NASCAR Power Rankings: The Can-Am 500K From Phoenix International Raceway

Power Rankings

Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Once again, it’s time for our weekly NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Power Rankings. Who is at the top of our list following the AAA 500 From Texas as the series heads to Phoenix International Raceway to determine the final guaranteed spot for the Championship at Homestead?

Carl Edwards needs to buy his pit crew whatever they want after getting him out with the lead which he was able to hold until rain cut the race short by 40 laps at Texas on Sunday evening.  In doing so, Edwards joins Jimmie Johnson as two of the four drivers who will compete for the Sprint Cup in Miami.

Drivers Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin are separated by just three points and it would seem that the season’s other two championship contenders will come from among these drivers.  Stewart-Haas teammates Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch are 18 and 34 points below the cutoff, respectively.   As SHR prepares to switch to Ford in 2017, any Hendrick support that SHR was still receiving is clearly gone now, as are (most likely) Kevin’s and Kurt’s chances to advance without a win at Phoenix…. although Harvick has proven in recent years that such a comeback is possible.

Be sure to leave comments here or reach us via social media to discuss where your favorite driver is on the list, or to tell us who should be on/off the list in your opinion!

Dropping off the list this week:  3, 41

New (or returning) to the list this week:  21, 88

Power Rankings

Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Honorable Mentions

Greg Biffle

No. 16, Roush-Fenway Racing

HM

(Last Week: NR) – Just when Roush-Fenway racing is getting some momentum, here comes another off-season. At Daytona, you’ll preach about the optimism that a new year brings, yadda… yadda, but when you don’t hit your stride until November each year, winning anything is kinda tough — just ask the Cleveland Indians.

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

No. 17, Roush-Fenway Racing

HM

(Last Week: NR) – If Danica can get you and Kurt in the plane after Martinsville and up to Chicago for Game 5 of the World Series, she’s a keeper. Since the crew members are getting Danica tattoos, you had best get to the jewelry store quickly….. hot chicks get bored while waiting.

Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Power Rankings (No. 15 – No. 11)

Alex Bowman

No. 88, Hendrick Motorsports

#15

(Last Week: NR) – The 4-month job interview is just about over, now let’s see if someone makes an offer. They should.

Ryan Blaney

No. 21, Wood Brothers Racing

#14

(Last Week: NR) – Guess you weren’t gone after all. Solid 12th-place finish to hopefully set up being strong for years to come…. just like the Cubs!

A.J. Allmendinger

No. 47, JTG Daugherty Racing

#13

(Last Week: 8) – It just seems like the phrase “maybe next year” is uttered an awful lot regarding your team. Go to some Cubs games next year and see how to break the curse!

Ryan Newman

No. 31, Richard Childress Racing

#12

(Last Week: 14) – Three types of people at a race track – those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened. Which one are you?

Kasey Kahne

No. 5, Hendrick Motorsports

#11

(Last Week: 11) – Drivers are often asked what is different when a series returns to a track for the second time in a season. Hmmmm….oh yeah, that’s right — the last time you were here, you actually had a sponsor.

Power Rankings

Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Power Rankings (No. 10 – No. 6)

Chase Elliott

No. 24, Hendrick Motorsports

#10

(Last Week: 13) – I had an old football coach who said that we were going to practice until we threw up, and then we were going to practice some more. Guess you had the dude on the No. 24 team at Texas, huh?

Brad Keselowski

No. 2, Penske Racing

#9

(Last Week: 5) – Brad doesn’t like the fact that medicine has evolved to the point where a neurologist, with 3 times the advanced education Brad has, can diagnose a concussion and order a driver out of the car. We’ll make sure you get a nice padded coffin for the ride home when he lets you race with one then, OK Brad?

Denny Hamlin

No. 11, Joe Gibbs Racing

#8

(Last Week: 2) – The way the stars aligned on Sunday night, Denny was always on the top for each re-start, and Denny said “I don’t like being on top.” We’ll just leave that right here.

Matt Kenseth

No. 20, Joe Gibbs Racing

#7

(Last Week: 3) – “If I wasn’t in clean air, I just couldn’t do anything.” Yes Matt, that’s the problem with these cars, the Texas track, the Sprint Cup series, many of the tracks on which we race, etc., etc., etc.

Kevin Harvick

No. 4, Stewart-Haas Racing

#6

(Last Week: 9) – The silver spoon kid needs to have a fork put into him, because he’s done. Oh wait, he was never here.

Power Rankings

Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Power Rankings (No. 5 – No. 1)

Kyle Busch

No. 18, Joe Gibbs Racing

#5

(Last Week: 4) – Hard fought 5th-place finish at Texas, but another driver who lamented how crucial clean air is. When will NASCAR listen? Answer: Only when they damn well want to, that’s when.

Joey Logano

No. 22, Penske Racing

#4

(Last Week: 7) – Probably the strongest car all night, as he was able to fend off whomever challenged him. Oh that’s right, he had clean air. Pattern here?

Martin Truex, Jr.

No. 78, Furniture Row Motorsports

#3

(Last Week: 6) – There were only five cars on Sunday who improved their starting position by more than six spots, and the No. 78 was one of them. As someone else said this weekend, “He’s truly the ’16 Champion. Then. Talladega. Happened.”

Carl Edwards

No. 19, Joe Gibbs Racing

#2

(Last Week: 10) – Let’s see…. being placed in a must-win situation and having rain affect the outcome of an event. It worked for the Chicago Cubs too!

Jimmie Johnson

No. 48, Hendrick Motorsports

#1

(Last Week: 1) – Pitting as the final rain shower was coming was the right move had the race resumed, but it didn’t. A day early and a dollar ahead for a change.

This article originally appeared on