(Photo: CIA Stock Photo, Inc. ©2015)

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2015 Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix

And then there were four. After waiting all afternoon and into the evening for weather to clear, Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the rain-shortened race at Phoenix. It was Junior’s third win of the season, keeping a potential Chase driver from winning his way into the championship race at Homestead.

The final four drivers heading into Homestead represent four different race teams:
Jeff Gordon – Hendrick Motorsports
Kevin Harvick – Stewart-Haas Racing
Kyle Busch – Joe Gibbs Racing
Martin Truex Jr. – Furniture Row Racing

Next week’s finale at Homestead is sure to be exciting. Not only because a champion will be crowned but because the sport is saying farewell to Gordon, who is retiring from full-time racing. But before the champagne is sprayed, see where your favorite driver ranks after Phoenix.

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 Harvick

Harvick is looking to become just the second back-to-back Sprint Cup champion since Gordon in 1997-98 (see Jimmie Johnson era as the other), but he is coming off his 12th runner-up finish of the season at Phoenix and arriving at a track he has been consistently solid. He has posted seven consecutive top-10 finishes at Homestead-Miami and 12 of 14 in his career. He certainly could be “Happy” Harvick on Sunday night. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway

First Place Votes: 5

100

2

                                                     Kyle Busch

Looking to join every NASCAR trivia game from now to eternity as the champion to miss the most races. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch 

95

3

+1

                                                    Jeff Gordon
2014 NASCAR Cup Jeff Gordon headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALL

Gordon could close the last chapter in his storybook career with historic impact at Homestead. Legions of NASCAR fans hope for him. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com 

88

4

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

The biggest underdog story since arguably Alan Kulwicki rolls on to the Championship 4. Can he do one spot better than last year’s underdog, Ryan Newman? Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch  

83

5

+4

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

A win is a win. I’m sure Earnhardt’s not exactly complaining about how he won Sunday night. Winning on a non-plate track is important for the team’s future, regardless. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch

 

74

6

 N/A

                                                  Joey Logano

2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Joey Logano credit NASCARGiven his season and overall consistency, Logano was slated to be one of those four contenders in the Championship Round but the incident with Kenseth at Martinsville all but sunk those hopes. The series leader in wins (six) and poles (six) can play the spoiler but also culminate a career-best season with a win in the season finale. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway 

73

7

 +1

                                                       Kurt Busch
2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Kurt Busch credit NASCAR

Busch is likely kicking himself due to his quick trigger finger at the start. He never made up all the space. Should be happy he finished on the lead lap, knowing that the race ended up rain-shortened. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch 

66

8

-1

                                                   Carl Edwards
2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Carl Edwards credit NASCAR

Edwards got close to a championship again, but he can highlight his good season with a winning back flip at HMS. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com 

65

9

 -3

                                                     Jimmie Johnson

2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Johnson is closing strong as he often does during the Chase, but the big, gold championship door has slammed in his way this year. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com 

63

10

 

-7

                                                     Brad Keselowski
2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Brad Keselowski credit NASCAR

2015 has been vastly different than 2014 for Kez. But it ends the same way, with championship elimination at Phoenix. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch 

60

11

 +4

                                                     Denny Hamlin
2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Denny Hamlin credit NASCAR

Oh, what could’ve been for Hamlin, had he not suffered issues at Talladega. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch 

49

12

 +1

                                                    Ryan Newman
2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Ryan Newman credit NASCAR

Newman’s as consistent as they come with Richard Childress Racing, but will he ever make it back to Victory Lane? Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch 

44

13

 -3

                                                     Jamie McMurray
2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Jamie McMurray credit NASCAR

It’s been a decent year for Jamie Mac. Nothing more, nothing less. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch

41

14

 -2

                                                      Paul Menard
2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Paul Menard credit NASCAR

Ready to get back to the early season, where he excels. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch 

29

15

N/A

                                                      Aric Almirola
2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Aric Almirola credit NASCAR

Quietly very, very solid these days. It’s really quite interesting how the No. 43 soldiers along while Sam Hornish Jr. has struggled so much. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch

28

Others Receiving Votes: Matt Kenseth (19), Clint Bowyer (18), Kyle Larson (16), Danica Patrick (10), Austin Dillon (9), Kasey Kahne (9), Greg Biffle (2), Casey Mears (2), Erik Jones (1)

Participants: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch; Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch; Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com; Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch; Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway

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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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