The Frontstretch: NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Atlanta by Frontstretch Staff -- Wednesday September 4, 2013

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NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Atlanta

Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday September 4, 2013


Frontstretch Power Rankings
One race to go until the Chase begins and a number of drivers left Atlanta with mixed emotions. One of the happiest drivers was Kyle Busch. He claimed his fourth win of the season, taking two of the last four and is showing his strength at the right time.

One driver who is showing anything but strength is Jimmie Johnson. Even though he is already locked into the Chase and has four wins, three consecutive finishes outside the top 25 is surely not what he was expecting with only one race left before the Chase begins.

Atlanta saw a shift in order with those vying for a Chase berth. Kasey Kahne and Brad Keselowski both took the hardest hit in points. Both dropped four positions after Kahne spent time behind the wall for damage repair and Keselowski suffered a blown engine. However, Kahne clinched at least a Wild Card spot with his two wins. Keselowski, without a win this season, is on the verge of becoming the first Sprint Cup Champion not to make the Chase the following year since Tony Stewart in 2006.

Joey Logano, Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon all had great finishes in Atlanta and made positive gains in the points. Logano and Busch are now currently in the top 10 and Gordon is in 11th, only six points out of a Chase berth.

The storylines going into Richmond could not have been scripted any better. Before you see if your driver gets a “hat” Saturday night, see where he/she 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!
RankDriver (First Place Votes)Votes Last Week
1Jimmie Johnson (3)1171
How’s that Toby Keith song go? “I ain’t as good as I once was…” Kelly Crandall,
2Kyle Busch
Two wins in the last four races make him a force to be reckoned with. Two finishes outside the top 10 during that time span makes you wonder if those Chase demons will always be around to haunt him. Thomas Bowles,
3Clint Bowyer (2)992
Bowyer was looking pretty good until the engine went south. Afterwards, he stated on live TV that he was going to have a beer. Dejectedly having that beer looks like it’s going to put him 15-18 points in the hole when the Chase starts. Phil Allaway,
4Matt Kenseth964
Kenseth tested a Chase setup this weekend at Atlanta, and it didn’t go very well. But don’t let that fool you. Kenseth is one of the drivers to challenge JJ for the championship. Michael Mehedin,
Kevin Harvick
A rocket ship on Saturday turned B-level used car on Sunday. I guess only the “lame duck” moniker applies to Cup racing. Tom Bowles,
6Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Earnhardt Jr. has his lofty position as a result of consistency. That is not what any of his fans want to see. They want more wins, of which he has only three in the last 7.75 seasons. Phil Allaway,
7Carl Edwards
Carl showed a lot of strength Sunday night. As long as his engines stay together, watch out for redemption from Edwards after losing to Stewart. Michael Mehedin,
8Joey Logano
Remember that time when everyone said Logano would never be a weekly contender or serious Championship threat? Kelly Crandall,
9Kurt Busch
He’s in the Chase for the moment, and despite his errors in the past, I’m actually hoping he makes it. Jeff Wolfe,
10Kasey Kahne
Imagine that, it wasn’t the JGR teammates that took Kahne out Sunday. It was his own. Oops. Kelly Crandall,
11Jeff Gordon
Only 6 points out of a Chase berth, Jeff will need to pull off another Richmond miracle much like 2012. I kind of can’t wait for Saturday. Michael Mehedin,
12Martin Truex, Jr.
One wrist, one win, one Chase bid hanging by a thread. Putting up a yeoman’s effort with an injury that could easily have sidelined him for weeks. Tom Bowles,
13Greg Biffle
I’ve been waiting and waiting for Greg to fall out of the top 10, and it just hasn’t happened. Sits in ninth with a win and despite his lackluster season, he could squeak his way into the Chase. Although, if he does make it in, I don’t think his performance will be anything to write home about. Michael Mehedin,
14Brad Keselowski
And the curtain has closed on Keselowski’s championship defense. Michael Mehedin,
15Ryan Newman
Wouldn’t it be ironic if Ryan makes the Chase and Kurt Busch didn’t? Jeff Wolfe,
Dropped Out: Paul Menard.
Others Receiving Votes: Juan Pablo Montoya (28), Jamie McMurray (22), Marcos Ambrose (18), Paul Menard (16), Brian Vickers (14), Aric Almirola (8), AJ Allmendinger (4), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (4), David Gilliland (2), Austin Dillon (1).
Who Voted: Phil Allaway,; Tom Bowles,; Kelly Crandall,; Dwight Drum,; Michael Mehedin,; Jeff Wolfe,

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Today on the Frontstretch:
NASCAR Easter Eggs: A Few Off-Week Nuggets to Chew On
Five Points To Ponder: NASCAR’s Take-A-Breath Moment
Truckin’ Thursdays: Top Five All-Time Truck Series Drivers
Going By the Numbers: A Week Without Racing Can Bring Relief But Kill Momentum


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Daniel Aaron
09/05/2013 12:12 AM

Ryan Newman only being 15th in the power rankings is a joke. He finishes 1st or 2nd if that race stays green and wins the thing if his pit crew doesn’t lose a spot to Kyle Busch. Still finished 5th while BK wrecked and he is behind BK…