Carl Edwards left the Phoenix desert disappointed, feeling like he let a prime chance to win a race slip through his fingers.
He wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. Just one week later, it was Edwards who was able to celebrate after Tony Stewart let victory slip from his grasp in Las Vegas. Cousin Carl has now won three of the last five Sprint Cup events and appears to have regained his form from 2008, when he led the series with nine victories. While it is obviously too early to jump to any conclusions, Edwards so far has made a compelling case to become the number one threat for unseating Jimmie Johnson come Chase time.
But considering Stewart dominated the race, was Edwards’ lucky break enough to serve as his ascension to the top of the Power Rankings? Or did Kyle Busch’s fiery detonation on the backstretch at Vegas do nothing to sway the voters from leaving him solidly ensconced in the number one spot? Further back, has Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s strong runs resulted in him making a move toward the top 10 of the voters’ scorecards? Check this week’s Top 15 Rankings to find out if your driver hit the jackpot in Vegas or if they rolled snake eyes in the desert.
|FRONTSTRETCH TOP 15 POWER RANKINGS: MARCH 9th|
|Rank||Driver (First Place Votes)||Votes||Last Week|
|1||Carl Edwards (2)||96||5|
|Phoenix was taken away, Vegas was given. Turns out there is a Yin and Yang to auto racing after all…|
|2||Tony Stewart (3)||90||4|
|Once the pit calls start going Smoke’s way the rest of the series is in trouble.|
|Sharing the point lead for the second week in a row with no teammate help and no other teams to draw from is more impressive than most people realize.|
|Tied for second in top 5s after three races. We’re just sayin’.|
|5||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||67||12|
|Tops out of the Hendrick stable in points but no one is going to talk about him until he wins.|
|T – 6||Jimmie Johnson||64||6|
|Twelfth in points after a dismal Daytona 500 is hardly a slump.|
|T – 6||Denny Hamlin||64||11|
|Not bad for a driver – and team – that didn’t even know if they were going to be around three months ago.|
|Continuing the string of race winners crashing out of the subsequent race in 2011.|
|9||Juan Pablo Montoya||58||13|
|Guess who didn’t benefit from that offseason team swap at Hendrick Motorsports…|
|Kyle’s Achilles heel this year might actually be his JGR powerplants.|
|Don’t look now, but the top driver for RCR after three races is the new kid on the block./td>|
|At least he isn’t in Jeff Burton’s shoes.|
|T – 12||Matt Kenseth||34||NR|
|So maybe winning his fifth career pole wasn’t such a good omen for him.|
|T – 12||Martin Truex, Jr.||34||NR|
|Apparently the NAPA Know How commercials are manifesting themselves into lead lap finishes.|
|T – 12||A.J. Allmendinger||34||7|
|One of five drivers who have lead lap finishes in all three races this season.|
|Dropped Out: Mark Martin (9), Bobby Labonte (15).|
|Also Receiving Votes: Marcos Ambrose (27), Mark Martin (23), Brian Vickers (22), Kasey Kahne (21), Clint Bowyer (19), Bobby Labonte (9), Greg Biffle (8), David Reutimann (6), Joey Logano (3), Trevor Bayne (2), Jamie McMurray (2), Regan Smith (1), Morgan Shepherd (1).|
|Writer Voting Panel: Phillip Allaway, Bryan Keith, Tony Lumbis, Mike Neff, Vito Pugliese and Garrett Horton.|
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