Team Power Rankings
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on April 18, 2017 | 9:41 A.M. EST
MRN's Pete Pistone runs down the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team pecking order after seven races of the 2017 season, which shows Joey Logano (left) and Brad Keselowski setting the early pace. (Photo: Getty Images)
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team pecking order after seven races of the 2017 season:
Brad Keselowski leads the series with a pair of wins but hasn’t been too shabby the other five races. He has totaled five top fives and six top 10s. Teammate Joey Logano hasn’t won yet, but his four top fives and six top-10 finishes are solid.
Chip Ganassi Racing
Kyle Larson might be the most impressive driver in the series thanks to his win and string of second-place finishes. Larson could easily have another win or two. But don’t overlook his running mate, Jamie McMurray, who's been a staple inside the top 10 since the start of the year and finds himself eighth in the point standings.
Furniture Row Racing
Martin Truex Jr. got into the win column early this year and has tacked on several strong finishes adding up to four top-10 performances. Rookie teammate Erik Jones notched his first top 10 a few weeks ago and has shown significant improvement.
Despite the picture of doom and gloom painted by some, Hendrick has demonstrated some stellar performances - most recently with Jimmie Johnson’s Texas win before the Easter break. Chase Elliott is the model of consistency and is only 17 points out of the series lead. Dale Earnhardt Jr. knocked down a top five at Texas while Kasey Kahne continues to looks to get things back on track.
Wood Brothers Racing
Sure, it’s a one-car operation that enjoys an alliance with Team Penske. But second-year driver Ryan Blaney has been a pleasant surprise and appears to be closing in on his first career Cup win. He sits sixth in the series point standings.
There’s only one win on the board for SHR right now, thanks to Kurt Busch’s season-opening Daytona 500 victory. But that’s not the whole story. Kevin Harvick has, at times, been as dominant as anyone although he’s come up just short of what looked like sure wins a couple of times. Clint Bowyer has already locked up the award as the most improved driver with a campaign head and shoulders above what he put on the board the last two years. Danica Patrick remains mired in mediocrity.
Joe Gibbs Racing
It’s hard to believe the juggernaut of JGR is still searching for its first triumph of 2017. Kyle Busch has been strong, even if winless. Matt Kenseth is battling through early-season bad luck. Denny Hamlin’s uncompetitive start is a head scratcher while rookie Daniel Suarez continues to work through his first-year learning curve. Overall, the season has been frustrating so far.
Richard Childress Racing
The team’s winless drought finally ended after more than three years with Ryan Newman’s Phoenix victory. But that’s been the bright spot in another frustrating year for RCR as the three-car stable looks for more consistency and competitiveness. Austin Dillon had a top five two races ago but finds himself 21st in the standings, five positions better than teammate Paul Menard.
Roush Fenway Racing
There’s been improvement for the Roush team this season, if ever so small. Trevor Bayne’s decent start has him 12th in the series standings heading to Bristol this week. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has a top five and a couple of top-10 finishes. But the organization continues to search for something to get them over the hump.
Richard Petty Motorsports
The scaled-back operation has Aric Almirola sitting 18th in the series standings. But there’s much more work to be done to get the iconic No. 43 Ford further up the food chain to compete for top-10 finishes on a regular basis.