Race Weekend Central

The 10: NASCAR Cup Series Power Rankings After Talladega

Fall is in the air as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series trekked into Alabama this weekend for its second visit to Talladega Superspeedway of 2017. On the upside, at least there weren’t any cars in the air this time around. However, Talladega still chewed ’em up and spit em out faster than you can say “the Big One.” After a bevy of crash-related yellow flags (and three red ones), the pack of cars left undamaged probably could have all rode back to Charlotte in one hauler.

Brad Keselowski managed to weave his way through the carnage and score yet another win. The victory, his fifth at Talladega, locked up his place in the next round of the playoffs and cemented his status as the driver to beat when the restrictor plates are handed out.

Now that the smoke has cleared and all the debris has been swept up, it’s time for our contributors to assess where everyone stands. A race at Talladega is essentially like dropping the field into a blender and seeing who gets diced the least. So who did we think snuck out with their momentum intact? Whose playoff dreams got carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey? Take a look and 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)

Martin Truex Jr.

The No. 78 team has been hitting its stride in the postseason, but the only thing that Truex hit at Talladega was the wall. – Bryan Gable, Frontstretch
First-Place Votes: 5



(Photo: NASCAR)

Kyle Larson

While the No. 42 team didn’t get the win, it can take pride in being one of the four playoff teams that actually finished the grueling race at Talladega. – Rob Tiongson, The Podium Finish




(Photo: NASCAR)

Brad Keselowski

It’s odd that some fans threw beer cans onto the track after the race. I almost expected him to get out and find a full one to chug. – Frank Velat, Frontstretch




(Photo: NASCAR)

Chase Elliott

A few weeks ago, he didn’t win and some said he wasn’t aggressive enough. On Sunday, he failed to win and some said he was too aggressive. Either way, he can’t win. He literally can’t win. – Michael Massie, Frontstretch



(Photo: NASCAR)

Denny Hamlin

A playoff contender making it through Talladega without hitting anything? That’s almost as good as a win. – Velat





(Photo: NASCAR)

Kyle Busch

The No. 18 team no longer has plenty of points, so Busch better hope that he still has plenty of speed. – Gable



(Photo: NASCAR)

Jimmie Johnson

He’s on the bubble right now. I wonder if he has any experience racing with a lot on the line. – Massie



(Photo: NASCAR)

Kevin Harvick

The whole point of people wearing fluorescent orange and camo is to avoid getting hit. That didn’t work so well. – Velat





(Photo: NASCAR)

Ryan Blaney

A stage victory for Blaney coupled with his strong track history at Kansas may be enough to get the No. 21 into the Round of 8. – Tiongson 




(Photo: NASCAR)

Matt Kenseth

The good news is that Kenseth was able to limp to the checkered flag on a day when many other title hopefuls could not. The bad news is that he is still below the cut line. – Gable 



Others Receiving Votes: Joey Logano (3); Jamie McMurray (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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