The 2014 NASCAR season is off and rolling, and NASCAR's most popular driver leads the AMS Power Rankings as teams get ready to trek to Phoenix!
The rankings are determined based on the NASCAR driver ratings released by NASCAR with an additional emphasis on race victories and finishes near the front of the field each week. in addition to five bonus points awarded for a race victory, three for a top-five finish and two for a top 10. Five bonus points are award for a race victory, three for a top-five finish and two for a top 10.
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Junior Nation has to be pretty excited right now. Coming off a strong points finish in 2013, Dale Jr. won NASCAR's biggest race to begin the season.
2. Brad Keselowski
A new paint scheme isn't the only thing attracting attention. The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion heads to Phoenix on the heels of being a major factor during much of the Daytona 500, finishing third. He passed more cars running in the top 15 than any other driver on Sunday as well.
3. Denny Hamlin
Hamlin comes into 2014 looking to prove a point, and he did a lot of that during Speedweeks. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver had a very good car, won the Sprint Unlimited and his Budweiser Duel and finished second in the Daytona 500.
4. Jeff Gordon
Running in or close to the top five for a good portion of Sunday's race is likely a very good sign for No. 24 fans.
5. Jimmie Johnson
With two cars wrecked within a week at Daytona, some teams would have faltered. The No. 48 simply re-loaded, Johnson was once again a factor near the end of Sunday's race.
6. Joey Logano
Logano Ranked third out of all drivers this past week in the number of green-flag passes when racing against cars in the top 15 positions.
7. Matt Kenseth
Kenseth was steady most of the race, spending most of the race within the top 15. By the late stages of the race, he was a threat to win. Sound familiar?
8. Kyle Busch
The agenda of being a frontrunner was accomplished by the No. 18 team, despite an effort that was dampened by a pit road penalty. Busch led the third-most laps at Daytona and ranked fourth among the fastest cars during the final 25 percent of green flag runs. If saving the strongest performance for the latter stages is a goal for the No. 18, then this is a very good start.
9. Greg Biffle
Biffle within the top three towards the end of the Daytona 500 and wound up seventh, a good start for a team seeking to build on simply making the Chase for the Championship last year.
10. Kurt Busch
Despite finishing back in the middle of the field, it was still a strong debut for Busch at Stewart-Haas Racing. He ranked among the top five Sunday in laps led, and posted some of the fastest laps early in a green flag run.