Once again, Mother Nature wreaked havoc with the NASCAR schedule, causing the second rain-delayed race in three weeks. It was a nightmare scenario for many involved with the sport; but for Denny Hamlin, it’s like an unexpected bonus.
For the third time in four races contested on Monday, Hamlin came home victorious, this time just 19 days after surgery to repair a torn ACL. The win put him back on the radar screen as one of Jimmie Johnson’s main rivals for the championship; but was two wins in three races enough to challenge him in our rankings? Read on to find out if JJ’s reign atop the list is finally over in the latest edition of our 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 22nd|
|Rank||Driver (First Place Votes)||Votes||Last Week|
|1||Jimmie Johnson (10)||200||1|
|If only it were the Samsung Mobile 501.5 … and with the way Jimmie’s “luck” has been going, we’re surprised NASCAR didn’t add that extra lap on a whim.|
|Aww, Jeffy and Jimmie got in a fight. Is wittle Rick gonna have to separate them? Are they ever going to kiss and make up … or is the kissing why they want to handle it in private?|
|If not for incidents in the last 20 laps of races, Kenseth would have a Top 10 in virtually every race this season – if not a couple of wins.|
|Has to be pretty pissed that Kasey Kahne has stolen his Silly Season thunder.|
|Another top-10 finish does not a championship threat make.|
|God, if only we knew ACL surgery would earn us a win, $500,000, and those six shooters in Victory Lane we’d have started tripping all over the basketball court months ago.|
|First top 5 of the year means the Shrub might bloom before the end of pollen season after all.|
|What a roller-coaster ride. Claws his way toward the top of the standings; but the second he can make Johnson nervous, he falls back down.|
|T – 9||Mark Martin||119||11|
|The anti-Junior, making great finishes out of a bad day.|
|T – 9||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||119||14|
|Out of the car, he may look like Jim Morrison in decline, but on the track he’s starting to look like his old self again – just in time for Talladega.|
|What’s happened to Burton the last few weeks is not just unfair – it’s downright criminal.|
|A consoling arm around the shoulder of Jeff Gordon was a far cry from the cussing out they gave each other at Watkins Glen in 2000. Ah, the good old days…|
|The ROTC ride marched to a top 11, which isn’t bad for the Rocket on an intermediate.|
|He’s getting to be quite an expert at this whole “hot start only to fizzle out come spring” maneuver.|
|You knew the Turf Builder car would end up in the grass somehow this weekend.|
|Dropped Out: Joey Logano (13).|
|Also Receiving Votes: Kasey Kahne (40), Martin Truex, Jr. (36), Paul Menard (33), Scott Speed (22), Brad Keselowski (17), Juan Pablo Montoya (11), A.J. Allmendinger (9), Jamie McMurray (9), Marcos Ambrose (6), Brian Vickers (3), Max Papis (1).|
|Writer Voting Panel: Phillip Allaway, Brock Beard, Thomas Bowles, Bryan Keith, Tony Lumbis, Mike Neff, Vito Pugliese, Mike Ravesi, Kurt Smith, and Matt Taliaferro.|
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