The Frontstretch: NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Top 15 After Talladega II by Frontstretch Staff -- Wednesday October 23, 2013

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NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Top 15 After Talladega II

Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday October 23, 2013


Frontstretch Power Rankings
Everyone was waiting for the “big one” the final laps of the race, but it never came. Of course, don’t tell that to Austin Dillon and Casey Mears who both wrecked hard on the backstretch on the final lap. Because of that caution, the field was frozen and Jamie McMurray picked up his first win since 2010. This was the second consecutive non-Chase driver victory, the first time that happened since Tony Stewart in 2006.  

In what was a relatively clean race, more than 30 cars were running at the end. Only two cautions flew for accidents which involved a total of four cars (Montoya, Ambrose, Dillon and Mears). 

Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. dominated the day, leading a cumulative 117 laps. However, Johnson and Kenseth got shuffled out of the lead and finished 13th and 20th, respectively. Earnhardt, Jr. seemed to be in a prime position to make for a great finish in second place, but the last lap caution kept him from another restrictor plate win. 

From the largest track to one of the smallest, NASCAR heads to Martinsville for the final short track race of the season. 
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 (7)1402
It’d be easy to crown him now that he’s got the point lead and heads to his best track with it. But if the regular season was any indication, Kenseth has a way of messing up Johnson in critical times. Kelly Crandall,
2Matt Kenseth
Good news for Kenseth is that he is only four points behind Johnson. The bad news is that they are heading to Martinsville, a Hendrick playground. Tony Lumbis,
3Kyle Busch
He most likely won’t win the championship but Sunday’s battle back might help him finish in the top five in points. Kelly Crandall,
4Kevin Harvick1183
Charged from five seconds back, with less than 20 laps to go in one of the ultimate restrictor plate racing comebacks. Too bad that when he got there, back in the lead draft, no one actually wanted to run with him. Tom Bowles,
Jeff Gordon1124
I still think he’s the Cinderella story of the Chase. Gordon might have lost a position in the points after Talladega, but with Martinsville this week he has a strong chance of making up a lot of ground on the top 5. Michael Mehedin,
6Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
108T - 7
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is not mathematically eliminated, but he is mathematically challenged. He needs wins and bad luck for those five drivers in his way to a championship. Dwight Drum,
7Clint Bowyer
Well, at least if he wanted to ride at the back of the pack Sunday, he didn’t have to worry about being accused of manipulating a race result. Jeff Wolfe,
8Carl Edwards
Whenever Edwards has to turn on the jets, it looks like there’s no fuel to go with it. The Fords need to find some speed this winter to be competitive for the championship in 2014. Tom Bowles,
9Kurt Busch
75T - 7
The Wonder Bread driver was left wondering how the heck to get to the front without a second line at the end of the race. Tony Lumbis,
T - 10Jamie McMurray7415
McMurray is one of the best restrictor plate racers in Cup, but his recent form is beyond that of someone posturing for a new contract (which he already has). Perhaps this form has staying power. Phil Allaway,
T - 10Greg Biffle
The Atlanta Braves of the Chase. Playoff filler, at this point with no real expectations of championship contention. Prove me wrong, Biff… Tom Bowles,
12Ryan Newman7312
Hey, at least nobody landed on his hood this time around. Makes for a pretty good day in Newman’s book. Kelly Crandall,
13Joey Logano
Joey was Penske’s only chance for a championship this year. At this point, Penske might not even be invited to Las Vegas come Homestead. Michael Mehedin,
14Brad Keselowski4410
The team has been a little off all year and that continued Sunday. Jeff Wolfe,
T - 15Kasey Kahne
The Chase has been nothing short of a disaster for the No. 5 team. Kahne has to be looking forward to the offseason already. Phil Allaway,
T - 15Paul Menard37NR
Experimental engine led to excellent results, Menard’s third top-5 finish in the last ten races as this team revs up for 2014. Tom Bowles,
Dropped Out: None.
Others Receiving Votes: Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (30), Martin Truex, Jr. (29), Aric Almirola (10), Jeff Burton (10), David Ragan (8), David Gilliland (5), Marcos Ambrose (2), Michael McDowell (1).
Who Voted: Phil Allaway,; Tom Bowles,; Kelly Crandall, Speedwaymedia.comTony Lumbis,; Dwight Drum,;Michael Mehedin,; Jeff Wolfe,,.

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10/23/2013 03:56 PM

At least Logano at Daytona in Febuary and Talladega this past weekend tried to make something happen besides follow the leader, nobody else did.