The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series finished off the 2017 campaign with a stellar championship battle this weekend. The finale has become an annual trip to the part of the country better known for alligators and pastel suits. South Florida set the scene and the title contenders delivered, with each of the four making a valiant effort to capture the prize.
In the end, Martin Truex Jr. did what he had done most of the season: win on 1.5 mile tracks. The difference this time was that he had to pedal hard in order to outpace Kyle Busch, who was in his tire tracks throughout the closing laps. For a driver who came into the season with seven career wins, it was stunning to see his No. 78 Toyota Camry in Victory Lane for the eighth time in 2017. While it certainly didn’t come easy, there’s no doubt that Truex was a deserving champion.
Now for the Power Rankings finale. Our brain trust assembled one last time to debate who else was deserving of a spot on the list and rank them as such. But did they get it right? Or do they only deserve to be shown the door? 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, nine for second and so on. In the end, Frank Velat calculates the points, adds some funny one-liners and… here you go!
The best driver during the regular season won the championship, just as it should have been. – Pete McCole, Auto Racing 1
First-Place Votes: 5
Considering who brought out the caution that hurt his strategy, Thanksgiving at the Busch household might be a little awkward. – Bryan Gable, Frontstretch
The speed we saw in the second half of 2017 showcased what to expect from the No. 4 team next year. Watch out. – Rob Tiongson, The Podium Finish
The last of the Championship 4. I heard he was last to get back to the hotel too. Apparently he was the only one who didn’t rent a Camry. – Frank Velat, Frontstretch
He is a sure lock for the Hall of Fame, unless you need sponsorship to get a spot in there too. – Michael Massie, Frontstretch
With the legacy of driving the No. 24 car behind him, it’ll be something to watch if Elliott can win in the familiar No. 9 – Tiongson
He’s now the old guy at Joe Gibbs Racing. FedEx, don’t leave him for a younger driver. Unless you want him to dump all of your delivery trucks. – Massie
A smart move by Larson to let Truex and Busch battle it out, which probably won him a lot of praise in the garage. – McCole
No pressure. But he better freaking win a race next year or Joe Gibbs might be calling that guy who just climbed out of the No. 20 car. – Velat
He was so anxious to get the 2017 season over with that he ran a little faster at Homestead. – Gable