Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 10 NASCAR Drivers Ahead of Talladega

Image courtesy of @TalladegaSuperS.

On Sunday afternoon in Richmond, it appeared no driver could touch Kurt Busch. The only driver that had enough speed to keep up with the No. 41 car was his teammate Kevin Harvick.

Stewart-Haas Racing had a strong weekend, but would it be enough to put two drivers into the top five in this week’s power rankings? Seeing as how this is our first edition, we’ll kick it off with the most obvious choice at the top and work our way through the top 10.

 

1. Kevin Harvick, Stewart Haas Racing

Image courtesy of @ChevroletCo.

Image courtesy of @ChevroletCo.

2015 Statistics: Two wins, seven top fives, eight top 10s

Recent Result: Second

Why He’s Here: We shouldn’t really have to explain why Kevin Harvick is at the top of this list because the stats can do the talking. Harvick has two checkered flags and has an absurd seven top-two finishes this season—not just top-five—and is well on his way to a second straight championship.

 

2. Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports

2015 Statistics: Two wins, five top fives, six top 10s

Recent Result: Third

Why He’s Here: Six-Time is still the man to beat in the Hendrick stable, but still hasn’t surpassed Harvick. Despite not finishing 20th or better at Talladega last season, Jimmie Johnson will still be a driver to watch this weekend. With two victories in his career at the track, he has a shot at becoming the first driver with three wins this year.

 

3. Joey Logano, Team Penske

Image courtesy of @FordPerformance.

Image courtesy of @FordPerformance.

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

Recent Result: Fifth

Why He’s Here: The Daytona 500 winner hasn’t visited Victory Lane since the season opener, but is still near the top of the leaderboard nearly every week. He collected the pole at Richmond, but he’ll be looking to bring home another victory for Penske at the second restrictor plate race of the season.

 

4. Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing

2015 Statistics: No wins, one top five, eight top 10s

Recent Result: 10th

Why He’s Here: The race for fourth and fifth is tightly contested after Richmond, but Martin Truex Jr. gets the edge. His consistency this season with a single-car team has been remarkable. This bounce-back season for Truex just keeps rolling along heading into Talladega, a track where he collected two top-10 finishes in 2013.

 

5. Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing

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

Recent Result: Win

Why He’s Here: Since his return to the track, only Harvick has been hotter than Kurt Busch. His SHR teammate has 223 points over the last six races while Busch has 222 in that span. The No. 41 machine is now locked into the Chase and will be a legitimate contender once he gets there.

 

6. Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing

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

Recent Result: Seventh

Why He’s Here: Following up a win at Bristol with a seventh-place result at Richmond would typically put a driver in the top five. However, Busch’s win along with the stiff competition at the top of the rankings leaves Matt Kenseth on the outside looking in—barely. 

 

7. Brad Keselowski, Team Penske

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

Recent Result: 17th

Why He’s Here: Finishing 17th was not entirely Brad Keselowski’s fault, but it was his second straight finish outside the top 15 in the last two races. He’s still one of the best drivers every weekend, but needs something to go right for him in ‘Dega. Not that it matters too much with a Chase spot already clinched.  

 

8. Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports

jeffgordon

Image courtesy of @JeffGordonWeb.

2015 Statistics: No wins, one top five, six top 10s

Recent Result: Eighth

Why He’s Here: The wins haven’t come (yet) for Jeff Gordon, but he’s been ridiculously consistent since a horrid start at Daytona and Atlanta. Take those two results—33rd and 41st—and Gordon would easily be higher on this list. Look for Gordon to keep climbing the Chase Grid and eventually secure a spot in the postseason with the speed he’s shown recently.  

 

9. Kasey Kahne, Hendrick Motorsports

2015 Statistics: No wins, one top five, four top 10s

Recent Result: Sixth

Why He’s Here: Kasey Kahne has sneakily found himself in the top 10 week after week and been a legitimate contender at races like Phoenix, Texas and Richmond this season. Blue Eyes looked strong on Sunday afternoon, but eventually fell just short of another top five. With the Hendrick engines smoking hot in 2015, Kahne will burning out after the checkered flag waves soon.

 

10. Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing

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

Recent Result: 22nd

Why He’s Here: The only reason why Denny Hamlin is still in the top tier of drivers is the “Winner” sticker on the driver’s side of his No. 11 machine. Two straight poor finishes have Dale Earnhardt Jr. and others knocking on the door, which might very well change at Talladega. For now, Hamlin is the last name on the list after nine races.

 

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