Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday April 17, 2013
Kyle Busch completed the second weekend sweep of the year, winning both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races at Texas Motor Speedway. His win Saturday night was his first Sprint Cup victory at Texas, second of the season and 26th of his career. Kyle led a race-high 171 laps and took the top spot from Martin Truex, Jr. after a speedy final pit stop. It was heartbreak for Truex, who led 142 laps and was one of the strongest cars all night.
Controversy swirled around the race, though before cars ever made it to the track. With the National Rifle Association signed on as the title sponsor, a number of organizations questioned NASCAR’s decision to not remove the NRA months after the elementary school shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. Reduced TV ratings resulted, while a fan suicide in the infield, with a firearm raised further questions.
We’ll get answers on another big question mark today. Both Penske cars had their rear-end housings confiscated by NASCAR, forcing them to make changes before the race began. Keselowski was able to make it to the grid on time, but Logano’s car was late to pit road and was forced to start at the rear of the field. Both drivers kept their cool and finished ninth and fifth, respectively. The decision left a bad taste with Keselowski and he vented his anger towards NASCAR after the race, a series of criticisms that left him lucky to escape further penalty.
Martin Truex, Jr., who finished second, also failed post-race inspection meaning his car was confiscated and taken to NASCAR’s R&D center in North Carolina. No penalties have been issued at this time, but Wednesday will surely be an active day in NASCAR land as they’re expected to be announced. OK, time to announce who’s number one on our list for this week!
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 17th|
|Rank||Driver (First Place Votes)||Votes||Last Week|
|1||Kyle Busch (4)||154||4|
|Clear sailing on making the Chase field, BUT those final 10 races for the Championship are another story. Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications|
|2||Jimmie Johnson (4)||150||1|
|Two wins, points leader, early April…yep, it’s time to collect those paychecks until the Chase. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com|
|Hey Brad, tell us how you really feel. Apparently, a Championship gave Keselowski an even bigger mouth. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com|
|Not too shabby when an 11th-place finish is your worst result in the past five races. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com|
|Overcame seemingly everything under the sun to actually finish third. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com|
|Considering the Biff has two wins and 12 top 10s in 19 starts in the Lone Star State, fourth place and no laps led may actually be a little disappointing for the No. 16 team. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com|
|Kept his composure under adversity…is Joey growing up? Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications|
|8||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||90||6|
|Judging from the last two races, Earnhardt, Jr. and company have shown that when they have a bad day, they really have a bad day. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com|
|For someone who’s built his career on consistency, this “feast or famine” thing has got to be giving Kenseth nausea every week. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com|
|Invisible on Saturday night and that's not good for Gander Mountain, whose message on the hood probably didn’t get the visibility that they desired. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com|
|11||Martin Truex, Jr.||72||NR|
|Martin’s sports psychologist was seeing dollar signs after another victory slipped away from the number No. 56 team. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com|
|Finally got a top-10 finish and is just six points out of 12th in the standings. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com|
|Goes about his job quietly…could he be the surprise in the Chase this year? Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications|
|Seriously, what has happened to Kevin Harvick since Daytona!? Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com|
|Has more top-11 finishes in three starts than Kevin Harvick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jamie McMurray, Juan Pablo Montoya and Bobby Labonte combined. Can someone explain to me why he’s not driving full-time in Cup again? I don’t think that’ll be a question we’ll have to ask after 2013. Thomas Bowles, Frontstretch.com|
|Dropped Out: Tony Stewart (15), Jeff Gordon (9), Jamie McMurray (13)|
|Others Receiving Votes: Jamie McMurray (44), Ryan Newman (41), Jeff Gordon (38), Marcos Ambrose (29), Mark Martin (28), Tony Stewart (18), Kurt Busch (11), Jeff Burton (7), Trevor Bayne (5), Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (3), Juan Pablo Montoya (1).|
|Who Voted: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com; Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com; Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com; Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications; Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com; Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com; Doug Rice, Performance Racing Network; Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com.|
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