NASCAR Race Weekend Central

The 10: NASCAR Cup Series Power Rankings After Sonoma

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series made the annual trek to Napa Valley this weekend. The Sonoma Raceway has enough twists and turns to make one feel like they’ve just downed an entire bottle of vintage wine. From the carousel to the hairpin, it’s all about lefts and rights, up and downs. Plus, let’s be honest, only road courses are awesome enough to have named corners.

California native Kevin Harvick showed the field that he hasn’t forgotten how to wheel it around a road course. 11 years after his first win on such a circuit, Harvick vindicated himself for several near misses at Sonoma. Harvick’s first win of 2017 also put Stewart-Haas Racing back into Victory Lane for the first time since the season-opener at Daytona.

Now, about these Power Rankings: Like a fine Merlot, our contributors get better with age. Well, at least we think so. The track may weave left and right but neither the turns nor the spirits went to our heads. But now that the list is complete, were we able to keep our focus on the pavement? Or did we bury it up to the axles in a gravel trap? You decide.

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 10 on a 10-9-8-7… 3-2-1 basis, giving 10 points to their first-place driver, 9 for second, and so on. In the end, Frank Velat calculates the points, adds some funny one-liners, and… here you go!

Rank
Change
Name
Total Votes

1

 +1
2017 Cup Kyle Larson Headshot
(Photo: NASCAR)

Kyle Larson

Very fast on a single-lap, but could not hold up the pace over a run.  Not shocking.  Not the first driver to be in that boat at Sonoma Raceway. – Phil Allaway, Frontstretch

First Place Votes: 5

50

2

 -1
2017 Cup Martin Truex Jr Headshot
(Photo: NASCAR)

Martin Truex Jr.

Only the second DNF of the season for Truex, but you have to wonder if he would have been the car to beat had his engine not expired. – Pete McCole, Auto Racing 1

45

3

(Tie)

 

2017 Cup Kyle Busch Headshot
(Photo: NASCAR)

Kyle Busch

Top fives are not a problem for the No. 18 team.  Busch got his sixth of the year in a torn up car.  Winning, however…. – Bryan Gable, Frontstretch

38

3

(Tie)

2017 Cup Jimmie Johnson Headshot

Jimmie Johnson

I don’t know what is more surprising: the fact that Johnson won his first stage of the season at Sonoma, or that he was unable to get back to the front after winning the stage. – Bryan Gable

38

5

 +1
2017 Cup Brad Keselowski Headshot
(Photo: NASCAR)

Brad Keselowski

For a guy with his record at Sonoma, Brad almost looked like Robby Gordon out there. I bet Robby could have told him a good way to get a late race caution. – Frank Velat, Frontstretch

 

30

6

 +3

2017 Cup Kevin Harvick Headshot
(Photo: NASCAR)

Kevin Harvick

It was only a matter of time before the Bakersfield, CA native returned to Victory Lane. Hope those Bloomin’ Onions tasted like a NASCAR victory on Monday! – Rob Tiongson, The Podium Finish

29

7

 2
2017 Cup Chase Elliott Headshot
(Photo: NASCAR)

Chase Elliott

A top 10 at Sonoma is a great result for someone who has only raced there twice before (once in Cup and once in the K&N Pro Series West). – Phil Allaway

22

8

 -1
2017 Cup Jamie McMurray Headshot
(Photo: NASCAR)

Jamie McMurray

Let’s give some props to Jamie Mac who might be coming back (to Victory Lane) pretty quickly with these great July races at Daytona, Kentucky, Loudon, and Indianapolis. – Rob Tiongson

21

9

 -1

2017 Cup Denny Hamlin Headshot
(Photo:NASCAR)

Denny Hamlin

Did you know Denny Hamlin has only one finish outside the top 12 since Bristol, including back-to-back fourth-place finishes? Yeah, me neither. Heck, I’m not convinced Denny even knew.  – Frank Velat

19

10

 

2017 Cup Joey Logano Headshot
(Photo: NASCAR)

Joey Logano

Looks like he had a top five car until a late-race speeding penalty did him in. – Pete McCole

 

11

Others Receiving Votes: Ryan Blaney (10); Clint Bowyer (1)

Who Voted: Bryan Gable, Frontstretch; Pete McCole, Auto Racing 1; Phil Allaway, Frontstretch; Frank Velat, Frontstretch; Rob Tiongson, The Podium Finish.

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