Mike Neff · Wednesday October 20, 2010
The NASCAR circus rolled into its hometown city and when it was over, Jamie McMurray was taking the title of Homecoming King. Behind the No. 1 car’s surprising third win this season, it was Jimmie Johnson distancing himself a little further from Denny Hamlin and Co., cutting the drivers with a realistic shot at the title to three. Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart took major hits, while Kyle Busch did all he could and was only able to gain 10 points on Johnson. That means while Martinsville and Talladega could certainly throw a monkey wrench into the positions within the top 12, they are more than likely going to solidify who is the odds-on favorite to win the title. If Hamlin and Johnson perform as usual this Sunday, it could very well be a two-horse race going forward.
Did Johnson’s rebound from a spin to finish third impress the voters enough to stretch his lead in the rankings even further? Or was Busch’s impressive run the impetus to move up to threaten for the top spot? A little further back in the poll, have Kevin Harvick’s pit road issues caused the regular season point leader to slip away from a chance at challenging Johnson for #1? Read this week’s Top 15 to find out.
|FRONTSTRETCH TOP 15 POWER RANKINGS: OCTOBER 20th|
|Rank||Driver (First Place Votes)||Votes||Last Week|
|1||Jimmie Johnson (10)||213||1|
|Spinning without hitting anything off Charlotte’s treacherous Turn 2? Even God at this point has returned all his “Drive For Five” Jeff Gordon gear and bought some for the No. 48.|
|Hamlin’s best shot at title will be at the next two tracks; he’s nails at Martinsville and he’s turned into a pretty competent plate racer. If the 48 gets involved in something at Talladega, the final few weeks will get really interesting.|
|3||Kevin Harvick (1)||194||5|
|When is Depends going to come out with an award for the driver who pisses and moans the most about their pit crew each week?|
|Looking like he’s going to be as cursed at Charlotte as Dale Earnhardt was at Daytona.|
|One of two things is going to happen with Tony during the final five races: explosion or implosion. We vote for the latter…|
|Gordon fans rejoice! No, not because The Drive for Five is alive, but because they have yet another opportunity to pile on Steve Letarte.|
|Has actually done more for himself and sponsors by not making The Chase and winning than he would have by making The Chase.|
|With five races left, not the championship but the winless streak now has to be foremost in Cousin Carl’s mind. Who would have thought the 2008 championship runner-up would then go the next two seasons without a victory?|
|Anything can happen, but the odds of gaining 225 points and leapfrogging seven drivers in five weeks are pretty slim.|
|Quite possibly the quietest sixth-place finish by a Chase driver in the Chase in recorded history.|
|Pretty sure he could give Harvick a run for his money for that Depends award if it ever comes around.|
|Once again, going to the Dale Earnhardt, Jr. school of race strategy. Took a top-5 car for most of the first 220 laps and brought it home 14th.|
|Mr. Consistency has become Mr. Consistently Crappy.|
|Just think if he had won that California race. He’d have 40% of the Chase wins, and be only 285 points out of first.|
|Had Ryan Newman made the Chase…well…now he’d be out of it, too.|
|Dropped Out: A.J. Allmendinger (14).|
|Also Receiving Votes: Joey Logano (66), David Reutimann (49), A.J. Allmendinger (36), Juan Pablo Montoya (36), Regan Smith (32), Paul Menard (18), David Ragan (13), Kasey Kahne (12), Martin Truex, Jr. (11), Scott Speed (9), Reed Sorenson (6), Brad Keselowski (3), David Gilliland (3), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (2), Bobby Labonte (2).|
|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 Mike Neff and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!