Race Weekend Central

The 10: NASCAR Cup Series Power Rankings After Phoenix

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series made its second stop on the early season edition of “#NASCARGoesWest” this week. Phoenix International Raceway hosted the Camping World 500, the fourth race of 2017. While Lady Luck is known for hanging out in Las Vegas, it seems that Ryan Newman still had a bit of good fortune in his corner on Sunday. Not to mention his Richard Childress Racing team was still in the mood to gamble a bit. Crew chief Luke Lambert made the call to stay out while most of the leaders headed for pit road during an improbable late caution. Newman held on to break the second long winless streak of the weekend and the second multi-year streak of his Cup career.

Which brings us to this week’s Power Rankings. Lately, some of the stars of NASCAR have been rising faster than the temperature of the sand beneath the Arizona sun. Others found Phoenix about as delightful as hugging a cactus. Our experts reviewed the latest desert showdown and gave their assessment. Consider the list this week and determine whether our contributors found long-sought victory or fell into a slump of their own.

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 10 on a 10-9-8-7… 3-2-1 basis, giving 10 points to their first-place driver, 9 for second, and so on. In the end, Frank Velat calculates the points, adds some funny one-liners, and… here you go!

 2017 Top 10 After Phoenix

Total Votes



(Photo: NASCAR)

Kyle Larson

This man is going to win very soon. Maybe Sunday afternoon in Fontana. He’s done everything but win at this point. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch

First Place Votes: 7




(Photo: NASCAR)

Brad Keselowski

His cars have been fast every week, even when they were legal. Michael Massie, Frontstretch 

 First Place Votes: 1



(Photo: NASCAR)

Chase Elliott

While his finish last Sunday hardly reflected the kind of car that his No. 24 team prepared, the consistent, fast Chase Elliott is game to win multiple races in 2017. Rob Tiongson, The Podium Finish




(Photo: NASCAR)

Martin Truex Jr

One of these days, Furniture Row Racing will have to find a way to make their pit stops as fast as their cars.  Bryan Gable, Frontstretch




(Photo: NASCAR)

Kevin Harvick

No wins yet for the guy many call “The Closer” but don’t expect a zero in that stat line for much longer. Brent Jones, Tha Sports Junkies 101





(Photo: NASCAR)

Joey Logano

Whether or not Kyle landed a hit on him last week is up for debate. The turn one wall at Phoenix left no such doubt. Look for him to bounce back in Fontana. Frank Velat, Frontstretch 



(Photo: NASCAR)

Kyle Busch

Would have had the race won if it wasn’t for that last caution flag (for Joey Logano, no less- cue the black helicopters). But everything’s great, right? As a consolation prize, he wins the award for Snarkiest Press Conference. Pete McCole, Auto Racing 1



(Photo: NASCAR)

Ryan Blaney

He’s had the speed and the consistency this year, and with the Penske power under the hood, it’s the perfect combination to revitalize the Wood Brothers Racing group. Joseph Shelton, Speedway Media




(Photo: NASCAR)

Ryan Newman

Raise your hand if you had Newman winning a race this season. Heck, I’m not convinced that even Ryan Newman had Ryan Newman winning a race this season. Frank Velat




(Photo: NASCAR)

Kasey Kahne

Generally the quietest of Hendrick Motorsports’ four drivers but very solid so far. Phil Allaway


Others Receiving Votes: Jimmie Johnson (8), Kurt Busch (8), Jamie McMurray (6), Matt Kenseth (2), Denny Hamlin (2), Ricky Stenhouse (1)

Who Voted: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch; Bryan Gable, Frontstretch; Michael Massie, Frontstretch; Pete McCole, Auto Racing 1; Rob Tiongson, The Podium Finish; Brent Jones, Tha Sports Junkies 101; Joseph Shelton, Speedway Media; Frank Velat, Frontstretch.

About the author

Frank Velat has been an avid follower of NASCAR and other motorsports for over 20 years. He brings a blend of passionate fan and objective author to his work. Frank offers unique perspectives that everyone can relate to, remembering the sport's past all the while embracing its future. Follow along with @FrankVelat on Twitter.

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