NASCAR Power Rankings: Texas Motor Speedway


Apr 10, 2015; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) during qualifying for the Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

1 Kevin Harvick- The Closer’s remarkable streak of consecutive top-two finishes has officially ended at eight. After all, the champ is only human, and how fitting is it that the Sprint Cup Series is returning to the place where this impressive streak began last fall (Texas Motor Speedway)?

You get the feeling Harvick will seize this opportunity to forge ahead and continue his reign of dominance over his closest competitors.

Harvick finished second last fall at Texas Motor Speedway.

2 Joey Logano- It was on this race weekend, one year ago that we started to realize Joey Logano was on his way to becoming a major superstar in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. A year later, we’re starting to realize that Sliced Bread has, indeed, risen to the top of the heap, and he looks very much like a guy poised to become a champion.

Logano has recorded three top-five finishes in the last four races at Texas Motor Speedway.

3 Brad Keselowski- Since bombing out of the Daytona 500 with a blown engine, BK has looked near invincible in his valiant march towards the top of the Sprint Cup Series standings. Yes, points racing has lost most of it’s luster, but I am completely marveled by BK’s consistent nature.

Keselowski has recorded four top-10 finishes in the last five races at Texas Motor Speedway.

4 Martin Truex Jr.- Two years ago Marty finished second in the spring event at Texas Motor Speedway; two years later, he’s gunning for his first win in over two years. For those of you expecting him to falter this week, don’t bet the house on it. It seems Truex can do no wrong this season, even under some of the most trying circumstances. That’s forward progress at its finest, friends.

Truex has recorded two top-five finishes in 19-career starts at Texas Motor Speedway.

5 Denny Hamlin- Vintage Denny Hamlin was on display at Martinsville, as Chesterfield Virginia’s favorite son lead 91 laps en route to his first victory of the 2015 season. Winning is always fun, but Joe Gibbs Racing has a lot of work to do before any of their drivers can start thinking about a title. Just ask Denny; he’d be the first to tell you so.

Hamlin swept both races at Texas Motor Speedway in 2010, but since then has finished no better than seventh.

6 Kasey Kahne- Even though it’s been a wild rollercoaster ride for Mr. Kahne in 2015, he somehow finds himself fifth in points ahead of all three of his Hendrick Motorsports comrades, despite failing to win a race and only recording two top-10 finishes. Welcome to the wackiness that is the new norm in the Sprint Cup Series.

Kahne has recorded one victory (2006) in 21-career starts at Texas Motor Speedway.

7 Dale Earnhardt Jr.- Well, here we are again, Junior Nation; your driver’s back is against the wall for the second time in as many weeks. Can Dale Jr. overcome another spoonful of adversity and come out on the upside of a bad situation? I think he can after all he has the support of millions and millions of fans around the nation.

Dale Jr. has recorded one victory (2000) in 25-career starts at Texas Motor Speedway.

8 Jeff Gordon-   Look who’s been building a little wave of momentum in recent weeks, none other than the four-time champion Jeff Gordon, and all of a sudden, we are romanticizing about the possibility of a fifth title for Gordon. Funny how three consecutive top-10 finishes can do such a thing. Just wait until he finally wins a race; we may impulsively crown him the five-time champ.

Gordon finished second in last spring’s race at Texas Motor Speedway.

9 Jimmie Johnson – JJ has won at least one race at Texas Motor Speedway for the past three seasons; anyone who thinks he can’t make it four has clearly gone bananas. Why are we infatuated with writing off Jimmie Johnson just because he is coming off a bad race? I guess some folks will never learn.

Johnson has recorded four victories (2007, ’12, ’13, ’14) in 23-career starts at Texas Motor Speedway.

10 Aric Almirola- I know it’s way too early in the season to be talking about the most improved driver from the previous year’s campaign, but Aric Almirola is making a very strong case to be that guy. Wasn’t it nice to see the #43 STP car near the front of the pack a couple of weekends ago at Martinsville?

Almirola’s career best finish at Texas Motor Speedway was seventh in 2013.

11 Matt Kenseth- Four years ago, Matt Kenseth ended an almost two-year winless drought at Texas Motor Speedway; four years later, he’s hoping lightning can strike twice, as he looks to end his most recent winless streak that now sits at 50 races and counting.

Kenseth has recorded two victories (2002, ’11) in 25-career starts at Texas Motor Speedway.

12 Paul Menard- The fact that Paul Menard is sitting sixth in the driver standings says a lot about how far this guy has come as a driver on the Sprint Cup Series tour. But getting over that good race/bad race hump continues to be his Achilles heel. If that trend continues this weekend, he should be in line for a strong finish.

Menard’s best career finish at Texas Motor Speedway was fifth in 2011.

13 Kurt Busch-   Since returning from his three-race suspension, Kurt Busch has done nothing but impress us with his inspiring drive back to respectability. However, let’s forget about Martinsville ok..maybe Texas.

Busch has recorded one victory (2009) in 24 career starts at Martinsville.

14 Ryan Newman-   Following the race at Martinsville, NASCAR’s brass single handily shattered any chance of Ryan Newman repeating his magical run of becoming a winless champion. Unless, without going too far out on a limb here, Newman actually wins a race before the Chase field is set in September.

15 David Ragan- Gut feeling, David Ragan wins a race in the #18 car before too long. Ragan shows steady improvement week after week. It’s nice to see him taking advantage of this tremendous opportunity. Get well soon, Kyle.

16 Jamie McMurray- Thankfully, Jamie Mac’s teammate Kyle Larson is ok, and will return to action this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Seriously dude, lay off the pizza & tacos. Oh, the agony. In other Chip Ganassi Racing news, Jamie Mac had a pretty sweet day at Martinsville, racking up another solid top ten finish.

17 Casey Mears – Although he’s gradually coming down to earth, I am still marveled at how tenacious Casey Mears has been six races into the 2015 season.

18 Carl Edwards- Poor Cousin Carl was the lone Joe Gibbs Racing driver left out of the Martinsville top-five party. On the upside, he’s finally looking a little more comfortable driving the #19 car.

19 Danica Patrick- I’ll be the first to admit it; I get awfully giddy any time Danica Patrick runs inside the top-10.

20 Clint Bowyer- While Kyle Larson might be laying off the tacos, Clint Bowyer’s taken up endorsing Taco Bell on Twitter. Live Mas, Clint!

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