The Frontstretch: NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Top 15 After Dover I by Frontstretch Staff -- Wednesday June 5, 2013

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NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Top 15 After Dover I

Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday June 5, 2013

 

Frontstretch Power Rankings
Well, it looks like Stewart-Haas Racing does exist. Tony Stewart lined up third on the final restart and, after Jimmie Johnson was penalized for jumping the restart, was able to get by Juan Pablo Montoya to record his first win of the 2013 season and the first for SHR. He has now won at least one race in each of the last 15 seasons. Regretfully, the day was not as good for Stewart’s teammate Ryan Newman who got into a scuffle with David Gilliland and wrecked on the backstretch. 

The biggest surprise of the day was EGR driver Juan Pablo Montoya. He ran near the front all day, showing off the improvements the team has made this season, and was leading with less than 10 laps to go. He wasn’t able to hold off Stewart but showed that EGR is on the verge of a return to victory lane.

A number of drivers had problems including Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex, Jr., who both had engine issues. Denny Hamlin took a step backward in his goal of making the Chase after crashing and dropping two point positions to 26th.

After failing post-race inspection, it was announced Tuesday that Brad Keselowski was docked six driver and team owner points after the front end of his car measured too low, dropping him from eighth to 10th in the standings. 

The teams head to The Tricky Triangle for the first time this year. But before your favorite driver hits the track, see where he falls 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: June 5th
RankDriver (First Place Votes)Votes Last Week
1Jimmie Johnson (7)1561
Couldn’t admit he was snookered on a restart by Juan Pablo Montoya. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com
2Matt Kenseth1392
He’s the best driver in the Cup Series right now… at blowing engines while leading. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com
3Clint Bowyer (1)1355
For simply “surviving,” third in points is downright exceptional. Is it possible to be a dark horse after being runner-up in points the previous year? Remember, this team didn’t even win in 2012 until Sonoma, last June. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
4Kyle Busch1317
480 laps led the last three races and no wins to show for it. I’ll tell you what; I’d be ticked off, too. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
5Kasey Kahne1213
His wreck brought back memories of when he was leading the race at Dover in his rookie season and pretty much had it won until he hit oil and crashed out. Another strong car this weekend, needs a tiny bit better luck. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com
6Kevin Harvick1196
Continues to defy his lame-duck reality with wins and good runs. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
 7Carl Edwards1084
Need to compliment consistency with wins. However, that consistency will get him into the Chase. Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications
8Dale Earnhardt, Jr.909
Decent finishes continue, but not really a serious threat to win each week. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com
9Brad Keselowski8311
Probably not the best impression to break the rules the second your crew chief comes back to the track. Three strikes and no Chase? Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
10Tony Stewart81NR
Last week it was all about the demise of Stewart-Haas Racing and the horrible year they were having. This week, Stewart did what he does best – shut ‘em all up. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com
11Jeff Gordon7614
The 24 team doesn’t want a repeat of last year when they snuck into the Chase at Richmond. Just 10 points outside the top 10, Gordon will be aggressive the next 13 races. Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications
12Kurt Busch7412
Finding every possible way to lose a race while holding his temper in check. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think it was some sort of psychiatry test. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
13Joey Logano67NR
Good run at Dover but still a deep hole to dig out of if there’s Chase aspirations. Denny Darnell, Darnell Communications
14Martin Truex, Jr.578
Had an excellent run going until the TRD engine turned traitor on him, taking all his gains from Charlotte away. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com
15Paul Menard5110
Still having a career season, although he dropped two positions in points to 10th. It’ll be very interesting to see if he can make his first Chase. He’ll have a tough time with Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle, Tony Stewart and others climbing up the standings. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com
Dropped Out: Aric Almirola, Denny Hamlin.
Others Receiving Votes: Juan Pablo Montoya (45), Aric Almirola (28), Denny Hamlin (27), Greg Biffle (24), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (23), Jeff Burton (19), Ryan Newman (12), Mark Martin (5), Jamie McMurray (4), Marcos Ambrose (3), Casey Mears (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; Matt Taliaferro, Athlon Sports; Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com.

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