Race Weekend Central

The 10: NASCAR Cup Series Power Rankings After Talladega

The high banks of Talladega Superspeedway were the site of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event this past weekend. The GEICO 500 brought much of what we’ve come to expect from the 2.66 mile tri-oval in Alabama. Close action. Different faces at the front of the field. Airborne cars. Enough bent sheet metal to bring a tear to the eye of the most veteran fabricators.

Yes, even a new face in Victory Lane.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has shown massive improvement thus far in the 2017 season, as has his Roush Fenway Racing team. The cars are competitive, the driver is steering clear of trouble, and the finishes seem to match where the car runs. But no one could have predicted the kind of weekend that Stenhouse experienced at Talladega. It began by earning the pole position in qualifying and ended in Victory Lane for the first time in his Cup career.

That’s not to say there weren’t a few hurdles in between. But it’s looking like a corner has been turned in the RFR camp this season.

In addition to the race winner, there were quite a few other storylines throughout the field that made Talladega a must see once again. Everyone from second-place finisher Jamie McMurray to underdog David Ragan made headlines as the race was well received by the fan base.

As for the newest Power Rankings, our contributors looked to separate themselves from the pack. You won’t catch any of these folks riding around in back! It’s full throttle, go for every opening, checkers or wreckers with this bunch.

So read over the list and decide for yourself which of us shoved our way to the front of the draft and which ones got shuffled out of line and hung out to dry.

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


(Photo: NASCAR)

Brad Keselowski

You could give Bad Brad a monkey as his crew chief, a bicycle with training wheels as his vehicle, and he would still find a way to run well at Talladega. – Michael Massie, Frontstretch

First Place Votes: 4



(Photo: NASCAR)

Kyle Larson

Surviving early setbacks rewarded Larson with a 12th-place finish and a bigger points lead. – Brent Jones, Tha Sports Junkies 101

 First Place Votes: 1



(Photo: NASCAR)

Jimmie Johnson

Kind of a quiet day for the No. 48 team, but sometimes quiet is good at Talladega. – Bryan Gable, Frontstretch




(Photo: NASCAR)

Joey Logano

An encumbered win, then a crash at Talladega. You can bet the No. 22 is glad it’s a new race weekend.  – Brent Jones



(Photo: NASCAR)

Jamie McMurray

A bold move late paid off with a great finish but McMurray could really use a win. It would go a long way towards shaking the title of “that other Ganassi driver”. – Frank Velat, Frontstretch





(Photo: NASCAR)

Martin Truex Jr

Mark off “get involved in a horrendous accident with flipping vehicles” from the checklist of ways Truex has ruined his shot at winning a race. – Michael Massie



(Photo: NASCAR)

Kyle Busch

“Everything’s great.” “Balls and strikes.” “A real racetrack.” We’re going to have a whole list of Kyle Busch catchphrases by the time the season is over. – Bryan Gable



(Photo: NASCAR)

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Poor Ricky. He wins a Cup race in thrilling fashion and some news outlets still essentially identify him as Mr. Danica Patrick. What’s a guy gotta do to make a name for himself? – Frank Velat




(Photo: NASCAR)

Chase Elliott

The second of the Hendrick powerhouse efforts was just 20 laps from a solid finish at Talladega. Instead, the No. 24 car looked like Hooters wings after they’ve been consumed. – Rob Tiongson, The Podium Finish





(Photo: NASCAR)

Kevin Harvick

While he was collected in the lap 169 melee, seems like the kinks in those No. 4 Ford cars have been worked out at last. – Rob Tiongson



Others Receiving Votes: Clint Bowyer (8); Kasey Kahne (2); Denny Hamlin (1); Kurt Busch (1)

Who Voted: Bryan Gable, Frontstretch; Michael Massie, Frontstretch; Frank Velat, Frontstretch; Brent Jones, Tha Sports Junkies 101; Rob Tiongson, The Podium Finish.

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.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Share via