Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2015 Quaker State 400 at Kentucky

Kyle Busch is doing everything he can to ensure he makes the 2015 Chase. He utterly dominated the race Saturday night, leading 163 of the 267 laps and claiming his second win in the last three races, though he still sits 87 points outside of the top 30.

The big story leading up to the race was the new, lower downforce rules package. Car control was placed back in the drivers’ hands, reducing the clean air advantage. More passing was evident, but the most surprising outcome was the results. All four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers and both Team Penske drivers filled the top-six positions. The first Hendrick driver finished seventh (Jeff Gordon), and Kevin Harvick finished eighth. So, have Hendrick Motorsports and Stewart-Haas Racing met their match? It’s far too early to tell, but it makes for some interesting headlines.

Teams head North to New Hampshire to a flat track and the old aero package. Is it afe to say that order is most likely going to be restored this weekend? You never know. While we wait to find out, see if your favorite driver made the top 15 after Kentucky.

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

Saturday was rare for Harvick. An intermediate race where he really never was in contention to win. Something worth looking into if NASCAR decides to use the low-downforce package in the Chase. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch

First Place Votes: 4




Jimmie Johnson2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Mixed in with that Hendrick-powered juggernaut at the back of the top 10. Looks like the new package might have Knaus staying up a bit later as the Chase gets closer. In no way, shape or form is the 2015 championship a ‘gimmie’ for Jimmie. Mike Mehedin, Frontstretch




Joey Logano2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Joey Logano credit NASCAR

If Logano keeps his present pace he may match Harvick in top finishes before they duel it out in the Chase. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com




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

When his car was working correctly, Earnhardt Jr. was actually quite fast Saturday night for a time.  However, his consumables just weren’t up to the task. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch




Kurt Busch2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Kurt Busch credit NASCAR

A top-10 finish without leading a lap. I know a number of drivers who would take that type of finish hands-down. For Busch, however, that’s an off-day for his No. 41 team. Mike Mehedin, Frontstretch




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

I suppose Truex couldn’t keep up his performance for the whole year. Looks like he’s falling back to earth right now, just like he did in 2013. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch




Brad Keselowski2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Brad Keselowski credit NASCAR

Team Penske has had the speed all season. JGR has caught up. Keselowski typically delivers heading into the Chase. It could be Penske vs. JGR near the checkered flag more often now. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com 




Denny Hamlin2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Denny Hamlin credit NASCAR

Two strong finishes in a row. Haven’t seen this kind of consistency from Hamlin all season. A flat track coming up next week could mean a third top-three finish for the No. 11 team. Mike Mehedin, Frontstretch




Matt Kenseth2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Matt Kenseth credit NASCAR

Looks like JGR got its mojo back. Kenseth was the lowest-finishing of the four-car team… in fifth. Mike Mehedin, Frontstretch




Jamie McMurray2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Jamie McMurray credit NASCAR

Still Chase eligible and currently the highest ranked driver in points without a win. Will need less subpar finishes like he had in Kentucky to ensure his place in the top 16. That, or win a race. Mike Mehedin, Frontstretch




Jeff Gordon2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Jeff Gordon credit NASCAR

Gordon needs to trade in his pole winning prowess for race wins soon. His final season is dwindling in opportunities. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com




Kyle Busch2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Kyle Busch credit NASCAR

If anyone thought Sonoma was a fluke, please sit down. Kyle is tied for second with Harvick and Earnhardt Jr. for number of wins (2). But, there’s a big BUT. None of it matters unless he gains 87 points by Richmond. Mike Mehedin, Frontstretch




Kasey Kahne2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Kasey Kahne credit NASCAR

Is it the driver? Is it the team? Is it the new package? That’s the worst I’ve seen Kahne perform on a 1.5-mile track in a long time. Mike Mehedin, Frontstretch




Paul Menard2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Paul Menard credit NASCAR

I never know what to do with Menard. He’s there, but he’s not. Hanging out in the top 16 (14th) without a win. Has a couple top fives but just doesn’t seem to have the consistency necessary to stay ahead of some of the hungrier drivers behind him. Mike Mehedin, Frontstretch




Carl Edwards2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Carl Edwards credit NASCAR

Edwards is starting to catch up to other Chase contenders with wins. Looks like JGR has found some speed. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com


Others Receiving Votes: Aric Almirola (21), Clint Bowyer (16), Ryan Newman (16), Greg Biffle (9), Trevor Bayne (8), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (6), Austin Dillon (3), Kyle Larson (2), David Ragan (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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