The Frontstretch: NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Top 15 After Charlotte I by Frontstretch Staff -- Tuesday May 28, 2013

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NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Top 15 After Charlotte I

Frontstretch Staff · Tuesday May 28, 2013

 

Frontstretch Power Rankings
Kevin Harvick used a late-race caution and two fresh tires to get past the dominant Kasey Kahne for his second win of the season. Harvick also leapt over his teammate Paul Menard to become the highest ranked Richard Childress Racing driver in points (seventh). 

Meanwhile, Kasey Kahne led a race-high 161 laps and seemed to be on his way to his fourth Coca-Cola 600 win, and second in as many years, before a debris caution came out setting up a 10-lap restart. He decided to stay out while many drivers behind him pitted for fresh tires. Despite having older tires, Kahne led the Hendrick Motorsports charge and finished second. The next highest finishing Hendrick driver was Jimmie Johnson in 22nd. 

The story surrounding the race, regretfully, was what is quickly becoming known as Cable-Gate. A guide cable, which stretched above the frontstretch, broke and fell onto the track. The cable damaged the cars of Kyle Busch and Marcos Ambrose, and injured several fans. Three fans were transported to a local hospital, however, all were released without any serious injuries. The race was delayed for 30 minutes while the cable was removed from the racing surface. 

A wild 600 mile race shook up the points. You know how your driver fared in Charlotte. Now see how he, or she, did 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: May 29th
RankDriver (First Place Votes)Votes Last Week
1Jimmie Johnson (6)1541
Regardless of his back-to-back All-Star wins, Johnson no longer owns the Charlotte Motor Speedway. He hasn’t won a Coke 600 since 2005 or a points paying race there since 2009. Sunday was just a continuation of his struggles. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com
2Matt Kenseth (1)1442
Heading into 2013, Kenseth had led 100 laps or more three times in the last four years. After 112 laps in front at Charlotte, he’s done it four times in the last five races. Think the guy is a man on a mission or what? Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
3Kasey Kahne1387
May have been disappointed with second but mostly happy to hear Kyle Busch was not even on the track in the closing laps of Sunday’s race. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
4Carl Edwards1363
It’s easy to forget that he’s second in the points standings now. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com
5Clint Bowyer (1)1316
Quietly snuck into the top 5 in points. Still winless, but we’ve seen this story before; last year Bowyer didn’t wheel it to Victory Lane until Sonoma in June. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
6Kevin Harvick10711
Second win of the season made the next 14 races less stressful. It was his ticket to the big dance even though he’ll probably make it in the top 10. Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications
 7Kyle Busch1024
Ran into the camera cable, then ran out of power Sunday night. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com
8Martin Truex, Jr.9810
Ninth in points but don’t look back. The fourth Hendrick team is just 16 points behind. Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications
9Dale Earnhardt, Jr.885
Junior Nation…it’s OK. He’ll still make the Chase. Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications
10Paul Menard7314
If you tried to name the top 10 in points from memory, would you forget this guy? Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com
11Brad Keselowski688
Those that are writing off the Champ…BIG MISTAKE! Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications
12Kurt Busch58NR
If this team is given 600 miles to recover from some sort of bad luck or mistake every week, they would be championship contenders. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
13Aric Almirola5312
After such a great start, Almirola is falling into a generalized funk. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com
T - 14Denny Hamlin52T - 15
Making a clear statement that with an average finish of 3.0, the Chase is still a very real possibility. I’d point to Pocono for his return to Victory Lane. Thomas Bowles, Frontstretch.com
T - 14Jeff Gordon529
15th in points and no wins with 14 races until the Chase. With his performance to this point, it’ll be a long shot for all four Hendrick drivers to make the Chase this season. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com
Dropped Out: Greg Biffle (13), Ryan Newman (T - 15).
Others Receiving Votes: Ryan Newman (47), Greg Biffle (25), Joey Logano (28), Tony Stewart (25), Jamie McMurray (19), Marcos Ambrose (11), Juan Pablo Montoya (8), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (8), Jeff Burton (6), Regan Smith (2).
Who Voted: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com; Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com; Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com; Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications; Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com; Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com; Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com; Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com.

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