Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2015 Windows 10 400 at Pocono

It was a wild race at Pocono from the drop of the green flag and no one knew who was going to win until the checkered flag flew. In the end, Matt Kenseth played the fuel strategy game perfectly. With two laps to go, he came from fourth to pass Joey Logano, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr., who all ran out of fuel.

The first half of the race was marred by cautions, including a scary single-car accident involving Kasey Kahne who spun off turn 3, missed the inside wall and slammed hard into the pit-road retaining wall, sending helmets flying and crew members scrambling. Fortunately there were no injuries, except to Kahne’s potential Chase berth as he would finish a disappointing 43rd.

It was a tough day for the top 10 in Power Rankings after Indy as only four drivers (Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson) finished in the top 10 at Pocono. A majority of the others ran out of gas or were involved in on-track incidents.

Next up, teams head to the second and final road course at Watkins Glen. See if your favorite driver made the cut in this week’s Power Rankings.

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


2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Kevin Harvick Jimmy Johns credit NASCARKevin Harvick

Sunday was a flashback to the early part of last season for Harvick.  A very quick, potentially dominant car struck down by engine problems in the first quarter of the race. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch

First Place Votes: 3



Joey Logano2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Joey Logano credit NASCAR

On paper, it doesn’t look like Logano is suffering from the Daytona 500 curse. But to come so close to victory, so many times and fall short… could you imagine if he didn’t have that win? Tom Bowles, Frontstretch




Kyle Busch2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Kyle Busch credit NASCAR

Privately, NASCAR has to be relieved that Busch’s hot streak got cool in Pocono. Having the same driver, or team, win too often is not desirable in any sport. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com

First Place Votes: 1




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

Earnhardt Jr. rode a wave of bad luck to a top-five finish Sunday. It’s that kind of luck that bodes well in the Chase. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch

First Place Votes: 1




Jimmie Johnson2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Six-time is simply biding time during this NASCAR summer stretch of non-Chase tracks. The question is just how much crew chief Chad Knaus is hiding up his sleeve for September. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch





Matt Kenseth2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Matt Kenseth credit NASCAR

All eyes have been on Kyle Busch at Joe Gibbs Racing – and rightfully so – but keep an eye on Kenseth as the entire organization has enjoyed a resurgence since the younger Busch’s return to action. Some may say the win at Pocono was lucky with the leaders running out of fuel, but they had a good game plan, strong car and Kenseth was in the right position at the right time. The veteran is quietly putting together another solid season. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway 

First Place Votes: 1




Brad Keselowski2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Brad Keselowski credit NASCAR

It was turning out to be a nightmarish weekend at Pocono for Keselowski – confrontation with Matt Crafton in the truck race and then hitting two crew members on a pit stop – but he was able to rebound for a runner-up finish to Kenseth. It was his second runner-up finish in the last three races and fourth consecutive top-10 effort. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway 




Martin Truex Jr.2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

Truex showed the most speed out of his No. 78 car since winning Pocono in June. But will Toyota’s courtship turn distracting? Tom Bowles, Frontstretch




Kurt Busch2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Kurt Busch credit NASCAR

Is this the year that the Busch brothers battle it out for the championship in Homestead? Kurt Busch might be there at the end even if brother Kyle gets on another hot streak. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com




Jeff Gordon2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Jeff Gordon credit NASCAR

Gordon would relish a win in his final season, but few fans will moan if he makes the Chase without winning. Right now he’s on track to be a Chase contender. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com




Carl Edwards2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Carl Edwards credit NASCAR

Edwards continues to rebound from a poor start to the season and gaining some momentum for the Chase. He finished 10th at Pocono for his third top-10 performance in the last four races after just two in the first 17 races, although one of those was that valuable win at Charlotte. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway




Denny Hamlin2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Denny Hamlin credit NASCAR

Shifting gears proved to be a problem for Hamlin at Pocono. But if I were him, I’d be more concerned with JGR’s shift of future plans toward Erik Jones. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch




Clint Bowyer2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Clint Bowyer credit NASCAR

Starting to perform better, although he’s not quite sure who he is performing for these days. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch




Jamie McMurray2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Jamie McMurray credit NASCAR

Another so-so day but sits 11th in points, the first driver without a win in the Chase. Will need better than a 15th-place finish, though, over the next five races. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch




Paul Menard2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Paul Menard credit NASCAR

11th-place result was his best Pocono performance in three years. Big moment for Menard as he clears hurdle after hurdle en route to making his first Chase. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch


Others Receiving Votes: Greg Biffle (25), Kyle Larson (25), Ryan Newman (22), Kasey Kahne (14), Aric Almirola (7), Tony Stewart (7), Austin Dillon (5), AJ Allmendinger (4), Landon Cassill (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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