The 24 Hours … err, 500 miles of Pocono not only tested the mettle of all 43 teams Sunday, but it tested the metal of the Car of Tomorrow when Elliott Sadler pounded the inside wall, leaving his engine laying in the middle of the track and his life hanging in the balance. Luckily, the likable Virginian emerged with nothing more than a few bumps and bruises, clearing the way for a happier Ford ending in the form of a win for a fallen friend. Greg Biffle snapped a personal 64-race victory drought, landing Ford’s first trophy in 24 races while giving Jack Roush a reason to smile from his hospital bed. Further back, Kevin Harvick added five points to his series lead, while Jeff Gordon went another week wondering if he’ll ever visit Victory Lane again.
But did losing a race everyone thought was Gordon’s to win – he was out front with 30 laps to go – cost him a chance to take the top spot in the rankings? Read the Top 15 to see if Harvick could still be caught, or if Greg Biffle made a surprise bid for number one just three weeks after blowing an engine in Chicago. And did Kurt Busch’s dump from Jimmie Johnson cost him or the No. 48 more this week? Check and see your favorite driver mastered Pocono’s tricky triangle enough to climb up the list.
|FRONTSTRETCH TOP 15 POWER RANKINGS: AUGUST 4th|
|Rank||Driver (First Place Votes)||Votes||Last Week|
|1||Kevin Harvick (8)||215||1|
|The point leader continues his strong run to third place in the Chase seedings.|
|2||Jeff Gordon (2)||196||2|
|Made a valiant effort to support crew chief Steve Letarte in public after yet another four-tire goof. Three strikes and a … contract extension? We don’t get it.|
|Seemingly biding his time and waiting for the playoffs at this point … or is it the 2012 Senatorial election? We couldn’t tell after he played the role of “NASCAR politician” with those driver fines.|
|Leads Series the last five years in wins, championships, and igniting massive wrecks from bumpdrafting. Note to Jimmie: If you aren’t good at it, don’t do it…|
|5||Tony Stewart (1)||165||5|
|Would rather be peaking at the right time than leading the point standings right now. Huh? What type of playoff system is this?|
|He may not own Pocono, but he’s at least got a timeshare.|
|Finally, someone learned from their mistake of taking four tires over track position late in the race. Brian Pattie, are you listening?|
|This just in: Cousin Carl has led as many laps as Dale Junior has top-10 finishes. Neither number is anything to write home about…|
|Ought to be nervous sitting in 12th… except the two guys behind him are battling weekly to finish better than 20th.|
|Guess he’s planning on rattling Jimmie’s cage when they get to Bristol in a couple of weeks.|
|Brett Favre and Mark Martin should start a club: “Addicted to retirement announcements that never actually happen.”|
|T – 12||Jamie McMurray||84||9|
|Unfortunately for McMurray, only one of the turns at Pocono is modeled after the turns at Indianapolis.|
|T – 12||Kyle Busch||84||10|
|With good tracks looming on the horizon or Busch, look for him to make a push towards the top of the Chase seedings later this month.|
|Just happy he wasn’t the RPM car testing out the backstretch walls this time around at Pocono.|
|Maybe Drew Blickensderfer wasn’t so bad after all … at some point, you need to get over your ex and move on with your life, right? If Robbie Reiser’s running Roush Fenway in Jack’s absence, we find it highly doubtful he’s suddenly coming back on the pit box anytime soon.|
|Dropped Out: David Reutimann (15).|
|Also Receiving Votes: David Reutimann (51), Martin Truex, Jr. (45), Juan Pablo Montoya (41), Ryan Newman (38), Paul Menard (27), Joey Logano (22), A.J. Allmendinger (16), Sam Hornish, Jr. (15), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (8), David Ragan (6), Brad Keselowski (5), Elliott Sadler (4), Marcos Ambrose (3), Regan Smith (1).|
|Writer Voting Panel: Phillip Allaway, Brock Beard, Thomas Bowles, Bryan Keith, Tony Lumbis, Mike Neff, Vito Pugliese, Mike Ravesi, Kurt Smith, Garrett Horton, and Matt Taliaferro.|
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