Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday August 28, 2013
To bump or not to bump? ... that has been the question all week. It seemed poetic that at Bristol, the track built on contact and moving someone out of the way, Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne were vying for the victory. Kenseth brought Kahne to the boiling point at Watkins Glen after wrecking him, bringing the total number of times Kahne was wrecked by Joe Gibbs Racing drivers to four. Kahne battled Kenseth to the finish leaving everyone on the edge of their seat waiting for the retaliation. That retaliation never came, Kenseth won his fifth race of the season and the debate began. Kahne was visibly disappointed in himself, not for racing Matt clean, but for not finding a clean way around him with the faster car.
Jimmie Johnson’s streak of bad luck continued after being involved in an accident, resulting in a 36th-place finish. Although he’s already clinched a Chase position, two finishes outside of the top 35 are surely not the direction this team wants to be headed in with two weeks until the pressure cooker gets turned on.
With only two races remaining, the Chase race is tighter than ever. Kasey Kahne and Joey Logano return to the top 10, knocking out Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch, who both had rough nights at Bristol. Although Jeff Gordon finished in the top 10 Saturday, he remains 13th in points, without a win and a window of opportunity getting smaller each week. Martin Truex, Jr. and Ryan Newman are now the current wild cards.
The high-speed Atlanta Motor Speedway is up next on a rare Sunday night race. Before the drivers get up to speed, see how your favorite driver rated this week in our 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: August 28th|
|Rank||Driver (First Place Votes)||Votes||Last Week|
|1||Jimmie Johnson (3)||115||1|
|Not long ago Jimmie Johnson had 75 points to burn and they burned 57 of them in the last two races. It’s certain they weren’t thinking to get some bad luck out of the way now, but they are still leading the points. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com|
|2||Clint Bowyer (2)||108||2|
|Looks like the only way the runner-up jinx has revealed itself for Bowyer and company is that now they run out of gas at the finish instead of stretch the tank to victory. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com|
|3||Kasey Kahne (1)||105||4|
|Quite interesting to watch Kahne claim this ‘clean driver’ persona. Just a few years ago when Kyle Busch wrecked him at New Hampshire, he went after him under caution and later said if a driver takes you out then it’s fair play to ruin their day as well. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com|
|4||Matt Kenseth||100||T - 7|
|This team can win but their inconsistency will keep them from winning a championship. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com|
|Hey, at least he won two of the three races this weekend…oh wait, those two don’t mean anything. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com|
|Remember when Kevin Harvick signed with Stewart-Haas Racing? You’re right, I don’t either. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com|
|7||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||78||10|
|Can’t be considered a serious contender until he can contend to win at least sometimes. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com|
|Edwards quite possibly would have won Saturday night had his engine not turned traitor on him late in the race. He’s not in contention all that much, and when he finally put himself there, something stupid happens. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com|
|A pretty impressive performance Saturday night. Wrecked but came back to finish fifth and jump into the top 10 in points. I still think he’s going to be the lone Penske Racing driver in the Chase. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com|
|T - 10||Greg Biffle||66||12|
|Seems like Biffle continues to fall in the standings. There are couple drivers hoping he does not fall out of the top 10. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com|
|T - 10||Kurt Busch||66||T - 7|
|Kurt claims that his eye is on the Chase despite announcing his Stewart-Haas move Tuesday (and future car owner Gene Haas essentially showing off his power to the Media). We’ll see if he’s genuine. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com|
|The fat lady is clearing her throat on Keselowski’s Chase chances. He needs to win and the way they’ve been performing, that seems like a tall order. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com|
|Do we all remember what Jeff did last year at Richmond? Do you think he has the energy to do that again? I’m leaning towards no. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com|
|14||Martin Truex, Jr.||41||13|
|Yes, that one win earlier this year was a real big deal. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com|
|T - 15||Paul Menard||29||NR|
|Started the season well and looks like the 27 team will end the regular season well. It’s just a shame there was so much in-between. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com|
|T - 15||Ryan Newman||29||15|
|Wouldn’t it be ironic if he made the Chase then got on a roll? Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com|
|Dropped Out: none.|
|Others Receiving Votes: Marcos Ambrose (22), Juan Pablo Montoya (17), Brian Vickers (16), Aric Almirola (13), Jeff Burton (10), Jamie McMurray (7), David Ragan (5).|
|Who Voted: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com; Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com; Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com; Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com; Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com; Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com.|
©2000 - 2008 Frontstretch Staff and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!