Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday April 10, 2013
It seems that during the week off, post-Fontana everyone was able to cool their tempers for one of the sport's most "temperamental" tracks. Martinsville, surprisingly did not produce any retaliation from Bristol or California, perhaps because a key player in the feud has been sidelined for at least six weeks. Due to his L1 compression fracture, Denny Hamlin can be nothing more than a spectator as he recovers from his injury. He will be replaced by Mark Martin and Brian Vickers, who are currently each running a partial schedule for Michael Waltrip Racing.
Meanwhile, Jimmie Johnson decided that one week atop the points leaderboard was long enough for his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Johnson won from the pole for the second Martinsville race in a row, collected his eighth overall grandfather clock, and regained the top spot in the standings with a dominating performance. With 346 laps led, he set a personal career high and was never seriously challenged down the stretch.
Behind him, what we saw was parity. Martinsville saw six different teams represented in the top 10: Hendrick Motorsports (3), Michael Waltrip Racing (1), Joe Gibbs Racing (2), Penske Racing (1), Earnhardt Ganassi Racing (1), Roush Fenway Racing (1) and Richard Petty Motorsports (1). It looks like the Gen-6 car is creating an even playing field amongst the teams, at least on the short tracks. Let’s see if that diversity rolls over next week at the mile-and-a-half Texas Motor Speedway... in the meantime, did our experts take that parity over to the Power Rankings? See how many different organizations are represented in this week's edition of the top 15.
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: April 10th|
|Rank||Driver (First Place Votes)||Votes||Last Week|
|1||Jimmie Johnson (8)||254||6|
|"The man" at the paperclip once again. Problem for the rest of the field is that Chad and company usually use the spring trip to Martinsville as a tune-up for the fall. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com|
Brad Keselowski (1)
|Started off 2013 as strong as he finished 2012. Unfortunately for him, so has Johnson. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com|
|3||Kasey Kahne (4)||226||3|
|Third top-5 finish in a row, one of which is a win. Finally getting the good luck and consistency he needs to show he is the championship contender Rick Hendrick hired him to be. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com|
|Four top 5s in six races. He knows how to win; now, he’s working on the consistency necessary to win championships. Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications|
|Avoided any late-race altercation with the No. 24 in eerily similar situation to last year at Martinsville. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com|
|6||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||175||1|
|After Junior jumped to the points lead, following Fontana, there was a national run on beer and champagne. This week, expect a run on Prozac instead. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com|
|Biffle says he has a good feeling about the start to his season. Other sources saying it might just be indigestion from Taco Bell the night before. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com|
|He’d be higher if not for his Daytona engine failure and Bristol crash. It’s a fairly solid first season at JGR so far. Kevin Rutherford, Frontstretch.com|
|May not need a miracle to make the Chase this year. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com|
|Was everybody wrong about 2013 being Cousin Carl’s rebound year? Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications|
|He got pissed at Vickers after Martinsville and no one seems to know why. He must have gotten whatever Joey Logano was infected with in Fontana. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com|
|Guess who’s still Richard Childress Racing’s top driver... Kevin Rutherford, Frontstretch.com|
|For the first time in years, the Ganassi stable has an up-and-coming driver waiting in the wings in Kyle Larson. Seems like McMurray and company are acting accordingly to make sure that Larson isn’t the next driver of the No. 1 car. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com|
|For the first time in three weeks was able to keep away from any on-track and/or post-race altercations. Saving his strength for when Denny returns? Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com|
|For as many headlines Stewart made after the California race, he managed to make himself invisible at Martinsville. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com|
|Dropped Out: Kurt Busch (10), Denny Hamlin (12)|
|Others Receiving Votes: Mark Martin (60), Marcos Ambrose (53), Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (43), Aric Almirola (36), Brian Vickers (34), Kurt Busch (33), Danica Patrick (24), Denny Hamlin (24), Casey Mears (23), Martin Truex, Jr. (20), Ryan Newman (19), Jeff Burton (12), Bobby Labonte (1).|
|Who Voted: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com; Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com; Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com; Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications; Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com; Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com; Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com; Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com; Brad Morgan, Frontstretch.com; Doug Rice, Performance Racing Network; Kevin Rutherford, Frontstretch.com; Matt Taliaferro, Athlon Sports; Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com.|
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