Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday September 29, 2010
Dover’s one-mile speedway is known as the Monster Mile, but Sunday it was more like a fuzzy little monster from the Disney movie Monsters, Inc. Not a single car left the track on the hook, with just one small wreck the lone blemish on what was otherwise a four-caution, squeaky-clean event at the concrete facility. But don’t be fooled by the DNF numbers; trust us, the track was a terrifying beast when it came to the Chase, killing off hopes of a couple of the 12 drivers vying for the championship. Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth, and Tony Stewart are all now more than 160 points behind the leader after shocking mental errors, and – barring a cataclysmic collapse by the drivers ahead of them – have given up the ghost for holding up a title trophy at Homestead. On the other end of the spectrum, Jimmie Johnson rebounded mightily from his subpar performance at New Hampshire, dominating the day to jump into second in the standings with eight races left. Denny Hamlin was able to score his third-best finish at Dover, though, a ninth-place performance enough to maintain first place in driver points. He’s got the largest point lead in the history of the Chase after two races, but be forewarned — it’s only 35 over a rapidly closing four-time champ out for blood.
So did Johnson’s strong victory do enough to move him from eighth to the top of our Power Rankings? Or was Kevin Harvick’s 15th-place result just enough to keep the number one spot in what was an up-and-down, emotional weekend for penalty-plagued RCR? And how about A.J. Allmendinger’s impressive run at the front for 143 laps? Could NASCAR’s version of Boise State climb the ladder in his bid to ruin this sport’s half-hearted attempt to build its own, bungled BCS-style playoff? Last but not least, there’s the curious case of Clint Bowyer: did our voters penalize him as much as NASCAR did for being “intolerant” after New Hampshire? Check out this week’s Top 15 for the answers to all these questions and more, finding out how the experts voted after a race that created more gargantuan power shifts near the top of the Sprint Cup playoff ladder.
|FRONTSTRETCH TOP 15 POWER RANKINGS: SEPTEMBER 29th|
|Rank||Driver (First Place Votes)||Votes||Last Week|
|1||Denny Hamlin (5)||207||2|
|You shouldn’t throw stones at a glass house when you live in one, Denny. And P-U! What is that Outkast said about thinking something doesn’t stink? Stop hanging out with Pepe Le Pew.|
|2||Jimmie Johnson (5)||200||8|
|Not sure what they’re going to name after him first: Dover Downs or the Chase. Probably both, for history’s sake in the year 2014 after his eighth straight championship – perfect timing as the sport of NASCAR dissolves into a bunch of old track museums.|
|Two weeks in a row of new Kyle. If he can keep this up, he might actually give JJ a scare.|
|4||Kevin Harvick (1)||178||1|
|Here’s a fun fact: Under the old system, he’d have a 208-point lead over Kyle Busch, and a 349-point advantage over Chase leader Denny Hamlin. He may talk a good game, but you bet that’s making him toss and turn at night.|
|Remember when Carl was the one who was going to dethrone the No. 48?|
|Dude is about a deep breath and a count to ten away from being in the thick of this fight for real – just needs to find a happy place and stop undermining himself. You’re Kurt Busch bro, not Lindsay Lohan.|
|Would be within 20 points of the lead right now had No. 31 team not gambled on fuel at Loudon. He would be Top 5-ing everybody to death right now instead of Top 7-ing them like he usually does.|
|Hasn’t been seen much lately as he’s been working overtime at Jimmie’s: Gotta build that display case big enough to make sure trophy #5 can fit.|
|Looks like the No. 14 team has been attending the Lance McGrew school of pit strategy.|
|Hmm. Following Bowyer’s Richmond seizure and Loudon penalty, you think he might just have an axe to grind after making it up to 13th in points before The Chase cutoff?|
|Led more laps than anyone else who’s been in the 43 car for the last SEVEN YEARS on Sunday. If that doesn’t justify a contract extension, we don’t know what does.|
|Kind of hard to argue anything he said in the media center. However, Richard Childress has conveniently forgotten the 1990 Championship scenario where his No. 3 team was allowed to pit Dale Earnhardt’s car on the apron of Turn One after all the tires fell off after a pit stop – without penalty. Doesn’t everything even out over time?|
|You want to know something sick? Had he made The Chase, he’d be fourth in points right now.|
|Fading quicker than a $5 track T-Shirt. That win at Pocono seems like it happened in 1997.|
|It’s official: unless Robbie Reiser is on top of the pit box, Kenseth will short out and malfunction like the robot likeness of him in those old Nextel commercials from a few years ago.|
|Dropped Out: Juan Pablo Montoya (13).|
|Also Receiving Votes: Joey Logano (66), Juan Pablo Montoya (58), Paul Menard (42), Mark Martin (37), Kasey Kahne (18), David Reutimann (14), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (11), Reed Sorenson (10), Martin Truex, Jr. (7), Brad Keselowski (5), Marcos Ambrose (3), Elliott Sadler (3).|
|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.|
NEW YEAR? NEW NEWSLETTER. LOOKING FOR THE INFO YOU NEED ABOUT NASCAR IN 2013 – SENT RIGHT TO YOUR EMAIL INBOX?
Well, you’ve come to the right place. The Frontstretch Newsletter gives you more of the daily news, commentary, and racing features from your favorite writers you know and love. Don’t waste another minute – click here to sign up and get all the information you need. We’re here to make sure you stay informed … so make sure you jump on for the ride!
©2000 - 2008 Frontstretch Staff and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!