Race Weekend Central

The 10: NASCAR Cup Series Power Rankings After Chicagoland

This weekend kicked off the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs at Chicagoland Speedway. 16 drivers began their pursuit of the biggest prize in stock car racing. One driver is chasing his record setting eighth crown. Five more are after title number two. The other 10 are seeking to add a cup championship to their resumes. Winning round one would ensure that they would keep that dream alive at least into round two.

Funny thing is, the only driver who didn’t need a win to guarantee his place in the next round ended up taking the checkered. Regular season champion and playoff point hoarder Martin Truex Jr overcame a pit road miscue to claim his fifth win of the year. Even being doused with slime couldn’t erase the smile on his face. It was certainly a far cry from his less than amused post-race expression following last week’s race in Richmond.

One can only imagine how long it took Truex to remove all of the goo that was dumped on him in Victory Lane. Fortunately, our contributors were spared from a bath of green ooze. Besides, they’re slippery enough already. So did we put together a slick group of 10 after Chicagoland? Or did we just end up making a slimy mess? You decide.

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, nine 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.

Here’s the scary thing: that mountain of playoff
points got even bigger. – Bryan Gable, Frontstretch
First-Place Votes: 5



(Photo: NASCAR)

Kyle Busch

Do you think Kyle Busch just didn’t feel like typing out his insult or is he one of those people who use text acronyms when they talk out loud? – Frank Velat, Frontstretch




(Photo: NASCAR)

Kyle Larson

If he wins this title, he may be forced to retire because who knows what kind of physical pain owner Chip Ganassi will inflict on him for something that big? – Michael Massie, Frontstretch




(Photo: NASCAR)

Denny Hamlin

He hasn’t won at Chicagoland since it made a turtle as the trophy. Is he scared of those as well? – Massie



(Photo: NASCAR)

Kevin Harvick

Seeing the amazing pickup in speed from the No. 4 Ford team tells me that this bunch is ready to work for their second championship – Rob Tiongson, The Podium Finish





(Photo: NASCAR)

Chase Elliott

The No. 24 team is rebounding at the right time thanks to a runner-up finish at Chicagoland. He only needs consistent finishes now to easily advance. – Brent Jones, Tha Sports Junkies 101



(Photo: NASCAR)

Brad Keselowski

Long after tweeting in car pics, Keselowski is still making waves on Twitter. Unfortunately for NASCAR, they can’t ban cell phones in the motorcoach lot. – Velat



(Photo: NASCAR)

Jimmie Johnson

There was a No. 48 on the track this past weekend. First time I’ve seen it since Dover. – Massie





Matt Kenseth

For a man whose current goal is just to simply finish races, he’ll take a ninth and look forward to a potentially magical weekend at Loudon. – Tiongson




– 5

(Photo: NASCAR)

Kurt Busch

A persistent vibration messed up a promising run.  Can the No. 41 team rebound? – Gable



Others Receiving Votes: Ryan Blaney (9); Erik Jones  (6) Joey Logano (4); Jamie McMurray (4); Ryan Newman (2)

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

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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