Race Weekend Central

NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Martinsville

Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s win at Martinsville last weekend marked the first non-Chase contender to win a race in the Chase this season. After being eliminated from championship contention last weekend at Talladega, Earnhardt Jr. held off a hard-charging Jeff Gordon to claim his fourth win of the season, first at Martinsville and 22nd overall for Hendrick Motorsports. This past weekend was also the 10th anniversary weekend of the plan crash that claimed the lives of so many important members of the Hendrick Motorsports family.

Although paybacks from Charlotte were not cashed in at Martinsville, new rivalries were created. Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick tangled on the race track, sending Harvick behind the wall for repairs. His 33rd place finish was the worst of the eight remaining championship drivers. After the race, Harvick told reporters, “He [Kenseth] won’t win this championship. If we don’t win, he won’t win.”

It was a mixed bag of results for the top drivers. Five from the Talladega Power Rankings top 10 finished in the top 10 at Martinsville, while four finished outside the top 30. These finishes led to a surprising top four in points with two races remaining. Next up is the high-speed, high-stakes race at Texas. And with Junior’s win at Martinsville, two points positions are guaranteed to drivers without wins in the Eliminator Round.

The current drivers outside the top four in points:
Denny Hamlin
Carl Edwards
Brad Keselowski
Kevin Harvick

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



Jeff Gordon2014 NASCAR Cup Jeff Gordon headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALL

Second place could come back to haunt him if Texas turns ugly for the former Rainbow Warriors – as it often does. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com

First Place Votes: 4




Joey Logano2014 NASCAR Cup Joey  Logano headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALL

Recorded his sixth top-five finish of the Chase on Sunday to lower his Chase finishing average to 4.2. Nothing short of stellar heading back to Texas where he won earlier this year. Justin Tucker, Frontstretch.com

First Place Votes: 3




2014 NASCAR Cup Ryan Newman headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALL

Ryan Newman

Newman currently sits P2 in points with two races left before Homestead. A driver with the least number of wins (or any wins at all for that matter) wins the 2014 championship. Now that’s a headline. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com




Matt Kenseth2014 NASCAR Cup Matt Kenseth headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALL

He’s the “cockroach” of this year’s NASCAR season. You can’t kill him. Even with all of the issues at Martinsville, Matt brought it home sixth. Now, about that Harvick threat… Jim Noble, ESPN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio/PRN




Denny Hamlin2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Portraits

Fell short of the Martinsville steal, a near-miss which might ultimately seal his fate in this Chase. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com




Kevin Harvick2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Not the start he was looking for but Texas and Phoenix are two tracks I’m sure Kevin is happy to be next on the schedule. Needs to focus on the bigger picture and not retaliating against someone who he might not even be battling with at Homestead. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com




Dale Earnhardt Jr.2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Rarely do we see someone get as jacked-up about winning at Martinsville as Earnhardt Jr. did on Sunday. It’s refreshing. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com




Brad Keselowski2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Doing a fine job of setting himself up for another dramatic end to a Chase segment. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com




AJ Allmendinger2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

AJ Allmendinger was not expected to be in the Chase. Even though he is eliminated, he continues to finish strong. That’s good future form. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com




Kyle Busch2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

His march towards invisibility the rest of the season has commenced. Have a nice holiday season, Kyle, and check back with us in February. Jim Noble, ESPN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio/PRN




Clint Bowyer2014 NASCAR Cup Clint Bowyer headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALL

Bowyer’s seventh place finish at Martinsville was something to hang his helmet on after what has been a tough year. Justin Tucker, Frontstretch.com




Carl Edwards2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Edwards needed a better than average day at Martinsville to get his Eliminator Round started right. Didn’t get it, however, finishing 20th. Justin Tucker, Frontstretch.com




2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Kyle Larson

For as great as Larson has been during his rookie year, he was completely out to lunch all day on Sunday. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com




Tony Stewart2014 NASCAR Cup Tony Stewart headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALL

How many of you were hoping to see the No. 14 in victory lane? Would have been an emotional scene for sure. A step in the right direction for Stewart, not just professionally. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com




Jimmie Johnson2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Testing, thy name is team 48. Unlike some others, I think Chad and Jimmie could care less about the rest of the races – all resources are going into next year. Jim Noble, ESPN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio/PRN


Others Receiving Votes: AJamie McMurray (38), Austin Dillon (35), Kasey Kahne (18), Greg Biffle (17), David Ragan (14), Kurt Busch (11), Landon Cassill (10), Danica Patrick (6), Aric Almirola (4), Cole whitt (4), Martin Truex Jr. (3), Paul Menard (3), Justin Allgaier (1)

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