Race Weekend Central

The 10: NASCAR Cup Series Power Rankings After Martinsville

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams rolled into Martinsville Speedway last weekend for the first short track race of 2017. As is always the case, a field of pristine, hand built cars started the race. Then, their drivers promptly beat against, leaned on and slammed into each other until nearly all of them looked destined for the scrapyard.

In the end, it was Brad Keselowski reeling in Kyle Busch, stealing the victory and handing him another near miss. The Miller Lite Ford team scored its second win of the season and the first at Martinsville for the blue oval folks since 2002. Hard to believe considering how many times a Miller sponsored No. 2 Penske Ford has won at Martinsville in the past.

So how about this week’s Power Rankings? Well, we crumpled a few fenders this week trying to decide which drivers deserved to be in the top 10. There was shooting steam, overheating engines, squealing wheels and billowing smoke. And that was just from our contributors as they inhaled hot dogs and compiled their lists. Yet, when all was said and done, they managed to save enough of their equipment for a big finish. You don’t need a grandfather clock to know that it’s time for some 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 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!

Total Votes



Brad Keselowski

If you are going to speed on pit road, do it early enough that you can recover, as the No. 2 team did. Bryan Gable, Frontstretch

First Place Votes: 5



(Photo: NASCAR)

Kyle Larson

If it wasn’t for meddling brake issues, the points leader would’ve salvaged a top-10 finish. Rob Tiongson, The Podium Finish

 First Place Votes: 2



(Photo: NASCAR)

Chase Elliott

He won the Truck race and Stage 2 of the Cup race, thanks to lapped traffic, making him the first person in the history of the world to be thankful for traffic. Michael Massie, Frontstretch




(Photo: NASCAR)

Kyle Busch

The only Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota that seems to remember how good it was last season. The other three? They’ve got themselves a case of amnesia.  Tom Bowles, Frontstretch



(Photo: NASCAR)

Joey Logano

Logano and his Penske teammate Keselowski did everything as a team: running into each other, getting pit road penalties, and coming back for top-five finishes. Frank Velat, Frontstetch





(Photo: NASCAR)

Martin Truex Jr

Someone needed to tell the Furniture Row Racing team they only won the first stage and there were still two more stages to go. Pete McCole, Auto Racing 1



(Photo: NASCAR)

Clint Bowyer

Who figured that he would be the only Stewart-Haas driver to finish better than 20th?. Bryan Gable



(Photo: NASCAR)

Ryan Blaney

While Blaney likely made more rivals than allies on Sunday (NASCAR Thunder 2004 reference), a winning day will come by avoiding on track skirmishes. Rob Tiongson




(Photo: NASCAR)

Ryan Newman

Both Newman and teammate Austin Dillon have run markedly better since Newman’s Phoenix win. Does earning that trophy have a trickle-down effect at Richard Childress Racing over the long-term? Tom Bowles




(Photo: NASCAR)

Erik Jones

Jones proved to be a fast learner last weekend at Martinsville, something he also did in 2015 where he finished 12th at Texas subbing for a suspended Kenseth. Brent Jones, Tha Sports Junkies 101



Others Receiving Votes: Matt Kenseth (5), Austin Dillon (5), Ricky Stenhouse Jr (3), Kevin Harvick (3), AJ Allmendinger (1), Jamie McMurray (1)

Who Voted: Bryan Gable, Frontstretch; Michael Massie, Frontstretch; Pete McCole, Auto Racing 1; Rob Tiongson, The Podium Finish; Brent Jones, Tha Sports Junkies 101; Frank Velat, Frontstretch; Tom Bowles, 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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