Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday May 15, 2013
Matt Kenseth capped off an impressive week for Joe Gibbs Racing. First on Wednesday, Kenseth and his team received a reduction in the penalties received after the race at Kansas. JGR’s Nationwide teams then took the top three finishing positions on Friday. Then on Saturday, Matt Kenseth claimed his third win of the season, and first at Darlington, followed by teammate Denny Hamlin who made an impressive comeback after sitting out since the injury he received at Auto Club Speedway in March.
For the third time this season, and the second in consecutive weeks, Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne found each other on the racetrack. While battling for the lead, Kyle’s car seemed to wash up the track and barely tap the left rear of Kahne’s car sending it into the wall. Kyle went on to finish sixth while Kahne finished 17th.
Drivers are home at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the next two weeks. See how your driver ranks heading into the All-Star break and the Sprint All-Star race this Saturday.
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: May 15th|
|Rank||Driver (First Place Votes)||Votes||Last Week|
|1||Jimmie Johnson (3)||155||1|
|Perhaps the green on his car was bad luck, as some say in racing. Johnson, a three-time winner at Darlington and who dominated this race a year ago, never led a lap on Saturday and never seriously challenged for the lead. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com|
|2||Matt Kenseth (4)||153||2|
|Unless NASCAR finds another part light, this team is fast emerging as the team to beat this season. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com|
|Got to the party just as the Hendrick and Gibbs trains were leaving the station. Somehow, some way he’s hanging onto the caboose with a car that has about half the speed in it. Must be the workout regimen. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com|
|We get it Kyle, you’re still upset about being kicked out of the 5 car in 2008. But dude, the driver that you’ve tangled with three times this year had nothing to do with it. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com|
|5||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||119||4|
|Junior Nation continues to lobby for bonus points for t-shirt sales. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com|
|Some drivers spent last weekend trying to fight for a spot in the All-Star Race. Bowyer? He locked down some life insurance in case Gordon gets within five feet or so with no points on the line. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com|
|7||Kasey Kahne (1)||107||9|
|Have to appreciate his charge at Darlington. Ask for a definition of racing – Kasey and Kyle proved it Saturday night. Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications|
|After a great start to the season, Keselowski has fallen into a swoon. Gotta right the ship soon. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com|
|Not sure what seems more surreal; that Jeff Gordon has been driving at this level for 700 races or the King has hung up the wheel for that many events. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com|
|10||Martin Truex, Jr.||82||7|
|Slowly but surely putting his season back together. But it’s hard to say “Chase contender” here without at least one trip to Victory Lane. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com|
|Second win of the season would make the next 15 races a lot less stressful. Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications|
|Run of top 10s ended, but he’s proven he belongs. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com|
|Is the Roush-Fenway lifer lamenting Kenseth’s change? Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com|
|Reminds me of Fred Lorenzen…quietly goes about the task and when you get down to the closing laps, Menard is running up near the front. Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications|
|T - 15||Denny Hamlin||44||NR|
|Didn’t the new guy get the memo that I need to win a crap-load of races!? Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com|
|T - 15||Ryan Newman||44||NR|
|Has five top-10 finishes. That’s three more than his teammates have combined – Tony Stewart and Danica Patrick. Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications|
|Dropped Out: Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (14).|
|Others Receiving Votes: Juan Pablo Montoya (33), Kurt Busch (33), Jamie McMurray (31), Joey Logano (24), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (22), Tony Stewart (16), Jeff Burton (4), David Ragan (2).|
|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; Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com; Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com.|
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