Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the Food City 500 at Bristol

I’d like to take this opportunity to pass along my condolences to the entire Byrnes family. #ByrnesStrong

It was almost a carbon-copy of the 2014 spring race at Bristol: delay after delay due to rain. However, thanks to lights, the entire race was able to be run… and then some. Matt Kenseth finally broke his winless streak, surviving a green-white-checkered finish.

Three drivers (Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr.) entered Bristol with top-10 finishes in every race this season. Unfortunately all three streaks were broken as each experienced issues and finished outside the top 25. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. proved that his 2014 second-place finish was no fluke, finishing fourth Sunday night. Other surprise finishes included Justin Allgaier (eighth) and Danica Patrick (ninth).

The first race of the season at Richmond is coming up Saturday night. Remember, this is the site of the last race of the regular season and could be a foreshadowing of what to expect in September.

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


Kevin Ha2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Kevin Harvick Jimmy Johns credit NASCARrvick

Looks like the only thing that can stop Harvick is if you place a stopped car right directly in front of his path. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch

First Place Votes: 4



Joey Logano2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Joey Logano credit NASCAR

Most likely cost a lot of fantasy teams a lot of points. Surely one of the top-three drivers expected to contend for the win. Mike Mehedin, Frontstretch



Brad Keselowski2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Brad Keselowski credit NASCAR

Made Roger Penske feel really good about his decision to go to Long Beach instead of rainy Tennessee where both of his cars were out by lap 23. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch




Jimmie Johnson2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Johnson followed up his win at Texas with a runner-up finish at Bristol for his second consecutive top-five finish and fourth in eight races. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway

First Place Votes: 1



Dale Earnhardt Jr.2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Dale Earnhardt Jr credit NASCAR

The new dynamic duo of Junior and Ives are still waiting for that win. As long as they continue to run the way they are now, it’s coming. Otherwise they shouldn’t have an issue making the Chase on points. Mike Mehedin, Frontstretch




Jeff Gordon2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Jeff Gordon credit NASCAR

Maybe NASCAR will script a ‘Made for TV’ ending to his career and then have NASCAR Media Productions make a movie too. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com 




Matt Kenseth2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Matt Kenseth credit NASCAR

Has been lobbying NASCAR to build a track in the Amazon given his luck with events impacted by rain. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch




Martin Truex Jr.2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Martin Truex Jr credit NASCAR

Would probably be hard to find someone who wasn’t pulling for Truex to extend his top-10 streak. But it was bound to come to an end. Let’s hope he can start a new streak Saturday night. Mike Mehedin, Frontstretch




Ryan Newman2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Ryan Newman credit NASCAR

Newman notched his fourth top-five finish of the season at Bristol (fifth) and is the only driver with more than three that sits outside the top 10 in points. All four have come in his last six races so keep an eye on him. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway




Jamie McMurray2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Jamie McMurray credit NASCAR

Only one top five and three top 10s, but McMurray sits 12th in points and most likely has at least one points-paying race win under his belt. That’s all he needs. Mike Mehedin, Frontstretch




Kasey Kahne2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Kasey Kahne credit NASCAR

Another strong run but fell short of making it to the finish. Looks like the ‘luck bank’ was tapped out this week. Mike Mehedin, Frontstretch




Denny Hamlin2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Denny Hamlin credit NASCAR

Let’s hope that the spasm was a fluke on Sunday and incessant injuries don’t come back to haunt Hamlin later this year. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch



Aric Almirola2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Aric Almirola credit NASCAR

Almirola is quietly steering the ship at Richard Petty Motorsports so far. Despite his success in the Xfinity Series, Sam Hornish Jr. has largely been ineffective in the No. 9. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch




Kurt Busch2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Kurt Busch credit NASCAR

Seemed to have another race in the bag, even after pitting to take tires. Got caught up in a late wreck with Carl Edwards. Really needs that win if he is going to think about making the Chase. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch




Danica Patrick2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Danica Patrick credit NASCAR

Well, guess who just scored top 10s at NASCAR’s toughest short tracks (Martinsville and Bristol) and is 13th in points. Nope, nope, nope. It’s the one dating the dude with the mullet. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway


Others Receiving Votes: Kyle Larson (22), Carl Edwards (20), Paul Menard (20), Austin Dillon (19), Clint Bowyer (11), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (10), Tony Stewart (6), David Ragan (4), Justin Allgaier (4)

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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