Race Weekend Central

The 10: NASCAR Cup Series Power Rankings After Texas

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series two-stepped into the wide open spaces of Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday. Or, shall we say, the wider open spaces. The track was repaved since the tour last visited the 1.5-mile quad-oval, and, among other enhancements, the racing surface in Turns 1 and 2 was widened by about 20 feet. As is usually the case when a track is repaved, few knew what to expect out of the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500. Notebooks from past years’ events were rendered useless, and the playing field was leveled with everyone starting from scratch.

However, anyone who has followed NASCAR with any sort of regularity over the past decade knows one particular driver who can take advantage of a level playing field. Jimmie Johnson came into the weekend on a six race winless streak and looking to break out of the slump. I know what you’re thinking, but that is a slump for the seven-time champion. Johnson capitalized on a late race caution, taking the lead after the restart and rocketing away to victory. With the win, Johnson continued his streak of winning a race in each of his 16 full-time seasons in Cup.

So what did we learn for the power rankings post-Texas? First off, media members would likely make terrible cattle ranchers. WiFi on the range is spotty at best, saddles don’t have cup holders for coffee, and the only fire any of us can make is an emoji. Instead, we’ll stick to what we know: air conditioning, social media and telling you who’s coming up on the horizon and who’s blowing away like a tumbleweed.

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

The last time Keselowski qualified lower than sixth? February’s Daytona 500… where he started seventh. To say Team Penske is on top of its game these days is an understatement. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch

First Place Votes: 4



(Photo: NASCAR)

Kyle Larson

Larson took back his customary second-place result at Texas.  Do not be surprised if he does one better at Bristol. Bryan Gable, Frontstretch

 First Place Votes: 2



(Photo: NASCAR)

Joey Logano

Only fitting with Penske’s recent form that Logano starts to find his stride with a third at Texas. Brent Jones, Tha Sports Junkies 1o1




(Photo: NASCAR)

Chase Elliott

This time, the No. 24 was not the only Hendrick team that looked like it had its act together..  Bryan Gable



(Photo: NASCAR)

Martin Truex Jr

Had someone predicted a couple years ago that Truex and the No. 78 would go on to become the best running Toyota, that person would have been taken to a doctor. Or rehab. Michael Massie, Frontstetch





(Photo: NASCAR)

Ryan Blaney

Blaney looked like a seasoned veteran on Texas’ new racing surface, but you have to wonder if he used up his best stuff too early. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Pete McCole, Auto Racing 1



Jimmie Johnson

You were saying something about the No. 48 team losing its edge? Yeah, probably should’ve held off on that for about 29 more races. Frank Velat, Frontstretch



(Photo: NASCAR)

Kyle Busch

Is it Carl? Is it Dave Rogers? Is it Toyota? Has Kyle just woken up on the wrong side of the bed for two months? Whatever the reason, there’s trouble in paradise over at Joe Gibbs Racing. Tom Bowles




Clint Bowyer

It would be the perfect fairytale ending if Bowyer wins at Richmond, since that’s where his nightmare known as the past couple of years started. Michael Massie




(Photo: NASCAR)

Kevin Harvick

Fourth-place showing at Texas was just what the doctored ordered after a sluggish start to the season. Brent Jones



Others Receiving Votes: Jamie McMurray (5); Kurt Busch (2)

Who Voted: Bryan Gable, Frontstretch; Michael Massie, Frontstretch; Pete McCole, Auto Racing 1; 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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