only 25 laps but put himself in the lead by pitting with 62 laps to go and conserving fuel to the end, while the dominant cars were forced to pit. Meanwhile, Martin Truex, Jr. and Kurt Busch were the class of the field, leading a combined 249 of the 400 laps.

Although a few drivers had surprise finishes, like Greg Biffle, many of those that were strong in the All-Star Race kept the momentum up this weekend. The top 10 finishers in the All-Star Race all finished in the top 15 Sunday night.

After two weeks of home games, teams head north to the concrete “Monster” in Dover, Delaware. But first, see how your favorite driver ranks this week.

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

When a bad day is a ninth-place finish due to being on the wrong side of a fuel mileage race you know you are having a great season. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com

First Place Votes: 5

120

2

 +9

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

Dale, Jr’s 3.2 average finish on 1.5-mile tracks is impressive. However, the lack of a win on such tracks makes it all for naught. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com

80

3

 +3

Joey Logano2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Joey Logano credit NASCAR

Surprised a lot of people, including myself, with his lack of presence toward the top of the running order all night. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com

96

4

-1

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

Potential consolation to Truex and team is that Harvick went through several near misses early last season as well, and that turned out pretty good in the end. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com

94

5

 +3

Matt Kenseth2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Matt Kenseth credit NASCAR

Kenseth rattled off another solid top-5 finish by stretching fuel. It didn’t happen the way the pole-sitter expected, but I doubt he’ll complain. Dennis Michelsen, Frontstretch.com

89

6

  -4

Jimmie Johnson2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Jimmie Johnson and team may have hit the wall in Charlotte, and even with three wins in the bank, Johnson will likely bounce back before the Chase begins. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com 

84

7

 -2

Kurt Busch2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Kurt Busch credit NASCAR

Could easily have five wins this season. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com 

83

8

 -1

Brad Keselowski2015 NASCAR headshots CUP  Brad Keselowski credit NASCAR

Unfortunately for Team Penske, Brad Keselowski couldn’t bring it a win, leading the team with a seventh-place finish. Roger Penske should be alright, though. I heard he won some other race that day. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com

82

9

Denny Hamlin2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Denny Hamlin credit NASCAR

Thought he might win the All-Star/600 double but was only able to manage a top-10 finish. Still not bad all things considered. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com

63

10

 +1

Carl Edwards2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Carl Edwards credit NASCAR

Not sure what was more difficult for Edwards, nursing the car home on fumes or fighting his way out of the stands. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com

62

11

 -7

Jeff Gordon2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Jeff Gordon credit NASCAR

Have to wonder whether Jeff Gordon will win during his final season. A win or two would give him more to talk about next year when he moves into the Fox TV booth. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com

61

12

  +1

Ryan Newman2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Ryan Newman credit NASCAR

That’s right, he’s still top 10-ing everyone to death. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com

59

13

 -1

Kasey Kahne2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Kasey Kahne credit NASCAR

Probably won the award for most cars passed. Started in the 30s, made it into the top 10, got a speed penalty, raced for the lucky dog and ended up 12th. Surely not the finish he was expecting but could have been a lot worse. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com

52

14

Aric Almirola2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Aric Almirola credit NASCAR

Another top 20 for Almirola, who has become the king of “just good enough” this season when it comes to the points standings. Still, as new drivers keep winning, the margin for error is getting slimmer. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com

36

15

 N/A

Greg Biffle2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Greg Biffle credit NASCAR

Honestly, how many people would have guessed Biffle would have been the shining star for Roush-Fenway Racing Sunday night? Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com

35

Others Receiving Votes: Jamie McMurray (34), Paul Menard (30), Kyle Busch (28), Austin Dillon (13), Clint Bowyer (11), Danica Patrick (6), Kyle Larson (5), Landon Cassill (1).

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About Michael Mehedin

Michael Mehedin
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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3 comments

  1. Avatar

    I get why Newman isn’t getting a lot of respect as he has not run up front or seriously challenged for a win. However, it looks like despite the 50-point penalty he is on the road to repeating last years performance wherein he finished second in season-ending points with Harvick out-pointing him by 1. Eight top-10’s and no DNF’s in eleven races…add the 50 points back in and you have a driver tied for 5th with JJ in the standings. RCR clearly is no longer one of the powerhouse teams but Newman has been a master at getting all he can out of what he’s got!

  2. Avatar

    ..but then again, it seems no team is hitting the “superstar” status thus far. It is a weird season so far, imo. And boring as all hell. This aero package is worse than the last one they hoisted on the poor public.

  3. Avatar

    ..what is going on wit the Penske camp? Not looking too good compared to the same time last year.