It was a quiet summer for Jimmie Johnson. At one point, he even fell out of The 10.
However, with the Chase winding down, and the Sprint Cup Series heading to some of his best tracks, Johnson’s returned to form and surged up the rankings. With his Championship 4 bid signed, sealed and delivered, Johnson was a guarantee to claim a top-5 spot in the rankings. However, beyond him things get a little more complicated.
Three of Joe Gibbs Racing’s drivers finished in the top 5 to keep their ranking strong. The other, Carl Edwards, may be the first Chase driver to find himself behind an eliminated driver in these rankings.
As for the rest of the Chase field? They’re all over the place.
With another grandfather clock rewarded to a Martinsville Speedway winner, the Chase is set to march on to No Limits, Texas. Let’s see who’s leading the charge.
POWER RANKINGS: Goody’s Fast Relief 500 Edition
1. JIMMIE JOHNSON (100 POINTS, +2)
“Now able to concentrate entirely on Homestead, JJ is the clear favorite to win a seventh title.” – Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service
“He and Chad Knaus may not like to talk seven titles, but that’s all you’re going to hear for the next three weeks – and rightfully so.” – Jim Utter, Motorsport
2. KYLE BUSCH (87 POINTS, +2)
“Let’s see. Finishes in the top 5 and runs well all day. Gets out of the car immediately after the race and rants about his own teammate. Seems like Kyle Busch is just about normal.” – Phil Allaway, Frontstretch
“Despite the Joe Gibbs cars fighting for every inch in the closing laps, Busch still managed to keep all the fenders on the car and pulled out a decent finish. It’s kind of the same strategy that worked in 2015 and it could very well work out again.” – Pete McCole, AutoRacing1
3. JOEY LOGANO (80 POINTS, -1)
“Logano may be the only Ford left, but I wouldn’t count him out of a berth at Homestead.” – Utter
“Being four points out is no reason to panic, but he will need to take advantage of a good opportunity to get above the cutoff at Texas.” – Bryan Gable, Frontstretch
4. DENNY HAMLIN (72 POINTS, +1)
“He complained about Johnson’s driving style during Sunday’s race and then got into an entertaining Twitter feud with the six-time champ over Halloween. If he can survive the next two races, he may be the best favorite to fight Johnson for the title, too.” – Aaron Bearden, Frontstretch
“Strong run at Martinsville has him positioned nicely for next two tracks.” – Spencer
5. MATT KENSETH (64 POINTS, +2)
“Is this a case of getting stuck between two teammates and a hard place?” – Gable
“Quiet. Consistent. Dangerous.” – Bearden
6. KEVIN HARVICK (54 POINTS, -5)
“A bad day all around for the Stewart-Haas teams. It might work out OK for Harvick, though – although he’s never won at Texas, he has six straight top-two finishes including five victories at Phoenix. Don’t be surprised to see him in the Championship 4.” – McCole
“Like Bogey and Paris, the Closer will always have Phoenix.” – Spencer
7. KURT BUSCH (43 POINTS, -1)
“Had an even worse day than Harvick did. Killed his confidence. He just might be done as far as this Chase is concerned.” – Allaway
“The Chase’s first champion entered the Round of 8 with the worst odds in the group of advancing to the Championship 4. Sunday’s clunker did little to help.” – Bearden
8. BRAD KESELOWSKI (35 POINTS, +1)
“I don’t doubt that if he’d had a few more laps, he could have caught Jimmie Johnson. Whether or not he could have PASSED Johnson is another matter.” – McCole
9. CARL EDWARDS (30 POINTS, -1)
“A fluke belt failure in one of his Goodyears probably cost Edwards a shot at the championship.” – Spencer
“Carl hasn’t done a backflip –at least not to celebrate a victory– since April. If he doesn’t change that over the next two weeks, his championship hopes are done.” – Bearden
10. MARTIN TRUEX, JR. (20 POINTS, No Change)
“Looked strong early but fought an ill-handling race car for the last half of the race. Still came home with a decent seventh-place finish.” – McCole
“Will probably spend the rest of the season thinking about what might have been.” – Spencer
CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR
Fitting. After the race where his protegé tied his Martinsville win total, Jeff Gordon finds himself sneaking into the rankings alongside of his replacement at Hendrick Motorsports. Given that he currently has no future starts planned, he may never crack The 10, but Gordon’s legacy is sealed by the performance of his successors.
Jeff Gordon (14 Points) – “For old time’s sake.” – Utter
Chase Elliott (10 Points) – “Growing and learning for next year as his incredible rookie season nears its end.” – Bearden
Others receiving votes: Austin Dillon (3), Frank Beamer (1)
|AnnoyingRaceFan||@AnnoyingRaceFan||I’M @annoyingracefan ON TWITTER (AND INSTAGRAM). PEOPLE CALL ME ARF. I’M A RELATIVE NOBODY.|
|Brian Eberly||@beberly18||Writer, Rubbings Racing, Motor Racing Digest|
|Mike Hembree||@MikeHembree||Writer, USA Today|
|Ben Hinc||@lemonlovr||Owner, The Apex|
|Jerry Jordan||@kicknthetires||Owner, Kicknthetires.Net|
|Pete McCole||@PeteMcCole||NASCAR Writer, AutoRacing1.com|
|The Orange Cone||@TheOrangeCone||I am an orange traffic cone.|
|Kyle Pokrefky||@KPokrefky||Writer, The Fourth Turn|
|Reid Spencer||@Reid_Spencer||Lead Writer, NASCAR Wire Service|
|Doug Turnbull||@DougTurnbull||Announcer, PRN Live, Atlanta Motor Speedway|
|Jim Utter||@jim_utter||NASCAR Editor, Motorsport.com|
How they’re made: Following the conclusion of each NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, members of a voting panel, including Frontstretch writers, members of accredited media including Motorsport, NASCAR and USA Today, as well as writers from other sites and social media favorites, submit their top 10 drivers for the Power Rankings. The drivers are then given points based off their position, with first place getting 10 points, and each subsequent driver getting one fewer point until the 10th-place driver, who gets a lone point. Points are then tallied, and the rankings are created.
Do you agree with our rankings? Think someone got snubbed, or that one of the top drivers is overrated? Let us know in the comments, and tell others what your top 10 would be.
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