Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday April 1, 2009
The oldest track on the circuit showed us Sunday it still offers some of the best racing in NASCAR. Chewing up and spitting out both veterans and rookies alike, the tricky .526-mile oval at Martinsville did its part to jumble up the power rankings for our Frontstretch experts.
With their bumping and banging for the lead on Sunday, Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson were able to make big gains up the power rankings ladder. But were they enough to push Jeff Gordon off the top spot? Meanwhile, Matt Kenseth and Jeff Burton were among those who took it on the chin at this short track. Read on to see how far they slid — and which new drivers drove their way up the list — in this week’s edition of the Frontstretch Top 15.
How The Rankings Are Calculated: Frontstretch does our power rankings somewhat similar to how the Associated Press does them for basketball or football — writers on 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 one batch of power rankings to serve to our fans.
|FRONTSTRETCH TOP 15 POWER RANKINGS: APRIL 1st, 2009|
|Rank||Driver (First Place Votes)||Votes||Last Week|
|1||Jeff Gordon (6)||217||1|
|Consistency is keeping him on top for now — but it will take wins to stay there once the Chase begins.|
|2||Jimmie Johnson (1)||202||6|
|Not sure what was more unnecessary at Martinsville this weekend: a competition yellow 16 laps after a caution flag, a caution for a Coors Light can in Turn 2, or Johnson’s beard.|
|Looking more and more like the modern day version of Terry Labonte each week.|
|4||Denny Hamlin (1)||176||10|
|Fully trained now to expect he’ll lose races he should win. And that’s not a good thing…|
|Busch into Speed brought the mixture of M&M’s and Red Bull. The result was the kind of disaster one gets with a Pop Rocks and Coke mix…|
|After witnessing Johnson’s somewhat heated post-race statements combined with scruffy stubble, Stewart has become creeped out, thinking Jimmie is trying to become him. If J.J. starts pounding burgers… hide the lotion.|
|Two weeks removed from his first win of the season, Busch was offered the opportunity to exit the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge by The Captain himself during midrace R. Lee Ermy / “Full Metal Jacket” tirade. Penske is looking to hire Jimmy Spencer as his spotter.|
|An intermediate track can’t get here fast enough for Cousin Carl.|
|He’s still finished every race so far on the lead lap. Notice we left out the words “up front.”|
|Chances Harvick will move KHI to Cup someday and become the unofficial third RCR car like Stewart has with Hendrick: 50/50. Yup. You heard it here first.|
|Third place out of the MWR stable has to sting a little bit this week.|
|Fine, we’ll say it. Change his car number to No. 43 and somebody contact STP — before they offer him that U.S.-based Formula One ride and it’s too late.|
|13||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||94||15|
|After seeing how Dale and Tony Jr. performed after “the talk” this week, maybe Rick Hendrick should be put in charge of turning around the auto industry.|
|Staged brilliant late race charge up to sixth place in closing laps — just so he could ambush Johnson with Gillette Sensor upon exiting his car and dispatch with that terrible beard.|
|Back-to-back 7th place finishes with some of his best tracks coming up. Whoever said Martin was out of it might want to take another look at the little guy. Temporal vein is only at 20% capacity right now … but just wait until Phoenix.|
|Dropped Out: Matt Kenseth (7), Brian Vickers (12), Jeff Burton (14).|
|Also Receiving Votes: Jeff Burton (65), Juan Pablo Montoya (59), Marcos Ambrose (49), Matt Kenseth (38), Brian Vickers (26), Michael Waltrip (23), Jamie McMurray (13), Bobby Labonte (4).|
|Who Voted: Thomas Bowles, Ren Jonsin, Mike Neff, Tony Lumbis, Matt Taliaferro, Vito Pugliese, Bryan Keith, Phillip Allaway, Kurt Smith, Doug Turnbull, and Danny Peters.|
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