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NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Charlotte

Frontstretch Power Rankings
An endurance race in its own right, the Coca-Cola 600 tested all 43 drivers and ran them to their limits. Even with opinions of the race generally leaning towards the negative, the race was still fairly competitive with several different drivers spending time up front and wheeling cars capable of winning. It was Kasey Kahne who prevailed, but Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin, and Kyle Busch all spent some time leading the race. 
But in the end, Kahne prevailed for his first win with Hendrick Motorsports, a sixth consecutive top-10 finish that’s sent him surging up the standings. Was Kahne’s midseason rebound enough to propel him to the top of our rankings? Or did points leader Biffle’s dominant performance give him a needed boost this week? Continue reading to find out:

How The Rankings Are Calculated: Frontstretch does our power rankings somewhat 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 20-19-18-17-16-15… 3-2-1 basis, giving 20 points to their first place driver, 19 for their second, and so on. In the end, Summer Dreyer calculates the points, adds some funny one-liners, and … here you go!

Rank Driver (First Place Votes) Votes Last Week
1 Greg Biffle (5) 174 4
Not very happy you only get one point for leading the most laps when it is over 200 of them. Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com
2 Matt Kenseth (1) 152 2
Quietly doing what Matt Kenseth does, collecting top-10 finishes and hanging them on the points tree. But is showcasing that type of consistency now a case of peaking too soon? Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com 
3 Jimmie Johnson (2) 151 1
After a brief discussion with the No. 48 gasman, we have both come to the conclusion that the whole “removing equipment from the pit box’ needs to have an “or crew member” added to it. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com
4 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 144 3
A winless champion would be OK with Junior Nation. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com
5 Denny Hamlin 141 5
Still think having a guy named Ford on the box for a Toyota was part of the problem for the No. 11. Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com 
6 Kyle Busch (1) 138 6
Put together a streak of four top-5 finishes without so much as a peep on the radio, a bad bump or even an off-track speeding ticket. Welcome, America to Kyle Busch's new personality, mirroring the image of Stroke, er Sprint Cup Racing 2012. What have we done? Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
7 Brad Keselowski 125 8
The speed and level of his apology to Stewart's team after wrecking them on pit road was on par with someone who just angered a member of the mafia. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
8 Kasey Kahne  124 12
Though the Polish victory lap is a cherished tradition in racing, teammate Jimmie Johnson was quick to remind Kasey Kahne post-race that driving Rick Hendrick around the track is much more fun than the checkered flag. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com
9 Kevin Harvick 109 9
Really wishes they’d do the Grow One Save a Million campaign when the weather is cooler. Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com
10 Martin Truex, Jr. 100 10
This driver isn’t getting nearly the attention he deserves.  If only he had long black hair and neon pumps… Carolyn Brewster, NASCAR Illustrated
11 Carl Edwards 94 11
Not as bad as it looks for Cousin Carl. Eventually, the luck bank will start to give back and it's clear the Fusions have speed. But a win in the next month or so would sure ease the nerves, right? Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
12 Tony Stewart  90 7
Whose turn is it in the traveling NASCAR media to ask Tony why there are so few wrecks in today’s NASCAR? Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com 
13 Clint Bowyer 74 13
Perhaps if they took the disco ball out of the car Bowyer might have a little more success. Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com
14 Jeff Gordon  55 NR
Had to check before typing to make sure a meteorite didn't hit Gordon in the last day or so after one week of actual good luck. I think we're good… at least I hope so… Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
Tie – 15 Paul Menard 47   14
Menard might not be known for his driving abilities, but he beat teammate Jeff Burton in last Sunday’s race and is higher in points. Who would have thought that “daddy’s money” Menard would be the second-best driver at RCR? Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com
Tie – 15 Ryan Newman 47   15
Here’s a statement you haven’t heard in a long time: Finished 14th, two laps down. Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com
Dropped Out: None.
Others Receiving Votes: Aric Almirola (21), Marcos Ambrose (21), Joey Logano (17), Jeff Burton (17), Regan Smith (15),  Juan Pablo Montoya (10), Mark Martin (9), Jamie McMurray (7), A.J. Allmendinger (6), Landon Cassill (2).
Who Voted: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com; Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com; Tom Bowles, Fronstretch.com; Carolyn Brewster, NASCAR Illustrated; Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com; Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com; Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com; Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com; Matt Taliaferro, Athlon Sports.

Contact Summer Bedgood

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