Race Weekend Central

The 10: NASCAR Cup Series Power Rankings After Daytona

Fourth of July weekend means one thing for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series: a return to the beaches and high banks of Daytona. Freedom, fireworks and star-spangled race cars highlight the traditional midpoint of the season. As the final restrictor plate race before the playoffs begin, many teams looked to the Coke Zero 400 as their best shot to sneak in a victory.

In the end, it was Ricky Stenhouse Jr. who picked up his second straight win at a plate track. The resurgence of the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford has vaulted Stenhouse into a legitimate threat to win. Whether that momentum continues remains to be seen, but it’s hard to overlook the organization after its performance thus far in 2017.

Now, we turn our attention once again to the Power Rankings. There’s not much better than Daytona under the lights. So now that the firecrackers have faded into the distance, we’ve scraped the confetti from our laptops and assessed the latest version of NASCAR with a side of independence. But while all contributors are created equal, their power rankings can be downright tyrannical. Now it’s time for you to declare who got it right and who wouldn’t know self-evident from incompetent.

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)

Kyle Larson

If anything is going to derail Larson this year, it will be the restrictor plate tracks. Talladega could be the end of his championship run in the making. – Bryan Gable, Frontstretch

First Place Votes: 6



(Photo: NASCAR)

Martin Truex Jr.

Two tough weeks won’t derail the No. 78 from contending and battling for a victory this weekend at Kentucky. – Rob Tiongson, The Podium Finish




(Photo: NASCAR)

Brad Keselowski

Keselowski is probably the best restrictor plate racer in the Cup Series today.  However, that doesn’t necessarily mean all that much when heck goes down around you. – Phil Allaway, Frontstretch




(Photo: NASCAR)

Kevin Harvick

He had a bad race at Daytona, but I could pretty much say that for everyone on this list.. – Michael Massie, Frontstretch



(Photo: NASCAR)

Kyle Busch

Hard to believe that at this state in the season that Ricky Stenhouse Jr has twice as many wins as Kyle Busch. – Pete McCole, Auto Racing 1





Jimmie Johnson

Johnson and company are about ready to head into summer dormancy mode. Wake them up after Richmond. – Rob Tiongson



(Photo: NASCAR)

Jamie McMurray

Big Mac got in a big wreck and still managed to get a top-15 finish. How has this guy not won yet? – Frank Velat, Frontstretch



(Photo: NASCAR)

Clint Bowyer

Another second-place finish. Kevin Harvick is starting to regret sharing information with Bowyer after he keeps finishing in Happy’s favorite position. – Michael Massie





Denny Hamlin

The fab shop at Joe Gibbs Racing probably won’t get July 4th off this year. They’ve got a pretty big workload this week.  – Frank Velat




(Photo: NASCAR)

Ricky Stenhouse

Once the playoffs begin, he will probably be the only driver looking forward to Talladega. – Bryan Gable



Others Receiving Votes: Ryan Blaney (10); Chase Elliott (10); Matt Kenseth (2); Erik Jones (2); Michael McDowell (1)

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