Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday March 27, 2013
While everyone had Martinsville circled on their calendars, it’s doubtful anyone was expecting the fireworks from Bristol to roll over to California. Like it was written for the Hollywood screen, Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin were battling for the win on the final lap. Contact in turn 4 sent both drivers into the outside wall opening the door for Kyle Busch to claim his first win of the season and the first win at California for Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing in the Sprint Cup Series.
The Logano / Hamlin wreck sent Denny head-first into the inside concrete barrier, which lacked a SAFER Barrier. Hamlin climbed out of his car but collapsed to the ground, was taken to the hospital and later diagnosed with an L1 compression fracture. He was released from the hospital Monday night, and while he won't need surgery to repair the damage, six weeks of healing time will sideline him for a while.
To add to the fireworks, Tony Stewart was unhappy with Logano’s block on the final restart and showed his frustration after the race. He approached Joey on pit road and without sharing words began to throw punches. Neither driver made contact as crew members quickly split the two up. Perhaps the Easter break is exactly what everyone needs to cool down the tempers. See if your driver made the top 15 in this week’s Power Rankings.
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 27th|
|Rank||Driver (First Place Votes)||Votes||Last Week|
|1||Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (10)||232||3|
|Took advantage of the mayhem and grabbed the points lead. Had this been any other weekend, Monday would have been declared a national holiday. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com|
Kyle Busch (1)
|The cool, calm and collected Kyle Busch took advantage of the hot tempers and aggressive driving of others to take the win. Wait…what!? Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com|
|3||Kasey Kahne (2)||195||2|
|Another top 10 (his third in five starts) has him sitting pretty heading to the off-week. Dave Moody, Sirius?XM Radio|
|4||Brad Keselowski (1)||190||1|
|First finish outside the top 5 this season. No concern, one of the elite teams this season. Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications|
|He’s a NASCAR ninja, operating quietly and without notice. Dave Moody, Sirius/XM Radio|
|Here’s a recap: Johnson started the year with a win and consistently ran up front to lead the points. But, at one of his best tracks Sunday, he disappeared quicker than Tony Stewart’s memory. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com|
|The best of the JGR gang but just barely. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com|
|Tried to make lightening strike twice with the same paint scheme and drivers suit from his win at Phoenix. Came pretty close this weekend. The consistency is beginning to return. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com|
|Continues to have a fast car. Wonder who his dance partner will be at Talladega? The list is getting shorter. Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications|
|So did the car get better or just the driver? Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com|
|The quiet revolution continues for the 27 team. However, Martinsville is next and Menard’s track record there is not the best. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com|
|Lack of respect breeds lack of respect…and a sore back. Dave Moody, SiriusXM Radio|
|So much for the points runner-up jinx being all smoke and mirrors. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com|
|Looking ahead to 2014? Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications|
|Still not firing on all cylinders, but good enough to stay in the title hunt. Dave Moody, SiriusXM Radio|
|Dropped Out: Tony Stewart.|
|Others Receiving Votes: Tony Stewart (68), Ricky Stenhouse, Jr (57), Ryan Newman (51), Aric Almirola (40), Martin Truex, Jr (38), AJ Allmendinger (16), Casey Mears (15), Jamie McMurray (13), Jeff Burton (12), Mark Martin (9), Marcos Ambrose (7), Dave Blaney (3), David Ragan (2).|
|Who Voted: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com; Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.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; Brad Morgan, Frontstretch.com; Dave Moody, SiriusXM Radio; Doug Rice, Performance Racing Network; Matt Taliaferro, Athlon Sports.|
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