Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday September 23, 2009
The first Chase race is finally behind us, with Mark Martin earning his season-high fifth win of the season at New Hampshire. It was one of the wilder races in the history of the one-mile oval, and that’s reflected in a poll in which 11 of the top 13 drivers swapped spots this week. But while Martin’s victory was good enough to hold onto the point lead, did he climb back to the top of our list with last week’s Frontstretch leader, Denny Hamlin, finishing second on Sunday? And while Juan Pablo Montoya in third roughed up half the field, was that aggressive attitude a turnoff for voters deciding whether he fits the bill of this year’s Chase Cinderella? You’ll have to read below to find out, but the votes came in a whole lot closer than you might have thought.
Looking a little further back, there’s plenty of drivers out of the playoffs but fighting to be a part of our list, with Kyle Busch, David Reutimann, and Clint Bowyer among those looking to spoil a poll party filled with championship contenders. But which RCR driver’s poor finish cost him a spot on our list? Read this week’s rankings to see whose bulbs burned bright and whose burned out in this week’s 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: SEPTEMBER 23rd, 2009|
|Rank||Driver (First Place Votes)||Votes||Last Week|
|1||Denny Hamlin (4)||186||1|
|Don’t be surprised if those extra five points he landed at the end of the race come back to help him in Homestead.|
|2||Mark Martin (5)||185||T – 3|
|That Hendrick four-leaf clover is so powerful, not even mystery debris can stop him.|
|Fourth at New Hampshire to start his bid for four straight. Sounds like a very familiar story …|
|Gordon’s strong start tempered by Lap 100 transmission over the radio: “Remember, Jeff, Mr. Hendrick said this year we’re supposed to only be third-best. Maybe in 2010.”|
|5||Tony Stewart (1)||153||T – 3|
|Doesn’t look like the conspiracy theorists were right, as Stewart was running up front at New Hampshire. But when all was said and done, he still managed to pull mediocrity from strength.|
|6||Juan Pablo Montoya||140||9|
|Pissed off about third while Stewart is OK with 14th? This is a very surreal season.|
|It’s always an X Factor when you’ve got a guy playing with house money.|
|Pat Tryson may not be allowed in the Penske shop, but the team won’t be going either after their crew chief finds a new way to spend his time: “Chase Cookout Wednesdays” in his backyard.|
|Beginning his quest to be the biggest point winner during the Chase to be able to say “I told you so.”|
|T – 10||Greg Biffle||112||11|
|Biffle had a top 10 finish, but don’t be fooled; that Cinderella slipper broke a long time ago.|
|T – 10||Ryan Newman||112||13|
|Since when did Newman right the ship on his season? We missed it.|
|Dover is make or break for his championship chances already. And considering his foot is already broke …|
|The drive for twelfth started off very strong on Sunday.|
|Who knew Richard Childress’ bid for a four-car team would cause an epic four-star collapse?|
|Spending some time talking to Kyle Busch this week about how to handle being hated by Junior Nation. Step #1: Have lots of extra security on hand at Dover.|
|Dropped Out: Kevin Harvick (15).|
|Also Receiving Votes: Matt Kenseth (42), Marcos Ambrose (31), Kevin Harvick (30), Elliott Sadler (18), Joey Logano (18), Casey Mears (14), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (11), Jeff Burton (10), Bobby Labonte (7), Sam Hornish, Jr. (4), David Gilliland (2).|
|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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