Race Weekend Central

NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Pre-Season Top 15

We are only days away from the official start of the 2015 NASCAR season. A lot has changed since Kevin Harvick hoisted the championship trophy at Homestead in November, including drivers, teams, crews and more. Pair all of those unknowns with some rules changes and the storylines are endless.

No preseason testing means the drivers have only been on-track for a limited period of time; a few practice sessions, the Sprint Unlimited (for a limited number of drivers) and Daytona 500 Pole Day. Even with the short amount of track time, tempers are already high between Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano following the Sprint Unlimited.

Our team has been following the storylines throughout the offseason and in Daytona so far, and have compiled their list of the strongest drivers going into the 2015 season. To quote almost everyone during NASCAR Media Week in Charlotte, we are excited for the season to begin.

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 Cup Jeff Gordon headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALLJeff Gordon

The future made-for-TV movie script would be complete with ‘Wonderboy’ finishing his Hall of Fame career with a fifth championship. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com

First Place Votes: 5



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

Sprint Unlimited win doesn’t count towards the points championship, but it does mean a lot to a team that was winless last year. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com



2014 NASCAR Media Day - PortraitsJimmie Johnson

He’s back. After a horrific season, at least in their terms, the No. 48 car is entering 2015 with lots of hype. Joseph Wolkin, Frontstretch.com

First Place Votes: 1



2014 NASCAR Media Day - PortraitsKevin Harvick

There’s nothing that says Harvick won’t pick up exactly where he left off in 2014. Amy Henderson, Frontstretch.com

 First Place Votes: 4



2014 NASCAR Media Day - PortraitsDale Earnhardt, Jr.

His average finish at Daytona is better than your driver’s. Amy Henderson, Frontstretch.com




2014 NASCAR Media Day - PortraitsCarl Edwards

He had a great showing in the Sprint Unlimited with his new JGR team. But am I the only one who kept looking at the orange car wondering who was driving it? Aimee Turner, Richmond International Raceway 



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

When the weather gets bad up north, people fly to the grocery store to pick up the essentials: milk and bread. Anyone playing fantasy NASCAR might want to get some bread as well. ‘Sliced Bread’ was the most dominant driver in the Chase last year and looked like he could win it all until a late pit stop put him too far back. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch.com



2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series PortraitsDenny Hamlin

Ran well on Saturday night, and then popped a wheelie. He then got wrecked in qualifying Sunday. Speedweeks might be a bit expensive for the No. 11 team. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com



2014 NASCAR Cup Brad Keselowski headshot Credit Getty Images 430 TALLBrad Keselowski

This past off-season sure seemed to last an eternity. But was it long enough for half the field to forget about their anger for Brad Keselowski? It could be a long season for the blue deuce if not. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com




2014 NASCAR Media Day - PortraitsKyle Busch

He starts 2015 with his former XFINITY Series crew chief Adam Stevens so there is some good chemistry there… to start. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway




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

We’ve seen it before: Runner-up in the championship and you think they’ll come out ready to take what they felt was stolen from them the year before. But they just can’t seem to get the “I shoulda won” thoughts out of their heads and end up with a tough season. I hope, for Newman’s sake, that that’s not what happens in 2015. Aimee Turner, Richmond International Speedway



2014 NASCAR Media Day - PortraitsKyle Larson

If Kyle Larson builds on his short but productive experience at the Cup level, veteran drivers may be chasing him – even in the Chase. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com



2014 NASCAR Media Day - PortraitsKasey Kahne

Kasey Kahne could be rejuvenated this year with a new crew chief. Perhaps too, it’s time for some good luck on the track. He’s had enough bad luck lately – sufficient misfortune for maybe two or three seasons. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com



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

He’s healthy, and everyone is hoping to see some early signs that ‘Smoke is Rising’ again. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway



2014 NASCAR Media Day - PortraitsMartin Truex, Jr.

I expect him to have a decent shot at pulling off an upset win this year, but he will lack the consistency needed to be a contender every week. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com


Others Receiving Votes: Greg Biffle (54), Austin Dillon (45), Jamie McMurray (36), Clint Bowyer (34), Kurt Busch (34), Aric Almirola (28), Paul Menard (23), Casey Mears (18), AJ Allmendinger (14), Ty Dillon (10), Danica Patrick (7), Sam Hornish, Jr. (5), Ryan Blaney (3), Trevor Bayne (2), Brian Vickers (1), David Ragan (1), Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (1)

About the author

Mike starts his second year with the Frontstretch in 2014 working on a combination of promotional and marketing assignments. Managing the NASCAR Power Rankings (Wednesdays), he works with broadcast and writing experts from throughout the world of racing to produce the biggest national weekly poll on Sprint Cup competition. Also our resident Marketing Assistant, Mike handles day-to-day client responsibilities while settling into his new digs outside of Charlotte.

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