“Playoffs? Don’t talk about—playoffs?! You kidding me? Playoffs?! I just hope we can win a game!”
So former coach Jim Mora said when his Indianapolis Colts limped out to a 4-6 record to begin the 2001 NFL season.
Unfortunately for Mora, his Colts would only win two more games that season. He was ultimately fired, and replaced by Tony Dungy, who would go on to lead the Colts to five-straight division titles and a 2006 Super Bowl victory.
Much like Mora, the 16 teams that just clinched their spot in the Chase grid probably don’t want to talk about playoffs – or as NASCAR calls it, the Chase. However, the postseason has finally arrived, and much like Mora, each driver in the field just hopes to win a race.
16 teams will compete for the Sprint Cup Series championship, but only 10 were deemed worthy of cracking our power rankings after Denny Hamlin’s strong showing at Richmond International Raceway.
Let’s see who made the cut.
POWER RANKINGS: Federated Auto Parts 400 Edition
1. DENNY HAMLIN (81 POINTS, +3)
2. KEVIN HARVICK (80 POINTS, -1)
3. BRAD KESELOWSKI (77 POINTS, -1)
“He appears to be the dark horse candidate to win the Chase for many, and for good reason.” – Utter
“The new NASCAR Heat Evolution game includes challenges where players attempt to recreate drives that occurred in real life. If the makers of the game are smart, Larson’s run from the final restart to the finish on Saturday will quickly be added.” – Bearden
7. JOEY LOGANO (40 POINTS, -2)
10. JAMIE MCMURRAY (16 POINTS, Prev. Unranked)
CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR
Good news: Despite struggling summers, both of these previous champions made the Chase.
Bad news: They’ll both need to step things up if they want to survive the first few rounds.
Jimmie Johnson (10 Points) – “The No. 48 team is getting better, but they’re making mistakes left and right. They’re nowhere near as efficient as they once were.” – Allaway
|AnnoyingRaceFan||@AnnoyingRaceFan||I’M @annoyingracefan ON TWITTER (AND INSTAGRAM). PEOPLE CALL ME ARF. I’M A RELATIVE NOBODY.|
|Brian Eberly||@beberly18||Writer, Rubbings Racing, Motor Racing Digest|
|Mike Hembree||@MikeHembree||Writer, USA Today|
|Ben Hinc||@lemonlovr||Owner, The Apex|
|Jerry Jordan||@kicknthetires||Owner, Kicknthetires.Net|
|Pete McCole||@PeteMcCole||NASCAR Writer, AutoRacing1.com|
|The Orange Cone||@TheOrangeCone||I am an orange traffic cone.|
|Kyle Pokrefky||@KPokrefky||Writer, The Fourth Turn|
|Reid Spencer||@Reid_Spencer||Lead Writer, NASCAR Wire Service|
|Doug Turnbull||@DougTurnbull||Announcer, PRN Live, Atlanta Motor Speedway|
|Jim Utter||@jim_utter||NASCAR Editor, Motorsport.com|
How they’re made: Following the conclusion of each NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, members of a voting panel, including Frontstretch writers, members of accredited media including Motorsport, NASCAR and USA Today, as well as writers from other sites and social media favorites submit their top 10 drivers for the Power Rankings. The drivers are then given points based off their position, with first place getting 10 points, and each subsequent driver getting one fewer point until the 10th-place driver, who gets just one. Points are then tallied, and the rankings are created.
Do you agree with our rankings? Think someone got snubbed, or that one of the top drivers is overrated? Let us know in the comments, and tell others what your top 10 would be.
About the author
A graduate of Ball State, Aaron rejoins Frontstretch for his second season in 2016 following a successful year that included covering seven races and starting the popular "Two-Headed Monster" column in 2015. Now in his third year of covering motorsports, Aaron serves as an Assistant Editor for Frontstretch while also contributing to other popular sites including Speed51 and The Apex. He encourages you to come say hi when you see him at the track.
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