Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday March 20, 2013
Bristol is back! Bumping, banging, battle scars and post-race fights all made an appearance. Kasey Kahne did not let the disappointment of finishing second last week keep him down. He qualified second for the second week in a row, ran in the top 5 all day, led more than 100 laps and drove away from the field in the final 30 laps earning his first win of the 2013 season.
A number of drivers spent time near the top of the leaderboard. Kyle Busch led early but a speeding penalty on pit road saw him playing catch-up for most of the afternoon. Denny Hamlin was a contender until his on-track altercations with Joey Logano had him riding the wall the last five laps of the race from damage. Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth led a number of laps but were put behind the wall after Gordon blew a right front tire, taking both out while running first and second.
Logano stood his ground after the race, approaching his ex-Joe Gibbs teammate. However, each driver's teams kept Joey away before Denny could even get his helmet off. If you’re interested in the argument, just follow them on Twitter (@joeylogano & @dennyhamlin).
Bristol is one of the wild cards in the season and this week’s Power Ranking looks drastically different. See how you driver ranks after Thunder Valley.
How The Rankings Are Calculated: Frontstretch does our power rankings similar to how the Associated Press does them for basketball or football -- our expert stable of NASCAR writers, both on staff and from other major publications will vote for the Top 20 on a 20-19-18-17-16-15... 3-2-1 basis, giving 20 points to their first place driver, 19 for their second, and so on. In the end, Michael Mehedin calculates the points, adds some funny one-liners, and ... here you go!
|FRONTSTRETCH TOP 15 POWER RANKINGS: March 20th|
|Rank||Driver (First Place Votes)||Votes||Last Week|
|1||Brad Keselowski (10)||253||2|
|Becoming Mr. Konsistency. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com|
Kasey Kahne (3)
|Led 109 laps en route to the win but not the most dominant effort at the track. Started on pole and led 305 laps in August 2007 before finishing second to Carl Edwards. Beware, he and Kenny Francis are ready to make plenty of noise in Sprint Cup. Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications|
|3||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||226||4|
|He scratched and clawed his way to a sixth-place finish to keep his top 10 streak alive and it moves him to second in points. It’s entirely too early in the season to be thinking ahead, but the National Guard team already looks like Championship contenders. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com|
|Always in the hunt but apparently misplaced his golden horseshow at Bristol. Dennis Michelsen, Frontstretch.com|
|The only thing that slowed Kyle was his speeding penalty. Denny Darnell, Darnell Communication|
|May want to steal Martin’s NAPA can more often. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com|
|Maybe that’s why he likes to stay out of the limelight until the end. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com|
|Looking like his time up front this season – and on television – will be reduced to a handful of cameo appearances. Thomas Bowles, Frontstretch.com|
|Brought new meaning to the term “wallbanger” in the final laps Sunday. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com|
|Yes, he broke his win streak but will need better finishes – and luck – to bounce back from a disappointing 2012 season. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com|
|Best of the RCR bunch in what has been a thoroughly mediocre season to date. Dave Moody, SiriusXM Radio|
|Different number, different sponsor, different car manufacturer and different team but it was the same old Kurt Busch running up front at Bristol contending for a win. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com|
|Remember when he looked unbeatable during Speedweeks? Yeah, neither do I. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com|
|14||Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.||75||15|
|Seems to be learning how to go fast, fast. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com|
|Contender for the win at Bristol, then tried to kick Denny Hamlin’s ass. Tom and Debbie, your little boy is all grown up. Dave Moody, SiriusXM Radio|
|Dropped Out: Aric Almirola (13), Mark Martin (14), Tony Stewart (10).|
|Others Receiving Votes: Jeff Gordon (64), Brian Vickers (55), Jamie McMurray (55), Martin Truex, Jr (54), Tony Stewart (54), Ryan Newman (53), AJ Allmendinger (30), Mark Martin (29), Marcos Ambrose (21), Aric Almirola (17), Casey Mears (17), David Stremme (6), Jeff Burton (6), David Ragan (3), Juan Pablo Montoya, Danica Patrick (1).|
|Who Voted: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com; Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com; Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com; Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications; Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com; Dustin Long, Athlon Sports; Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com; Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com; Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com; Dave Moody, SiriusXM Radio; Doug Rice, Performance Racing Network; Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com.|
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