And then there was one… race left. One race remains to set the field for the 2015 Chase for the Sprint Cup. But someone outshone the fact that there is only one race left, and her name is the Lady in Black. Opening her doors on Labor Day weekend for the first time in more than a decade, it looked more like the 1970s than 2015. A large majority of drivers showed up with throwback paint schemes and uniforms, and ironically, a non-throwback car won the race. Carl Edwards now holds two wins this season at two of the biggest marquee races; the Coca-Cola 600 and the Southern 500.
11 drivers have wins this season and clinched their spot in the Chase. That leaves only five positions available amongst a lot of hungry drivers including Jeff Gordon, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, Paul Menard, Clint Bowyer, the list goes on and on. The goal is simple. Win the race. If not, you better have enough points.
Next week’s regular-season finale is once again shaping up to be a thriller. Don’t miss any of the action. But before they throw the green flag, see if your favorite made the top 15 in this week’s 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!
This man likely would have won, or at least snagged his 11th second-place finish of the year had that last yellow not been thrown. He has to be frustrated at being so close to winning, but not breaking through. He could have 10 wins by now. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch
First Place Votes: 3
Still younger than Austin Dillon and has been the best driver this season. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com
First Place Votes: 2
Given all of his success still relatively early in his Sprint Cup career, it probably came as a surprise to many that none of his 17 victories came in one of the sport’s marquee events. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch
Will this be the year that Busch stays off the wall during the Chase? If he does he should be racing for the Cup in the final laps at Homestead. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
If you’re going to do only two backflips through 25 races, Edwards certainly picked the right two events. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch
Earnhardt Jr. struggled early in the weekend, but came through for a good finish. Problem is, I’m not sure if anyone that matters thinks that the finish was good enough. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch
Hamlin has been left out of the JGR party over the past two months. Look for him to change that this week in Richmond. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch
Why do I feel that he will find a way to ruin his chances in this elimination format? Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com
Johnson’s Sunday night was rather bizarre. He ran OK, spun out, got the track position back, then lost a lap. Dude has no luck lately. Phil Allway, Frontstretch
Cinderella story is still possible because this team, and driver, never makes an unforced error. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com
Despite a good pace, Kenseth’s past couple of weeks have been rather painful. He’s lucky Sunday’s race had as much wrecking as it did. He should have finished 30th instead of 21st. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch
Newman will likely make the Chase again without a win. Consistency paid off again, but will it continue and keep him in contention at Homestead? Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
All McMurray has to do is start the race and he will make the 2015 Chase. That’s it. Just start the car and take the green flag. That’s IT. Mike Mehedin, Frontstretch
Retirement season came one year too late. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com
Bowyer has stuck Almirola in “Dormie.” Good luck getting into the Chase now. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch