Race Weekend Central

The 10: NASCAR Cup Series Power Rankings After Charlotte

The stars of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returned to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the annual 600 mile marathon. Historically, the Coca-Cola 600 seems to generate first time winners a bit more often than most other events. From Jeff Gordon to Matt Kenseth, from Bobby Labonte to Casey Mears, more than a few drivers have made their maiden trip to the winner’s circle in NASCAR’s longest event. On Sunday night, Austin Dillon added his name to the list, returning the No. 3 to Victory Lane for the first time in 17 years.

When it comes to grueling marathons, our contributors are all too familiar with going the distance. With the help of a little (or in some cases, a lot of) caffeine, we made it through the rain delay and stayed awake long enough to see the Richard Childress Racing team turn the infield into a slip and slide. There might have been a few snooze buttons hit on Monday morning, coupled with some folks who looked more like zombies than writers. But it’s a sacrifice we’re willing to make.

So how did the power rankings fare after the extended Memorial Day weekend classic? Well, we were able to keep our bloodshot eyes open just long enough to compile a list for you. Now it’s time for you to weigh in. Were our minds still hitting on all cylinders despite running well past the midnight hour? Or was engine reliability more of an issue for our contributors than the race cars themselves?

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)

Martin Truex Jr

Vintage Truex came out to play Sunday night. You know, where he stinks up the show and still manages not to win. – Michael Massie, Frontstretch

First Place Votes: 3



(Photo: NASCAR)

Kyle Busch

Right on cue, Mr. Petulant returns. It’s almost like clockwork that he gets immature every few months. – Phil Allaway, Frontstretch


 First Place Votes: 1



(Photo: NASCAR)

Kyle Larson

Just a bump in the road for Larson, who drove from the back to the front and looked fast once again. – Bryan Gable, Frontstretch





Jimmie Johnson

There once was a time when it seemed Johnson couldn’t lose a 600. Now he can’t seem to win one. – Frank Velat, Frontstretch




Brad Keselowski

Just the wrong place at the wrong time for Keselowski. He should get bonus points for making it back home in time to Facebook Live from his backyard before the end of the rain delay.- Pete McCole, Auto Racing 1





(Photo: NASCAR)

Kevin Harvick

All things considered, an eighth-place finish at Charlotte was like a badge of honor for Happy Harvick – Rob Tiongson, The Podium Finish

First Place Votes: 1



(Photo: NASCAR)

Jamie McMurray

It has taken McMurray 15 seasons, but he finally has a level of consistency that can help him challenge for a championship. – Bryan Gable



(Photo: NASCAR)

Joey Logano

Logano was in the Coca-Cola 600. The No. 22 car was out there all night. I know, I know. I didn’t believe it either. – Frank Velat




(Photo: NASCAR)

Kurt Busch

After a somewhat post-Daytona debacle, the 41 team is starting to hit its stride with its third top 10 since Richmond. – Rob Tiongson




(Photo: NASCAR)

Austin Dillon

I wonder if Dillon is superstitious. If so, then he might fire his crew chief every week from now on. – Michael Massie



Others Receiving Votes: Erik Jones (8); Clint Bowyer (6); Denny Hamlin (2); Chase Elliott (2); Ricky Stenhouse Jr (2); Matt Kenseth (1); Daniel Suarez (1)

Who Voted: Bryan Gable, Frontstretch; Phil Allaway, Frontstretch; Pete McCole, Auto Racing 1; Michael Massie, Frontstretch; Frank Velat, Frontstretch; 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.

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Dillon wins an event on fuel mileage and now he’s top ten material? Danica won one too. “Nuff said!

Bill B

I thought the same thing Don. The guy was 20-something in points, having a dreadful year and boom, he backs into a fuel mileage win and now he’s top 10. For the writer to do that almost seems sarcastic.

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