Once again, it’s time for our weekly NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Power Rankings. Who is at the top of our list following the CanAm 500K from Phoenix as the series heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway to settle the 2016 Sprint Cup Championship?
The series’ penultimate race at Phoenix yesterday delivered everything one could expect from a race which in some respects, was just as vital to determining the Champion as next week will be. There was the silver-spoon boy and the No. 48 exiting early in the same incident, a substitute driver leading the most laps and drama at the end which included pit strategy, wrecks and overtime.
Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Joey Logano and Kyle Busch will vie for the Championship next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The excitement is not lost on the other 36 drivers, as they too have a multitude of reasons to capture one more checkered flag. We would also be remiss if we did not give a salute to three-time Champion and future Hall of Fame member Tony Stewart as he concludes his Sprint Cup driving career.
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!
(Last Week: NR) – The No. 1 team is finishing a season that saw them competitive at times, but very inconsistent at many others. The main goal for 2017 is to improve the consistency and leave no question as to whether they’re a serious player or not.
No. 27,Richard Childress Racing
(Last Week: NR) – The same need to improve consistency can be said for Paul Menard and the No. 27 team. With his experience, daddy’s money and RCR resources, there is little reason why he should be bobbing on and off of this list. The pieces are in place to make it happen.
(Last Week: 12) – Newman is advised to relax this off-season and decide if he wants to be an ambassador for the sport as a veteran with his experience should be, or if he wants to carry the chip on his shoulder some more and whine because he thinks this sport owes him something that he hasn’t yet earned.
No. 21,Wood Brothers Racing
(Last Week: 14) – Quite honestly, I expected more from this team in 2016. I predicted a win that hasn’t happened and some more consistency. Neither happened, but I know that Blaney, the Penske alliance and the Wood Brothers class will allow them to dust themselves off and come back in ’17 with renewed focus, vigor and enthusiasm.
No. 42,Chip Ganassi Racing
(Last Week: NR) – I liked the fight that this team showed in Phoenix, despite having been eliminated long ago from the Chase, and not deferring to those still in the hunt. Everyone left knowing that the No. 42 was there. I think they’ll be a player again next year, too.
No. 5,Hendrick Motorsports
(Last Week: 11) – As another colleague remarked, when did we ever think we’d see Bowman and Kahne lead the field to a restart? Guess the No. 5 was perfect yesterday, otherwise Kasey would have given up on lap 2 as usual.
No. 2,Penske Racing
(Last Week: 9) – As soon as Brad was eliminated from the Chase, he seems to have forgotten about it. Making laps and vacation plans seems to be his agenda now. Plus, he still hasn’t unblocked me from his Twitter.
(Last Week: 3) – Black flag to this team for the whole weekend. The driver wrecked the primary car in practice on Friday, and then the crew couldn’t un-cheat the backup in time to get through inspection for qualifying, resulting in them not posting a time. The race for them was like a dog chasing its tail… going in circles while accomplishing nothing.
No. 48,Hendrick Motorsports
(Last Week: 1) – I have to wonder if this team is not a little flustered heading to Miami. Any momentum was lost with a wreck that broke a radiator and another pit penalty – two issues that can’t happen next week if Jimmie is to capture his 7th title?
No. 19,Joe Gibbs Racing
(Last Week: 2) – Who approved your vacation time to coincide with the Phoenix race?
No. 24,Hendrick Motorsports
(Last Week: 10) – The No. 24 team fought all the way to the end on Sunday, and don’t think they can’t spoil someones party next week, either. Elliott knows he has as much right to the checkered flag as anyone.
No. 4,Stewart-Haas Racing
(Last Week: 6) – The lack of any information sharing with HMS was never more evident than it was in Phoenix. Both Kevin and team mate Kurt Busch needed a win, and both looked like they were on a treadmill.
(Last Week: 8) – Are crew chiefs required to undergo concussion testing if there is reason to believe their judgement might be off a little bit? If so, send Wheels to the front of the line.
No. 20,Joe Gibbs Racing
(Last Week: 7) – Matt had the finish he wanted in the bag and then was left wondering what happened. Just like Hillary!
No. 18,Joe Gibbs Racing
(Last Week: 5) – He said that he felt somewhat responsible for the No. 20 car’s late-race wreck. Is anyone else actually believing that?
No. 88,Hendrick Motorsports
(Last Week: 15) – Alex won the pole, led the most laps on Sunday and was always in the mix. It will be disappointing if he gets caught in the business of racing, because this kid has proven everything asked of him.