Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2015 Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol

The list is short of drivers that can win at Bristol and successfully defend that victory the following year, but you can add Joey Logano to that list. After winning the night race last season, Logano led 176 laps Saturday night and held off Kevin Harvick to pick up his third win of the season. If the Chase were to begin now, Logano would be seeded third behind four-time winners Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch.

Bristol can be considered a wild card when it comes to predictability, however, with only two races left until the Chase begins, the strong drivers are beginning to show their hand. Seven of the top 10 Michigan Power Rankings drivers finished in the top 10 at Bristol. That does not leave a lot of room for drivers on the “bubble” to make their mark and solidify their place in the Chase.

Two tough tracks close out the regular season, and first up is the track “Too Tough to Tame,” Darlington Raceway. Time is running out and tempers are sure to flare. See how your favorite driver ranks after Bristol in this week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup 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


                                                     Kevin Harvick
2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Kevin Harvick credit NASCAR

Given his newly-announced sponsor change for 2016, one can only imagine the joy of writing about the Busch car finishing 1-2-3 with Kurt and Kyle BuschAaron Bearden, Frontstretch

First Place Votes: 5




                                                     Joey Logano

2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Joey Logano credit NASCAR

Logano has gone from sliced bread to stacks of hot loaves. It could be that Logano is in the process of fitting for a championship ring. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com




                                                     Kyle Busch
2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Kyle Busch credit NASCAR

You know the younger Busch brother is having a great season when an eighth-place run is an extreme disappointment. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch




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

He isn’t always the highest finisher, or even the one with the best car, but Earnhardt’s consistency has him sitting third in points with the Chase approaching, the best of Hendrick Motorsports. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch




                                                     Jimmie Johnson
2014 NASCAR Media Day - Portraits

At last a Johnson sighting. JJ’s fourth-place finish at Bristol was his first top-five performance in his last eight races. He owns a co-series leading four wins but is looking to generate some momentum heading into the Chase. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway





                                                     Denny Hamlin
2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Denny Hamlin credit NASCAR

Joe Gibbs Racing is hot with driver performance right now. It’s time for Hamlin to blister a finish line. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com 




                                                     Brad Keselowski
2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Brad Keselowski credit NASCAR

Brad must be thinking, “Wait, that’s not supposed to be the Penske car that dominates Bristol!” Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch 




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

Truex is having a career year, and seemed to be regaining momentum. But a 28th-place showing at Bristol did nothing for his Furniture Row Racing team. On to the next one. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch




                                                     Matt Kenseth
2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Matt Kenseth credit NASCAR

One week removed from his third victory of 2015, Kenseth suffered an engine failure and finished 42nd. That’s racing for you. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch




                                                     Kurt Busch
2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Kurt Busch credit NASCAR

As hype continues to be thrown at brother Kyle with the Chase approaching, Kurt would like to remind people which brother has a championship. Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch




                                                     Carl Edwards
2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Carl Edwards credit NASCAR

While JGR teammates Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth are stealing the headlines with victories, Edwards is quietly gaining some nice momentum for the Chase. He finished seventh at Bristol for his sixth top 10 in the last seven races after just two in the first 17. Mike Zizzo, Texas Motor Speedway



                                                    Ryan Newman
2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Ryan Newman credit NASCAR

Newman is quietly showing fans that consistency is worthy of cheers. He may not be getting the confetti, but he is riding momentum. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com




                                                     Clint Bowyer
2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Clint Bowyer credit NASCAR

Not sure what’s lighting a hotter fire under Clint; being on the fringe of the Chase or not having a 2016 ride. Either way, it’s working. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch




                                                      Jamie McMurray
2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Jamie McMurray credit NASCAR

Another quiet night for the Mac daddy, which is a good thing. Nothing short of a meltdown will keep McMurray out of the Chase with a 76-point cushion on 16th-place Aric Almirola. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch




                                                      Paul Menard
2015 NASCAR headshots CUP Paul Menard credit NASCAR

Menard is another quiet success story. He may not be causing any fireworks, but he will likely race for a ring after Richmond. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com


Others Receiving Votes: Jeff Gordon (25), Austin Dillon (18), Justin Allgaier (12), Aric Almirola (11), Kasey Kahne (11), Kyle Larson (3), Tony Stewart (3), Trevor Bayne (2), Greg Biffle (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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Mat Kenseth slips all the way from 2nd to ninth place because his engine blew up after he went from 13th to 4th in the first 100 laps at Bristol? This was way to harsh and this kind of swing should not happen at this point, given that we have already run 24 races. Three wins are not too shabby at this stage of the season. Maybe you just overlooked him until you were eight drivers into your list and figured nobody would care because it was just Kenseth, eh?

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