Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday July 14, 2010
Chase leaders learned the hard way why Chicago’s known as the Windy City, as many saw their cushion at the top swept away. Point leader Kevin Harvick’s advantage over second place was cut from 225 to 103 points, while third-place Jimmie Johnson led the most laps in the race, but could not overcome a couple of miscues that relegated him to a finish off the lead lap. That left David Reutimann in position to pull a shocking upset, passing Jeff Gordon for the lead late and scoring just the second victory of his career. As a result, he joined Mark Martin, Kasey Kahne, and Jamie McMurray clustered outside a tightening Chase field as the race for the playoffs heats up. Those four have more top-5 finishes than half the drivers above them right now, but several dreaded DNFs mean the difference between making and breaking their season.
What does it all mean for the Power Rankings this week? Four words: more jumbled than ever. Jeff Gordon can’t find Victory Lane this year, but another strong showing has him moving up the ladder. Was the original four-time’s finish strong enough to move him into the number one spot, or did Harvick manage to hang on even after running out of gas? Further back, did Reutimann’s win give him enough votes to move into the standings once again? Read this week’s top 15 to see how the experts voted in our latest poll.
|FRONTSTRETCH TOP 15 POWER RANKINGS: JULY 14th|
|Rank||Driver (First Place Votes)||Votes||Last Week|
|1||Jeff Gordon (6)||192||T – 3|
|Did you see his new book? Jeff Gordon: How To Lose A Race You’ve Already Won. Latest edition comes out in Bookstores this September. And be sure to look for the sequel, Five-Timed by My Own Employee, expected out in January 2011.|
|2||Jimmie Johnson (2)||183||2|
|Johnson continues to lead the Sprint Cup Series in spinning out… a lot. We’ve seen more mental mistakes this year than in the past but, with his daughter finally being born, look for the wins to fire up again starting with The Brickyard. Problems are easy to fix when the only people beating the No. 48 are themselves.|
|3||Kevin Harvick (1)||176||1|
|Good thing the regular season doesn’t mean squat during the Chase. Oh wait …|
|The King of scoring top-10 finishes. But at this point, consistency doesn’t get you more than a Chase ticket and some lovely consolation prizes.|
|Wasn’t he supposed to, like, be smoking everybody by now every weekend?|
|6||Kurt Busch||137||T – 3|
|The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde team of the Sprint Cup Series. A quick listen to the radio chatter will reinforce that ****.|
|7||Tony Stewart (1)||134||8|
|I guess now that he’s in the Chase, there’s no need to go all crazy and win a few races, right? Especially when Mr. Hendrick called and said sixth to tenth would be just fine.|
|Only his second top-5 finish of 2010 to go along with ten top-10 finishes. Mr. Bowyer, call for you on the other line. Some guy named Juan Pablo Montoya … something about stealing his strategy…|
|T – 9||Matt Kenseth||96||10|
|Thinking Crown Royal might be becoming more and more of a staple in his diet these days.|
|T – 9||David Reutimann||96||NR|
|Bet Aaron’s needed some TUMS after the Franchise won without their paint scheme.|
|Doubled his laps led total again this week. At this pace, he should lead 32 laps in the season finale.|
|Thankfully, the FR9 didn’t turn into a DNF4 this weekend.|
|Rusty Wallace apologized for calling him a “dumbass” after his interview in Victory Lane Friday night. 75% of NASCAR Nation has yet to offer a similar mea culpa.|
|T – 14||Greg Biffle||66||13|
|Apparently, driving the F****** R9 engine this past weekend wasn’t such a good idea.|
|T – 14||Jamie McMurray||66||NR|
|How long before they come out with a Jamie McBurger at the golden arches?|
|Dropped Out: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (9), Mark Martin (15).|
|Also Receiving Votes: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (55), A.J. Allmendinger (43), Mark Martin (42), Martin Truex, Jr. (34), Joey Logano (23), Ryan Newman (21), Juan Pablo Montoya (17), Paul Menard (17), Reed Sorenson (3), Brad Keselowski (3), Elliott Sadler (2), David Ragan (2), Sam Hornish, Jr. (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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