The Frontstretch: NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Top 15 After Richmond I by Frontstretch Staff -- Wednesday May 1, 2013

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NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Top 15 After Richmond I

Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday May 1, 2013


Frontstretch Power Rankings
Kevin Harvick proved once again why he’s called “Mr. Where Did He Come From!?” and “The Closer.” Harvick took four tires during the final caution, charging from seventh place on the green-white-checkered restart to take the lead. That divebomb move gave him his first race of the 2013 season and 20th victory of his Cup Series career. 

Behind them, Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart took part in some post-race extracurricular activities after a bump-and-run during the two-lap shootout shook up the finishing order. But perhaps the biggest side story was Juan Pablo Montoya, who led 67 laps and finished fourth, his first top 5 in a points-paying race since a fourth-place result at Martinsville in April 2011. Jeff Burton also ran well, finishing fifth, his first top-5 result of the season. 

The surprises displaced some of the sport's top stars, sure to jumble up the rankings this week. The top 5 in points coming into Richmond (Johnson, Kahne, Keselowski, Biffle and Earnhardt Jr.) all had varying results finishing 12th, 21st, 33rd, 36th and 10th, respectively. 

Let’s see if drivers can put their feuds behind them and look for dancing partners next week at the series moves to Alabama and the fastest racetrack on the circuit, Talladega Superspeedway. Here's one last look at where the drivers rank, according to our experts before the unpredictability of plate racing takes over.
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!
RankDriver (First Place Votes)Votes Last Week
1Jimmie Johnson (8)1641
Fans, don’t despair; the road to the Championship goes across Jimmie Johnson real estate. Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications
2Clint Bowyer1516
Patiently waiting for the next fuel mileage event to happen so he can pick up another trophy. Tony Lumbis,
3Matt Kenseth (1)1424
Nothing like the ultimate “Take that, NASCAR” when Kenseth won the pole Friday to earn back his spot in the 2014 Sprint Unlimited. Too bad he didn’t win the race, though. That would have been a great Victory Lane interview. Kelly Crandall,
4Kasey Kahne1302
Gotta think Kasey has crossed Mark Martin’s name off his Christmas card list. Mike Neff,
5Carl Edwards1209
Earning a top-6 finish about every other week so far in 2013. That’s the type of recipe you use to make a Chase – or, better yet earn you a third career guest appearance on Kelly and Michael. Tom Bowles,
6Kevin Harvick11312
Lame duck for a season, king for a night. Jeff Wolfe,
 T - 7Dale Earnhardt, Jr.1128
Picked up his sixth top-10 result in nine races … don’t think the beard was a factor either way. Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications
T - 7Kyle Busch1125
Kyle just can’t buy a break right now. It’s starting to get ridiculous. Phil Allaway,
9Brad Keselowski1073
Ever since NASCAR busted the Penske teams a few weeks ago, things have gone up in smoke for Keselowski. Kelly Crandall,
10Aric Almirola9814
Almirola is sitting on the front porch of the Chase. Now let’s see if he can get the door open. Mike Neff,
11Greg Biffle857
Suffered from a broken shock, but the real problem afflicting Biffle is short track disease: it’s breaking his spirit. Can somebody get this guy a Late Model and make him go practice at Hickory or something? Tom Bowles,
12Paul Menard8211
The only driver to complete every lap this season is…Paul Menard. What a Debbie Downer: that’s like saying you’ve got an A-List Celebrity hosting your awards show and then you trot out the Asian guy from The Hangover. (Don’t worry – he’s one of the top candidates to host NASCAR’s season-ending banquet this Fall). Tom Bowles,
13Martin Truex, Jr.8110
Certainly misses the days last year when Kurt Busch was a mid-pack car at best. Tony Lumbis,
14Joey Logano75NR
Managed to finish third Saturday night and no one wanted to fight him afterwards. Jeff Wolfe,
15Jeff Gordon6015
The number “four” used to refer to Gordon’s career Cup Series titles. Now? It’s where he ranks in the Hendrick stable. Who would ever have thought it would come to this? Tom Bowles,
Dropped Out: Jamie McMurray (13).
Others Receiving Votes:  Kurt Busch (53), Juan Pablo Montoya (51), Jeff Burton (42), Jamie McMurray (41), Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (29), Ryan Newman (14), AJ Allmendinger (11), Tony Stewart (6), Bobby Labonte (5), David Ragan (3), Brian Vickers (2) Dave Blaney (2), Mark Martin (2).
Who Voted: Phil Allaway,; Tom Bowles,; Kelly Crandall,; Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications; Dwight Drum,; Tony Lumbis,; Michael Mehedin,; Mike Neff,; Jeff Wolfe,

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