Everyone sort of expected Talladega Superspeedway to shake up the standings but I don’t think anyone expected the dramatic, forced ending that occurred in the final laps of the race. Even after NASCAR announced that it would be reducing the number of green-white-checkered attempts from three to one days before the event Sunday’s ultimate ending at Talladega Superspeedway was unpredictable, to say the least. It wasn’t the first time NASCAR had to return to video footage to determine the winner… and it won’t be the last.
Between the controversy of the GWC “attempts,” whether or not Kevin Harvick “accidentally” saved his Chase chances and the “abuse of quotation marks everywhere” Talladega created about the same type of jumble in our Power Rankings as it did in the Chase standings. With Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth out of the Chase – among others – where did our writers put them in the rankings? Keep reading to find out.
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!
Sweeping a round of the Chase clearly gives Logano momentum, but Martinsville won’t be easy for the youngster. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch
First Place Votes: 4
His teammate may be getting all the headlines but unlike 2014, Keselowski is quietly advancing through the Chase off of everyone’s radar. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch
Quietly advanced to the next round. But, heck, everyone advanced quietly compared to Logano. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch
There was no storybook ending for Earnhardt Jr. at Talladega but are we shaping up to see one with Gordon at Homestead? Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch
It appears that while Dick Trickle is the White Knight, Harvick is now the Black Knight. It’s a classic wresting heel character. However, diabolical behavior doesn’t go over well on short tracks. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch
| Kyle Busch|
Basically blamed the Chase format on what happened to teammate Kenseth at the end of the Talladega race. Um, I can’t imagine Busch wouldn’t pull strings of his own to make it to the championship. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch
Teammate Harvick has sort of overshadowed Busch this season but as a two-time Martinsville Speedway winner, you have to wonder if he can lock himself into the championship race this weekend. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch
Ran into Jimmie Johnson on that controversial non-attempt at a GWC at the end of the race. That and the disallowed qualifying run due to driving below the yellow line was about all we heard from Truex last weekend. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch
Responded to controversy with dignity and class. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for some of his so-called fans in the stands who littered the track (as well as other fans) with beer cans. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch
His spin in the infield is what caused NASCAR to call off the first GWC attempt at the end of the race. However, Johnson was not completely absent from the event as Hendrick Motorsports as a whole was fast all day. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch
I’m just as surprised as you are to see Menard here. Clearly, the late-race carnage helped Menard as he left the Alabama track with a sixth-place finish. Raise your hand if you noticed… (crickets). Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch
Logano may have a giant shell on his car but will Kenseth see a target instead this week at Martinsville? Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch
There will be no repeat of the underdog performance this driver put on in Homestead of last year. However, you have to imagine there will still be at least one darkhorse in the final race this season. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch
I felt bad for Justin Allgaier. I really did. But watching Bowyer back up into the No. 51 on pit road during qualifying was just a nice little reminder that we are all human and something I think we’ll look back on and laugh about at the end of the season. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch
Couldn’t latch on to the good run he needed at Talladega to advance. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch
Others Receiving Votes: Aric Almirola (20), Kasey Kahne (19), Kyle Larson (18), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (10), Jamie McMurray (6), Austin Dillon (6), Michael Waltrip (4), Casey Mears (3), Greg Biffle (3), Sam Hornish Jr. (1)