The Frontstretch: Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After New Hampshire by Frontstretch Staff -- Wednesday September 22, 2010

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Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After New Hampshire

Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday September 22, 2010


Frontstretch Power Rankings

The Chase began with racing at Loudon that looked like a local short track on a Saturday night, drivers in the top 12 bouncing off everyone around them like pinballs – not princesses trying to play it safe. Instead of the boring beginning to the playoffs we’ve come to expect, it was a rough-and-tumble 300 laps where more than half the title contenders were involved in incidents before gas took center stage; and when all was said and done, Tony Stewart’s tank came up one lap shy to make Clint Bowyer a Cinderella story.

Of course, while Bowyer won the race, it was Hamlin who took Round 1 of the war to increase his lead atop the standings to 35 points. But in our Power Rankings, was that enough to elevate him over regular season champ Kevin Harvick? Further back, Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth had bad luck befall them. Could ugly weekends cost them a spot in the latest edition of our top 15? And what did Jamie McMurray’s strong run do to his ranking as the highest finishing non-Chaser? Read the latest poll this week and find out if our experts felt your driver was dining on lobster after Sunday’s race… or if he was left with lumpy chowder.

Rank Driver (First Place Votes) Votes Last Week
1 Kevin Harvick (6) 206 1
We’re not sure how to handle Harvick’s crew this weekend; say congrats on a job well done, or give a bunch of bear hugs, slip ‘em the 1-800 number for Emotional Abuse and wish them luck on all the therapy they’ll need in the offseason.
2 Denny Hamlin (3) 196 4
Even a spin and contact with the No. 48 could not deter him from a shot at the win in week one. Speed, composure, and confidence – could Johnson’s reign be over?
3 Clint Bowyer (2) 183 9
If he does somehow manage to win this thing, we can tell you this much: half of the fans will love it, and half will absolutely despise it.
4 Kyle Busch 175 3
Old Kyle would have been done after Sunday – let’s see where new Kyle ends up.
5 Tony Stewart 174 6
What a difference a decade makes for Tony Stewart. When he ran out of gas as a rookie, he would have punched his own mother in the face. Now, he knows better to do that in front of cameras when he needs a sponsor. Can someone just call Ms. Stewart and make sure she’s OK? We’re worried.
6 Jeff Gordon 157 10
Even with Jimmie spinning, having pit problems, and Martin blowing tires, still the second-best Hendrick car at New Hampshire to Dale Jr. Can this guy ever win again?
7 Carl Edwards 150 5
Door jobs won’t do it – the fabled FR9 and new suspension package looked pretty pedestrian on Sunday.
8 Jimmie Johnson 148 2
Still the favorite until the fat lady sings. Or is it when the Fed Ex truck eats his dust?
9 Kurt Busch 123 T – 7
Ran into everything but the ambulance in New Hampshire.
10 Jeff Burton 119 T – 7
He was about to start top 5-ing everybody to death…right before he ran out of gas. Running conservative would have him solidly in the top 5 right now.
11 Jamie McMurray 98 15
Acting like a guy who wants to make a mockery of the Chase he missed. And you know what, the way this car and team is running… they might just do it.
12 Ryan Newman 96 13
Newman spent the summer making sure teammate Tony Stewart’s team got back on track enough to make the Chase. Too bad he couldn’t have helped out on Sunday with an extra gallon of gas.
13 Juan Pablo Montoya 77 12
What a difference a year makes. One year ago he was battling Mark Martin down to the last lap for a win at Loudon and a chance at a championship. Now, they’re “dueling” for 16th in points.
14 Greg Biffle 74 14
That was some momentum train he rode from Richmond to Loudon … he might has well have gotten off the train and walked. Anything, anything would be better than the “strength” his team showed on Sunday.
15 A.J. Allmendinger 62 NR
No truth to the rumor yet Allmendinger demanded Best Buy purchase the new LCD screen at Charlotte Motor Speedway for his backyard.
Dropped Out: Matt Kenseth (11).
Also Receiving Votes: Matt Kenseth (61), David Reutimann (41), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (37), Kasey Kahne (30), Mark Martin (21), Sam Hornish, Jr. (20), Brad Keselowski (18), Martin Truex, Jr. (14), Joey Logano (13), Marcos Ambrose (9), Paul Menard (5), Regan Smith (2), Dave Blaney (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.

Wednesday on the Frontstretch:
Beyond the Cockpit: One-on-One With Denny Hamlin, Primed for Title Push
DYN? … NASCAR’s TV Nightmare, Sponsor “Sense Of Urgency,” & Do-ver-die?”:
Mirror Driving: Jumping To Conclusions A Risky Move For Chase, Dale Jr.
Too Much Too Soon? First Chase Race Devolves into Free-For-All
Top 10 Start-And-Park Explanations
Frontstretch Foto Funnies! Loudon, September 2010
Carey And Coffey: Do NASCAR’s Weekend Drug Tests Make Sense?

Contact Mike Neff

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Beyond the Cockpit: Alexis DeJoria On The 300 mph Women of the NHRA
A Swan’s Broken Wings Equal NASCAR’s Next Concern?
Thinkin’ Out Loud – The Off Week Season Review
Pace Laps: Swan Racing’s Future, Fast Females and Dropping Out
Sprint Cup Series Facilities Can Build Upon Fan Experience by Looking to Their Roots


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09/22/2010 12:56 PM

#12 Newman…Stewie did get help to cross the finish line. Am I the only one that say Hamlin give Stewie a little push in turn four on the white flag lap? And here I thought it against the rules to assist a car on the last lap….selective rules interpretation strikes again.

09/22/2010 09:31 PM

I saw it – and I also saw him waving Hamlin off his tail probably for that very reason.


Contact Mike Neff

Recent articles from Mike Neff:

Thinkin' Out Loud – The Off Week Season Review
Special Winter Sprint Car Series set for January debut at Cocopah Speedway
Beyond the Cockpit with Ben Rhodes
Kroger 250 postponed until Sunday afternoon
Denny Hamlin out of the car for the race at Auto Club Speedway

Want to find out more about Mike Neff? Maybe see all the articles he's written here at the Frontstetch? Check out his article archive and bio page then!