Race Weekend Central

NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Preseason

Frontstretch Power Rankings
For the first time in seven years, we have a Sprint Cup Champion not named Stewart or Johnson. History was made during 2013 Daytona 500 qualifying, Stanica was born, Kevin Harvick isn’t acting like a lame duck and the Gen-6 car has finally brought back brand identity to NASCAR. All this news and the season hasn’t even started yet! The past three months have brought more excitement to the 2013 season than Junior jumping ship to Hendrick Motorsports…
Looking back on 2012, most people would not have put money on Penske Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing loosening the Hendrick Motorsports stranglehold on NASCAR’s Chase format. However, competition amongst more teams is growing, and there is every indication that it will continue to increase this coming season. 
With so many variables, 2013 is one of the hardest seasons to handicap. However, we did our best. Without further ado, Frontstretch.com and our crew of experts from around the web, from Athlon Sports to Race Talk Radio gives you their first Power Rankings of 2013:
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, Michael Mehedin calculates the points, adds some funny one-liners, and … here you go!
Rank Driver (First Place Votes) Votes Last Week
1 Brad Keselowski (5) 176 NA
Brad will be a lock to make the 2013 Chase unless his head has gotten too big to fit through the window opening. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com
2 Jimmie Johnson (2) 174 NA
Jimmie hasn’t gone three years without winning a championship since he entered the Cup Series in 2002. He is on a mission in 2013. Watch out, field. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com
3 Kasey Kahne (1) 160 NA
Kasey quietly assumed the role of right-hand man at Hendrick Motorsports throughout the second half of 2012. But will being No. 2 on the totem pole be all Kahne gets as long as Jimmie Johnson is part of the program? Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
4 Matt Kenseth (1) 158 NA
Some are worried about referring to Logano as the driver of the No. 20 as the new season gets underway. But with his performance in the Sprint Unlimited, they’re probably more likely to mistake Matt Kenseth for Tony Stewart. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
5 Tony Stewart (1) 144 NA
Where there’s Smoke there’s… a whole lot of “I’m not sure.” Really, one of those years where, between the sponsorship concerns, outside distractions and pushing Danica front and center, you don’t know how it’s going to go with this team. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
6 Clint Bowyer 136 NA
Clint must now face the pressure of proving MWR is for real and that 2012 wasn’t a one-hit-wonder. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
7 Denny Hamlin 131 NA
Will Denny succumb to BDS (Baby Daddy Syndrome) in 2013? Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com
8 Kyle Busch 128 NA
I bet Kyle never thought he’d be the number three driver at Joe Gibbs Racing. He’s on a mission to change that stat. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com
9 Kevin Harvick 126 NA
Richard Childress Racing has never had two down seasons in a row but there is a first time for everything with a "lame duck" driver. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com
10 Greg Biffle 112 NA
Now the veteran leader at Roush Fenway Racing, Greg has been overlooked his whole career. Maybe if he started contending for titles in the Chase instead of fading away, people would pay closer attention. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
11 Jeff Gordon 105 NA
2013 marks the 12th year since Jeff’s last championship. Only one other driver in NASCAR history has gone that long between winning titles (Terry Labonte). Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com
12 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 102 NA
How will Junior perform now that he no longer bears the burden of the media’s favorite target, which now belongs to Danica Patrick? Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
13 Carl Edwards 81 NA
Worked throughout the offseason with Gabby Douglas to ensure he can still complete a back flip. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com
14 Martin Truex, Jr. 67 NA
Martin had three finishes worse than 20th during the first 26 races and three finishes worse than 20th throughout the Chase. Predicting that same inconsistency in 2013. Dennis Michelsen, Frontstretch.com
15 Ryan Newman 64 NA
Without his win at Martinsville, Ryan Newman would have completely fallen off the media’s radar in 2012. That win kept him in the Chase conversation… but barely. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com
Dropped Out: None.
Others Receiving Votes: Joey Logano (57), Paul Menard (31), Kurt Busch (24), Mark Martin (22), Danica Patrick (20), Jeff Burton (19), Marcos Ambrose (18), Aric Almirola (15), Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (15), Jamie McMurray (9), Juan Pablo Montoya (6).
Who Voted: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com; Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com; Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com; Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com; Dustin Long, Athlon Sports; Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com; Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com; Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com; Matt Taliaferro, Athlon Sports; Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com.

About the author

The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Share via