The Frontstretch: NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Top 15 After Bristol-II by Frontstretch Staff -- Wednesday August 28, 2013

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NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Top 15 After Bristol-II

Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday August 28, 2013


Frontstretch Power Rankings
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!
RankDriver (First Place Votes)Votes Last Week
1Jimmie Johnson (3)1151
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,
2Clint Bowyer (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,
3Kasey Kahne (1)1054
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,
4Matt Kenseth100T - 7
This team can win but their inconsistency will keep them from winning a championship. Kelly Crandall,
Kyle Busch945
Hey, at least he won two of the three races this weekend…oh wait, those two don’t mean anything. Kelly Crandall,
6Kevin Harvick873
Remember when Kevin Harvick signed with Stewart-Haas Racing? You’re right, I don’t either. Michael Mehedin,
7Dale Earnhardt, Jr.7810
Can’t be considered a serious contender until he can contend to win at least sometimes. Jeff Wolfe,
8Carl Edwards
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,
9Joey Logano
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,
T - 10Greg Biffle
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,
T - 10Kurt Busch66T - 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,
12Brad Keselowski
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,
13Jeff Gordon
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,
14Martin Truex, Jr.
Yes, that one win earlier this year was a real big deal. Jeff Wolfe,
T - 15Paul Menard
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,
T - 15Ryan Newman
Wouldn’t it be ironic if he made the Chase then got on a roll? Jeff Wolfe,
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,; Kelly Crandall,; Dwight Drum,; Tony Lumbis,; Michael Mehedin,; Jeff Wolfe,

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