Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday September 9, 2009
The aged surface of Atlanta Motor Speedway offered up multi-groove racing from the drop of the green flag that also yielded some bizarre events, with Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards both having freak problems that knocked them out of contention. Tony Stewart also had another off weekend, which cost him some of his first place votes again this week. But was it enough to knock him out of the top spot? And while the Chase bubble drivers jockey for position, how many of them were able to keep their place in this week’s poll? Read the latest top 15 rankings to find out who’s in the best shape heading into the final race of the regular season at Richmond Saturday night … and who needs Pep Boys to come straight from the Atlanta race to their Cup garage for repairs.
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: SEPTEMBER 9th, 2009|
|Rank||Driver (First Place Votes)||Votes||Last Week|
|1||Tony Stewart (5)||191||1|
|If the people behind him in the standings were running better, he might fall out of the top spot, but not when the next three are struggling, too.|
|2||Denny Hamlin (2)||173||3|
|One of only four drivers on track to make every Chase they’ve attempted. But is Hamlin’s team really good enough to win one?|
|3||Jeff Gordon (1)||165||T – 6|
|He may be second in points, but is anyone really thinking he has a bona fide shot at the championship?|
|Displayed evidence of those typical experimental summer setups at Atlanta; you know, the ones which fail miserably that this team employs after locking in a Chase spot every year.|
|Don’t read too much into Sunday night. A win leading into the Chase is just another tease from a team that can’t get it done when the big trophy is on the line.|
|T – 6||Mark Martin||139||T – 6|
|Martin could still miss the Chase, and people will lose their minds if he and Busch both miss it with 8 wins between them.|
|T – 6||Juan Pablo Montoya||139||9|
|Most people don’t think that someone can win a title without winning a race, but Montoya could very well prove everyone wrong.|
|8||Brian Vickers (2)||136||4|
|In the words of a sappy ‘80s song … Take … this broken axle, and learn to fly again, learn to live free … The book of Chase will open up and let us in…|
|The one time that NASCAR doesn’t throw a caution for “debris” and look what happens.|
|With that type of HANS device throw, the U.S. Track and Field team better take a serious look at Kurt for the discus in 2012.|
|How can anyone even entertain he thought that Kenseth will miss the Chase after that effort on Sunday night?|
|Does it feel weird praying for an 11th place finish?|
|13||Ryan Newman||85||T – 12|
|The only thing that can be making Newman feel comfortable right now is that there are three cars between himself and missing the Chase.|
|One of those weird poll anomalies we just can’t explain. This much we know: Kevin Harvick didn’t give him any votes.|
|A guy with nothing to lose entering Richmond … so does that mean he wrecks Brian Vickers, Kyle Busch, and Matt Kenseth to make it in? Now that would be TNT knows drama.|
|Dropped Out: Kyle Busch (T – 12).|
|Also Receiving Votes: Kyle Busch (59), Marcos Ambrose (32), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (28), Joey Logano (22), Kevin Harvick (21), Sam Hornish, Jr. (11), Jeff Burton (9), Casey Mears (8), Robby Gordon (5), Bobby Labonte (4), A.J. Allmendinger (3), Bill Elliott (2), Martin Truex, Jr. (2), David Stremme (1), David Gilliland (1).|
|Who Voted: Thomas Bowles, Kevin Birge, Mike Neff, Tony Lumbis, Doug Turnbull, Matt Taliaferro, Vito Pugliese, Bryan Keith, Phillip Allaway, and Kurt Smith.|
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