NASCAR Power Rankings: 2014 Preseason

With the Daytona 500 nine days out , here are the top 10 guys headed into 2014

Published: February 14 2014 | 9:00 am - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 3:38 am in The Inside Track by Jeremiah Davis,

Welcome to the first edition of the NASCAR Power Rankings. Each week of the Sprint Cup season, the Gazette's Jeremiah Davis will rank the series' top 10 drivers. Think the list should be different? Tweet him at @jeremiahdavis10, or comment in the comments section.

1Jimmie Johnson0Six-time has won championships under every version of the Chase for the Sprint Cup thatís been trotted out. Heís on top until someone knocks him off.
2Dale Earnhardt Jr.0Yeah, heís losing his crew chief at the end of 2014. But he was running the best he ever has at the end of 2013, and thereís no reason it wonít carry over.
3Matt Kenseth0Had a career-high seven wins in 2013 Ė in his first year with Joe Gibbs Racing. Expect some drop-off, but not much. Has to be one of the favorites for the Daytona 500.
4Kyle Busch0I donít believe itís a coincidence that he had his best points result in 2013 after having his quietest year yet off the track. Add maturity to his talent, and heís a title contender.
5Kasey Kahne0Bad luck plagued the beginning and end of 2013 for Kahne. His cars are fast every week, and his second year at Hendrick Motorsports should mean even bigger things.
6Brad Keselowski0Can you say ĎMan on a missioní? The 2012 champ suffered through a dismal 2013 campaign, but the new win-or-else points system will suit him pretty darn well.
7Denny Hamlin0Speaking of dismal 2013s. Hamlin had his worst year by far, suffering a back injury and nearly going winless. Motivation could mean bad things for his competitors.
8Kevin Harvick0Only this far down because he switched teams, moving from Richard Childress Racing to Stewart-Haas. Kensethís first-year Gibbs success is still the exception, not the rule.
9Clint Bowyer0Had a pedestrian Chase after Spin-gate, but with a fresh year and hitting the reset button will help him refocus and contend for wins again.
10Tony Stewart0Remember this guy? He may not be at 100 percent by the Daytona 500, but youíre kidding yourself if you think he wonít be a factor immediately.


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