The Frontstretch: NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Top 15 After Dover II by Frontstretch Staff -- Wednesday October 2, 2013

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NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Top 15 After Dover II

Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday October 2, 2013

 

Frontstretch Power Rankings
If anyone was worried about Jimmie Johnson not showing up for the Chase, concerned after his poor performance leading up to the 10-race playoff, he put all of those doubts to bed Sunday at Dover. Jimmie led more than half the race en route to his record eighth win at the track, jumping up to second in points. He now trails Matt Kenseth by only eight, with seven races left and has once again positioned himself to contend for a title.

A majority of the race Sunday was run under green, with stretches of well over 100 laps without a yellow. That made pit stops and tire strategy key to a good finish. On the final one, Johnson took two tires, then had to hold off his teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who took four. Turned out fresh rubber was no match for a focused Jimmie.
 
What other history did Dover bring us? All top-10 finishers were Chase contenders, for the first time ever although 11 of the 13 top points positions still changed after Sunday. The big winner? Jeff Gordon, who continues to take advantage of his addition to the Chase. He finished fourth and jumped up to fifth in the standings. Carl Edwards, meanwhile lost an engine late in the race and finished 35th, dropping seven positions to a disappointing 11th.

Next up is the second 1.5-mile track of the Chase, Kansas Speedway. Can Kenseth get his winning ways back on track to stop the building momentum of the No. 48? See if he kept the No. 1 spot on our list, along with how your favorite driver did after Dover with our weekly 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: October 2nd
RankDriver (First Place Votes)Votes Last Week
1Matt Kenseth (5)1191
Apparently a “struggle” for Kenseth was leading 36 laps and finishing seventh. Really doesn’t leave much hope for others, does it? Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com
2Jimmie Johnson (1)
1153
Dover looking to re-engrave trophy with a bust of Jimmie’s head on the top. Considering how tame the Monster is these days, only stopping the race to pick up pieces of metal, I’d say that’s perfectly appropriate. Thomas Bowles, Frontstretch.com
3Kyle Busch
1082
He’s opened the Chase with three top fives, putting his average finish at 3.0, yet he sits third in points. So, if Busch wants to win the title he’s going to have to do something he’s never done before: win a race in the Chase. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com
4Jeff Gordon987
After being given a second chance by NASCAR, Jeff is taking full advantage and looking like the four-time champ we all know and remember. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com
5
Kevin Harvick935
Quietly consistent, midpack in the Chase as he looks to finish his tenure with Richard Childress on a high note. Yes, a championship would be nice but who would have ever thought he’d be sitting top 5 in points, as a “lame duck” driver with seven races left? Total overachievement here. Thomas Bowles, Frontstretch.com
6Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
889
Four fresh tires, on Jimmie’s back bumper, plenty of laps left… and another disappointment for Junior Nation. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
7Greg Biffle
838
Two consecutive top-10 finishes but still struggling to keep up. Will need more than a win or two to compete for the championship. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com
8Ryan Newman
6910
He is showing he deserves to be in the Chase, but not quite good enough to stay up front, even after his good qualifying efforts the last two weeks. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com
9Clint Bowyer
6611
Retaining 5-Hour Energy Drink may be the biggest Chase victory of the season. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
T-10Joey Logano
6514
Got a sneaky feeling we’re going to get to Homestead and he’ll really, really, really want that DNF at Chicagoland back. Thomas Bowles, Frontstretch.com
T-10Kurt Busch
656
This is a race-winning and championship-contending team, but the driver can only carry them so much. It’s becoming harder to blame Busch for his radio blowups. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com
12Carl Edwards
574
Went from being Mr. Concrete to the Concrete family’s distant cousin. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
13Jamie McMurray
56NR
Must be painful carrying all of the non-Chasers on his back. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
14Kasey Kahne
3413
An ill-handling engine and a 13th-place finish pretty much put the nail in the coffin for Kasey’s championship hopes. Had the speed all season to compete -- just not enough consistency. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com
15Martin Truex, Jr.3215
I couldn’t help but wonder during Sunday’s race that if he was actually in the Chase, without sponsorship issues would he and his team be performing a little bit better? Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com
Dropped Out: Brad Keselowski (12).
Others Receiving Votes: Brad Keselowski (27), Jeff Burton (25), Brian Vickers (23), Marcos Ambrose (11), Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (10), Denny Hamlin (8), Aric Almirola (4), Paul Menard (4).
Who Voted: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com; Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com; Kelly Crandall, Speedwaymedia.comTony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com; Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com; Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com,.

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