The Frontstretch: NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Top 15 After Martinsville II by Frontstretch Staff -- Wednesday October 30, 2013

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NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Top 15 After Martinsville II

Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday October 30, 2013

 

Frontstretch Power Rankings
Jeff Gordon has been determined to prove his addition to the 2013 Chase was no fluke, that he deserved the opportunity to battle for a championship. Well, Gordon made a giant step towards proving the naysayers wrong, winning at Martinsville and collecting his eighth victory at the famed track which ties with Jimmie Johnson for most wins amongst active drivers. He now sits third in points, only 27 markers behind Johnson and Matt Kenseth.

Championship leaders Johnson and  Kenseth dominated the day, leading a combined 325 of 500 laps. The two ran on alternating tire strategies throughout; one would lead while the other fought through the field, and vice versa. In the end, it was Kenseth who came out on top, second to Johnson's fifth which leaves them tied for the points lead with only three races remaining.  

A Martinsville race wouldn’t be complete without a bit of post-race confrontation. Greg Biffle had some choice words for Johnson after the race, stemming from apparent contact which ultimately led to Biffle’s bumper cover coming loose. That caused him to pit and fall from seventh to 27th in the running order, costing him a chance at a potential victory. Although he rallied to finish ninth, there is always the “what if” factor to consider. 

Drivers head to Texas now for a Sunday afternoon showdown that will separate contenders from pretenders. As Jeff Gordon said in his post-race press conference about who has a legitimate shot at the championship, “Let’s be honest, we’re [Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick & Kyle Busch] all alive, but right now there are two that are in it. Our job is to go to Texas and make it three.”

Before the cars unload in Texas, see if your driver improved his position after the last short track 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!
 
FRONTSTRETCH TOP 15 POWER RANKINGS: October 30th
RankDriver (First Place Votes)Votes Last Week
1Matt Kenseth (4)1372
Deserves the top spot when you outrun Jimmie Johnson and “Johnsonville.” Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
2Jimmie Johnson (2)
1341
That loud grumble you heard after Martinsville came from Johnson, unable to believe that not only did he fail to win, or extend his point lead, but that Kenseth outperformed him. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com
3Jeff Gordon
1255
Hasn’t won a NASCAR championship since the Cup Series was Winston. He’s smoking (not tobacco) to get his first Sprint title. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
4Kevin Harvick1184
Despite the team discord, Harvick still managed to put up a good run on Sunday. We’ll have to see if the Dillon quotient rears its ugly head again this weekend (Remember, Austin Dillon is entered in the No. 33 Circle Sport Chevrolet, which RCR is running this weekend). Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com
5
Kyle Busch1073
Unless he wins the final three races, his Chase chances are pretty much gone. How many of us thought this might be the year he was going to win it? Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com
6Clint Bowyer
1057
Apparently, he’s decided he can come out of hiding after the Richmond scandal and remind everyone that he does, in fact still race and races pretty well, too. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com
7Dale Earnhardt, Jr.1036
Any schoolteachers out there? Need a “B” student who’ll give you no trouble, sit quietly in the corner but never realize their full potential no matter what you throw at them? I think Hendrick Motorsports has the perfect “back to school” pairing for you. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
8Carl Edwards
798
If Carl was on a mission Sunday to remind people that he hasn’t dropped off the face of the Earth, it took less than 100 laps to accomplish that mission… twice. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com
9Jamie McMurray78T - 9
Would be a championship contender if he could figure out how to get to the Chase without going through the regular season. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
10Greg Biffle77T - 9
Halloween is approaching and Biffle decided he wanted to be Kurt Busch by getting all angry and in Johnson’s face like that. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com
11Kurt Busch
6912
He fought the good fight with a one-car team, and he still may well have a couple of good finishes left in him. But he wouldn’t be human if he wasn’t peeking ahead to next year. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com
12Joey Logano6613
Part of me still wonders what would have happened had Logano not started the Chase in the midst of both a conspiracy crisis and an ugly DNF. Either way, still a great learning experience for a youngster expected to be back here many times this decade. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
13Brad Keselowski6514
Bad Brad plus Humble Pie equals an incredibly focused driver for 2014. Just you wait, this Fall is just a small flash of what the next 36 races are going to be like for the competition. I have a feeling. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
14Ryan Newman4411
Text message from Newman to Harvick after the race: “Hey man, you’ve already kicked me out of my ride at the end of the year. Was it necessary to kick me out of the race, too? Guess you saw a 3 on the car and thought I was one of the Dillon boys.” Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com
15Martin Truex, Jr.
30NR
At least he’s got a ride for next year. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com
Dropped Out: Kasey Kahne, Paul Menard (T - 15).
Others Receiving Votes: Paul Menard (29), Kasey Kahne (26), Jeff Burton (25), Denny Hamlin (19), Juan Pablo Montoya (14), Aric Almirola (8), Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (6), Danica Patrick (5), Michael McDowell (1).
Who Voted: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com; Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com; Kelly Crandall, Speedwaymedia.comTony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com; Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com;Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com; Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com,.

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Sherri
10/30/2013 09:23 AM
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The Texas race is on Sunday afternoon, not Saturday night.

John
10/30/2013 03:20 PM
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So, we are talking about the top 15 in all of Sprint Cup last week and five, yes five of you voted for Danica? Seriously?

Managing Editor
10/30/2013 03:23 PM
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Sherri,

Thanks for your note about Texas. It was an oversight by the writer and missed by our editing staff… this version has been corrected.

Thanks for being an avid reader and commenter on the site!