Race Weekend Central

Top 15 Power Rankings After Michigan

Remember when all anyone could talk about was the fact Jimmie Johnson hadn’t won a race yet in 2014, and he kept saying over and over again not to worry? Looks like he was right. Johnson played the late-race pit strategy perfectly en route to his first career win at Michigan and third overall in 2014. Six-Time has now become the first driver this season to win three races and has only four tracks at which he remains winless: Kentucky, Chicagoland, Watkins Glen and Homestead.

A majority of the top drivers in Power Rankings after Pocono carried over their momentum to the high-speed oval of Michigan. Seven of the top 10 on this list also recorded a top-10 finish. Those that were not so fortunate included Matt Kenseth, who finished 14th, as he is still looking for his elusive first victory of the season. The Roush Fenway Racing Fords also continued to struggle, as Carl Edwards finished 23rd, while JGR’s Kyle Busch broke a left-rear hub, resulting in a 41st-place disaster.

Drivers and teams now head across the country this weekend for the first of two road courses. These events can be much like a restrictor plate race (a crapshoot) so it will be interesting to see how our top drivers fare after Sonoma. Until then, follow your favorite and see how he, or she, ranked after Michigan.

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 20 on a 20-19-18-17… 3-2-1 basis, giving 20 points to their first-place driver, 19 for second, and so on. In the end, Mike Mehedin calculates the points, adds some funny one-liners, and… here you go!

Total Votes


2014 NASCAR Media Day - PortraitsJimmie Johnson

Johnson is basically a shark-in-waiting right now. That’s trouble for everyone else. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com

First Place Votes: 9



2014 NASCAR Media Day - PortraitsDale Earnhardt Jr.

Forget the point standings for a second. That all night tweet-up was one of the best things to ever happen in sports. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com

First Place Votes: 1




2014 NASCAR Media Day - PortraitsBrad Keselowski

Trying to be the Ford “Knight in Shining Armor” to ruin Chevy’s championship parade. Here’s the problem: He’s got an army of… umm… Joey Logano while Chevy has him surrounded by eight cars. Chances are it won’t end well. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com




2014 NASCAR Media Day - PortraitsKevin Harvick

Anyone who has been involved in a love/hate relationship with a significant other understands exactly how Kevin Harvick feels about his crew. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com




2014 NASCAR Cup Jeff Gordon headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALLJeff Gordon

Gordon felt like he was much better than a sixth-place run on Sunday, but the bright side is he scored his fourth consecutive top-10 finish. He has a good chance to get his second win of the season at Sonoma, a track where he has five wins. Justin Tucker, Frontstretch.com




2014 NASCAR Media Day - PortraitsKyle Larson

If anyone didn’t believe Kyle Larson was the real deal before Michigan, and still doesn’t believe he is after watching his performance Sunday… I don’t know what else this kid has to do. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com




2014 NASCAR Cup Joey  Logano headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALLJoey Logano

Joey Logano doesn’t need a thermometer to be confident that the summer will be hot for him and his No. 22 team. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com




2014 NASCAR Cup Matt Kenseth headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALLMatt Kenseth

“We just don’t have it.” That is not what I want to hear from a supposed championship contender. Jim Noble, ESPN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio/PRN



2014 NASCAR Cup Kyle Busch headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALLKyle Busch

The No. 18 team has a win in Fontana. And… that’s about it. Kelly Crandall, PopularSpeed.com




2014 NASCAR Media Day - PortraitsPaul Menard

Ok, I’m becoming a believer. Menard now has the only two top-5 finishes for Richard Childress Racing this season. With the way he’s running, he might not even need a win to make his first Chase appearance. Although… I do feel like this guy is on the brink of one. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com




2014 NASCAR Cup Tony Stewart headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALLTony Stewart

The return of the old Tony temper is a good sign for Smoke fans because that means he thinks he can win again. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com




2014 NASCAR Media Day - PortraitsCarl Edwards

There are far worse things going on at Roush right now than his contract situation. Kelly Crandall, PopularSpeed.com




2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series PortraitsDenny Hamlin

So much for the momentum of two straight top-5 finishes. Hamlin was basically non-existent at Michigan, finishing 29th. Justin Tucker, Frontstretch.com




2014 NASCAR Cup Clint Bowyer headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALLClint Bowyer

Big weekend ahead for Bowyer, who’s had too much inconsistency to feel safe in the Chase without a win. Sonoma offers him a great chance. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com




2014 NASCAR Cup Ryan Newman headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALLRyan Newman

He should be higher in the Power Rankings but dang-it, I just keep forgetting Ryan is still racing. Jim Noble, ESPN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio/PRN


Others Receiving Votes: Jamie McMurray (53), Kurt Busch (47), Kasey Kahne (42), Greg Biffle (33), Austin Dillon (16), Brian Vickers (6), Justin Allgaier (5), Martin Truex Jr. (3), AJ Allmendinger (3), Juan Pablo Montoya (2), Marcos Ambrose (2), Aric Almirola (2), Danica Patrick (1), Michael Annett (1)

Participants: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com; Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com; Kelly Crandall, PopularSpeed.com; Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com; Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com; Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com; Jim Noble, ESPN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio/PRN; Matt Taliaferro, Athlon Sports; Justin Tucker, Frontstretch.com; Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com.

With Michigan in the rear-view mirror, what’s next for the No. 48 team to conquer on their checklist? Matt Taliaferro investigates in Athlon’s featured racing column of the day.

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.

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