The Frontstretch: Frontstretch Sprint Cup Power Rankings : Top 15 After Charlotte by Mike Neff -- Wednesday May 28, 2008

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Frontstretch Power Rankings

The Coca-Cola 600 is the longest race on the NASCAR schedule, and the twists and turns that take place over those four and a half hours of racing led to plenty of opportunities for writers to change their votes in the rankings. As you might expect, Kasey Kahne made a leap from unranked to well inside the Top 15, while Denny Hamlin's blown tire cost him more than a few positions at the end of Sunday's race; he tumbled from third to well down the bottom half of our list. But despite all the movers and shakers around them, one thing remained the same at the conclusion of 600 miles: with his third place finish, Kyle Busch maintained his stranglehold on the top spot in the rankings, with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. following close behind. Let the budding rivalry between the two continue! Where did Hamlin, Kahne, and the rest of your favorite drivers wind up? Read on below to find out, and be sure to comment and let us know if you agree or disagree with the latest rankings by our Frontstretch writing experts.

How The Rankings Are Calculated: Frontstretch does their power rankings somewhat similar to how the Associated Press does them for basketball or football — writers on our staff 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, Mike Neff calculates the points, adds some funny one liners, and … voila! You have the power rankings from our dedicated staff.

Rank Driver (First Place Votes) Votes Last Week
1 Kyle Busch (8) 178 1
A third place finish matches nicely with that third finger he held up to Jeff Gordon after the race. Oh, Kyle …
2 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 164 2
The standard bearer for Hendrick this year pulled that one off with smoke and mirrors (and duct tape).
3 Jeff Burton 155 5
The only driver to run every lap of every race this season — now that's consistency.
4 Carl Edwards 144 4
Ruh-roh! It looks like everyone has caught up to Edwards at intermediate tracks — and they're just not good anywhere else!
5 Tony Stewart 120 8
It’s a good bet there will be a bomb threat phoned into Goodyear headquarters from a certain Columbus, Indiana household very soon.
6 Kasey Kahne (1) 118 NR
Could this be the first time in professional sports history that the fans have turned a season around for an organization?
7 Jeff Gordon 117 11
Making something out of nothing, the No. 24 team showed signs of becoming itself once again at Lowe's.
8 Clint Bowyer 114 6
When you're out of contention 30 miles into a 600-mile race, that's going to lead to a looong day.
9 Greg Biffle 110 10
Beginning to look more and more like the former Busch and Truck champion that he is.
10 Denny Hamlin 109 3
Acting more and more like his mentor Tony Stewart when it comes to dealing with the press … and that's not exactly a good thing.
11 Jimmie Johnson 98 7
Blown engine aside, this team has to be pleased it's keeping up with the big dogs once again.
12 David Ragan 77 9
After a year of wadding up Jack Roush's racecars, Ragan's showing signs of returning the No. 6 car to its former glory and consistency.
13 Kevin Harvick 60 12
Hoping the upcoming rush of intermediate tracks doesn’t derail his strong start to the season.
14 Matt Kenseth 51 NR
The No. 17 bunch is looking more and more like a team getting back to their championship caliber performance of the past.
15 Mark Martin 42 14
With a broken header, shocked he didn't die of carbon monoxide poisoning 200 laps into the race.
15 Bobby Labonte 42 NR
For as much grief as Petty Enterprises gets, they really aren't running that bad.
Dropped Out : Ryan Newman (13), Martin Truex, Jr. (15).
Also Receiving Votes : Ryan Newman (38) Martin Truex Jr. (36) Brian Vickers (24) Travis Kvapil (22) Kurt Busch (16) Juan Pablo Montoya (15) David Reutimann (14) Casey Mears (8) Elliott Sadler (7) Dave Blaney (7) Sam Hornish, Jr. (2) Jamie McMurray (1) David Gilliland (1)
Who Voted: Ren Jonsin, Tom Bowles, Cami Starr, Mike Neff, Kim DeHaven, Tony Lumbis, Vito Pugliese, and Bryan Keith.

Contact Mike Neff

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Beyond the Cockpit: Alexis DeJoria On The 300 mph Women of the NHRA
A Swan’s Broken Wings Equal NASCAR’s Next Concern?
Thinkin’ Out Loud – The Off Week Season Review
Pace Laps: Swan Racing’s Future, Fast Females and Dropping Out
Sprint Cup Series Facilities Can Build Upon Fan Experience by Looking to Their Roots


©2000 - 2008 Mike Neff and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

05/28/2008 08:36 AM

Dear Mike Neff,

You being DUPED by NA$CAR!!

900 “lead” changes??

And you print this like it is meaningful??

Last year, a writer actually reviewed an entire race because dear old Brian & company released a similar statistic for a particular “race”!

I don’t remember the “actual” numbers, but for discussion purposes I think NA$CAR stated there had been some 60 “lead changes”!

After reviewing the race tapes, it was determined NA$CAR used “EVERY SCORING LOOP” around the track and counted positions at EVERY SCORING LOOP (think there were six (6) of them at this particular track), thus on each and every lap you could have six, (6), count’em, 6, LEAD CHANGES! In ten laps you could have 60 “lead changes” per the way NA$CAR counts!

And “real” lead changes should not be considered at pit stops, yellow flags, etc, all of which NA$CAR counts to make their “racing” seem more exciting than it really is!

900 lead changes my a**!!

05/28/2008 01:46 PM

There were not 900 lead changes, there were 900 more on-track passes during the race. That is for all cars on the track. There were 17 on-track passes for the lead at Charlotte. There were more than 30 lead changes during the race, but there were 17 passes on the track between cars at speed racing for the lead.

05/28/2008 03:03 PM

so funny!

900 “more” position changes. Yep! 40 cars in the pits, 3 stay out, as the three go by the pits there are instantly, per NA$CAR! 40 “position” changes!

You seem hung up that the figure 900+ is meaningful and significant!


That my friend, reads a whole lot different than the 900+ number that is really meaningless!

05/28/2008 03:07 PM

Actually, now that I think the way NA$CAR does, in my little scenario of 40 pitted cars, three on the track, as the 3 go by the pits, that would, in NA$CAR terms be considered as 3 × 40 = 120 position changes!

Or something like that!

How funny anyone would believe this stuff!


Contact Mike Neff

Recent articles from Mike Neff:

Thinkin' Out Loud – The Off Week Season Review
Special Winter Sprint Car Series set for January debut at Cocopah Speedway
Beyond the Cockpit with Ben Rhodes
Kroger 250 postponed until Sunday afternoon
Denny Hamlin out of the car for the race at Auto Club Speedway

Want to find out more about Mike Neff? Maybe see all the articles he's written here at the Frontstetch? Check out his article archive and bio page then!