NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 10 NASCAR drivers ahead of Pocono

Jimmie Johnson did it again. Not just win in 2015, which he’s now done four times, he also claimed victory for the 10th time at Dover. That puts him in elite territory with legends like Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt and, more importantly, also back on the top of our power rankings.

OK, maybe that’s an overstatement, but we can dream, right? Before heading to the Tricky Triangle, let’s start with the six-time champion and see where every other driver falls.

 

1. Jimmie Johnson

Last Week: 2

2015 Statistics: Four wins, eight top fives, nine top 10s

Recent Result: Win

Why He’s Here: Boom! Confetti! Those two words should be enough to put Six-Time back at the top of the list. After two disappointing showings at Charlotte, Johnson still dominated the Monster Mile. When NASCAR heads back to Dover, JJ sweeping would secure a spot in the second round of the Chase.

 

2. Kevin Harvick

Last Week: 1

2015 Statistics: Two wins, nine 10 fives, 12 top 10s

Recent Result: Second

Why He’s Here: Playing second fiddle to Johnson is getting really old for Kevin Harvick. The 2014 champion has finished second in seven points races this year—four of which were behind Johnson. For his efforts, Harvick currently sits in second behind JJ—sorry, Harv.

 

3. Martin Truex Jr.

Image courtesy of @NASCARONFOX.

Image courtesy of @NASCARONFOX.

Last Week: 4

2015 Statistics: Three top fives, 12 top 10s

Recent Result: Sixth

Why He’s Here: Martin Truex Jr. led the most laps in a points race for the third straight week. He also faded down the stretch and had to settle for a top-10 finish for the third straight week. Settling for a top 10 each week isn’t a bad thing, but he might still need a win to clinch a spot in the Chase.

 

4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Last Week: 3

2015 Statistics: One win, seven top fives, 10 top 10s

Recent Result: 14th

Why He’s Here: A penalty in the pits derailed any chance for Dale Earnhardt Jr. to get to Victory Lane in Dover. It also ended his streak of three straight top-three finishes. Never fear, Jr. Nation, Pocono is this weekend. Coming off two straight victories at the track last year, Junior will be the favorite heading into the Tricky Triangle.

 

5. Joey Logano

Last Week: 5

2015 Statistics: One win, Six top fives, Nine top 10s

Recent Result: 11th

Why He’s Here: Neither Team Penske driver was a true contender at Dover, but both still came away with consistent results. Logano fought all afternoon to remain on the lead lap and narrowly missed out on a top 10. He’s not going anywhere on this list, but appears to be on cruise control after his Daytona 500 win before the Chase.

 

6. Denny Hamlin

Last Week: 7

2015 Statistics: One win, three top fives, five top 10s

Recent Result: 21st

Why He’s Here: Wait, Denny Hamlin finished outside of the top 20 and still moved up in the power rankings? After showing off his speed all afternoon and leading 118 laps, Hamlin was tagged by Clint Bowyer in a wreck that also claimed Kurt Busch. Thanks to the results he had beforehand, Hamlin moves ahead of Busch this week.

 

7. Kurt Busch

Last Week: 6

2015 Statistics: One win, three top fives, five top 10s

Recent Result: 31st

Why He’s Here: Despite a strong performance for nearly the entire race, Busch was sideswiped by Hamlin late. His contact with Hamlin ended what looked like a no-doubt top 10 for Busch, so the final result wasn’t telling of the day he had. Holding an average finish of 6.5 at Pocono in the last three races, look for Busch to rebound on Sunday.

 

8. Brad Keselowski

Image courtesy of @FordPerformance.

Last Week: 9

2015 Statistics: One win, three top fives, eight top 10s

Recent Result: 12th

Why He’s Here: This is more of a product of Matt Kenseth floundering in Dover than Brad Keselowski actually thriving. Kes moves up to the No. 8 spot this week even after going down two laps and finishing 12th at the Monster Mile. He’ll need much more than that to retain the spot after Pocono.

 

9. Matt Kenseth

Last Week: 8

2015 Statistics: One win, four top fives, seven top 10s

Recent Result: 39th

Why He’s Here: Suspension issues hurt Kenseth all afternoon and eventually led to him going 59 laps down. He finished last in the Joe Gibbs Racing stable, which had a frustrating Sunday as a whole. His previous results helped keep him in the top 10, but nothing is guaranteed heading to Pennsylvania.

 

10. Kasey Kahne

Image courtesy of @TeamHendrick.

Image courtesy of @TeamHendrick.

Last Week: N/R

2015 Statistics: Two top fives, five top 10s

Recent Result: Fourth

Why He’s Here: If Kasey Kahne would just start out like he finishes, he might be much higher on this list. For the third time in the last five points races, Kahne started 25th or worse. He has an average finish of 7.3 in those races, including a season-best fourth-place result in Dover. Don’t count out Kahne even if he starts from the back.

 

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