Race Weekend Central

The 10: NASCAR Cup Series Power Rankings After Dover

Championship hopes were at stake for some of the drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs this weekend. The second visit to Dover served as the initial cutoff point, after which the lowest four drivers in the standings would be eliminated.

Kyle Busch charged to the front in the closing laps, postponing Chase Elliott’s first career Cup win at least one more week. Elliott appeared to have the victory locked up until he ran up on Ryan Newman, who may or may not have held him up. As usual, that depends on who you ask. Either way, it made little difference as Newman joined Austin Dillon, Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne on the chopping block. For 12 drivers, the hunt continues in Charlotte next week. For those four, well, there’s always next year.

Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately) none of our contributors were eliminated after this week. Since they are all still in the running, each has provided their view of who is full throttle after round one and who is sputtering late in the season. Did they get it right? Let us know what you think.

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)

Kyle Busch

Busch’s wins have often been described as “taking candy from a baby.” Out of respect for Chase Elliott, I will refrain from using the expression. He’s more of a tween anyway. – Frank Velat, Frontstretch
First-Place Votes: 4



(Photo: NASCAR)

Martin Truex Jr

Looks like his chances of getting knocked out in the Round of 12 two years in a row are pretty slim. – Bryan Gable, Frontstretch

 First Place Votes: 1




(Photo: NASCAR)

Kyle Larson

Just like their numbers, he and Chase Elliott have inverted race performances. Larson does his best work with two laps to go, while Elliott forgets that races have a last two laps. – Michael Massie, Frontstretch




(Photo: NASCAR)

Denny Hamlin

He’s gotta be wondering: If the Toyotas have an advantage, when is his going to kick in? – Velat



(Photo: NASCAR)

Brad Keselowski

“This is Major Rob to Ground Control. Brad K finally won a stage.” And the papers want to know if the No. 2 team came ready to play. – Rob Tiongson, The Podium Finish





(Photo: NASCAR)

Jimmie Johnson

Until this past Sunday, he didn’t know it was possible to finish in the top five and not win. – Massie



(Photo: NASCAR)

Chase Elliott

Brutal loss, but there is still a championship up for grabs.  Elliott can’t get down on himself, especially with Charlotte and Talladega coming up. – Gable



(Photo: NASCAR)

Matt Kenseth

After a decent first round, Kenseth’s status as a true championship contender, much like his status for next year, is about as clear as mud. – Gable





(Photo: NASCAR)

Kevin Harvick

Round 1 didn’t go so well. Hopefully, it’s a sign that The Closer has all his bad luck out of the way. – Velat




(Photo: NASCAR)

Erik Jones

Well, week one without the mullet produced a near top 10 and a lot of tweets about Jones looking like Matt Kenseth. That’s actually kind of a good thing. – Tiongson 



Others Receiving Votes: Ryan Blaney (4); Daniel Suarez (3); Jamie McMurray (2); Clint Bowyer (2); Dale Earnhardt Jr (1); Ricky Stenhouse Jr (1)

Who Voted: Bryan Gable, 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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heres the line up for Homestead Johnson wins Martinsville ( he has done it before) Keselowski wins Texas ( he has done it before) Harvick wins Phoenix ( he has done it before) Truex in on points. Kez wins the Cup— I, on the other hand have never won anything so dont’t bet the farm

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