Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday November 19, 2008
After 36 points-paying events, nine months, and 14,493 miles of racing, the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season is finally in the books. When the smoke cleared, it was Jimmie Johnson winning his third consecutive championship, tying Cale Yarborough as the only drivers in history to accomplish that feat. Behind him, Carl Edwards finished second but won the most trophies, with a total of nine checkered flags captured throughout the year. In contrast, Jeff Gordon snapped his streak of at least one win per season at 14, while Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick were some of the other notables who got shut out of Victory Lane.
However, none of those drivers mentioned got left out of our final power rankings poll of the season. As you might expect, Jimmie Johnson was unanimously voted number one on our list; but where did the other drivers mentioned wind up? Read on to see if your wheelman shone in the Florida sun, or got sand kicked in his face in the final edition of our 2008 Top 15 rankings.
|FRONTSTRETCH TOP 15 POWER RANKINGS: NOVEMBER 19th, 2008|
|Rank||Driver (First Place Votes)||Votes||Last Week|
|1||Jimmie Johnson (10)||200||1|
|Let’s see…he’s now won 3 consecutive titles, and missed out on two others by a combined point total of 98. He’s also got 40 wins at 33 years old. But yeah, let’s not consider him one of the best ever yet.|
|Won the most races in Sprint Cup and finished 2nd — and also finished 2nd in the Nationwide Series. Should’ve hopped in the No. 99 truck this year and gunned for Johnny Benson to go for the trifecta…|
|Fourth in points small consolation for that zero in the win column.|
|Unless Bobby Labonte decides to try for a Truck Series title, Biffle’s still the biggest threat to win the championship in all three major series.|
|A few years back, 100 wins for Gordon seemed like a given. Now, we wonder if he’s stuck at 81 for good.|
|Hmmm. Back-to-back Top 5 seasons, won a race and the Nationwide Championship — but Bowyer’s the one who gets to qualify on time for the first two months next year.|
|7||Denny Hamlin||115||T – 10|
|Vito Pugliese from Grand Rapids, Michigan writes, “Hey Fed Ex, can you put together some commercials next year that are mildly amusing?”|
|8||Matt Kenseth||113||T – 10|
|May be just tired of losing enough to voluntarily decide to be the team that Roush Fenway eliminates next year.|
|The guy that will 6th place you to death finishes 6th in points. Appropriate.|
|Even the 1991 Buffalo Bills think that was a pretty sorry effort in the Chase.|
|T – 11||Jamie McMurray||105||T – 8|
|Saved his job for another year; now, let’s see if he can actually do it all season long.|
|T – 11||Tony Stewart||105||15|
|With a testing ban for 2009 and a new team, it’s a good thing Stewart got that gift at Talladega from NASCAR. That may be the last time we’ll see Smoke in Victory Lane for awhile; but it won’t be the last time you see him standing on the window ledge hollering.|
|13||David Ragan||98||T – 8|
|Top candidate to get his first career win in 2009 … and his second… and maybe his third.|
|14||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||67||T – 10|
|Wins a race, runs strong, makes the Chase — and everybody is still calling him a slacker. Funny; Junior still won more races than two of his three teammates combined. So there.|
|Finished the season strong, but will he return to the ranks of the average at RCR?|
|Dropped Out : Kurt Busch (14).|
|Also Receiving Votes: A.J. Allmendinger (41), Kasey Kahne (38), Martin Truex, Jr. (35), David Reutimann (24), Kurt Busch (23), Mark Martin (16), Travis Kvapil (12), Bobby Labonte (7), Elliott Sadler (5), Ryan Newman (5), Scott Riggs (5), Bill Elliott (3), Juan Pablo Montoya (3), Paul Menard (3), Brad Keselowski (3), Brian Vickers (2), Reed Sorenson (1).|
|Who Voted: Ren Jonsin, Tom Bowles, Cami Starr, Mike Neff, Kim DeHaven, Tony Lumbis, Matt Taliaferro, Vito Pugliese, Bryan Keith, and Doug Turnbull.|
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