The Frontstretch: Top 15 Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Post-Las Vegas by Frontstretch Staff -- Wednesday March 9, 2011

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Top 15 Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Post-Las Vegas

Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday March 9, 2011


Frontstretch Power Rankings

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.

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.
3 Kurt Busch 87 2
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.
4 Ryan Newman 76 8
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.
8 Jeff Gordon 63 3
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…
10 Kyle Busch 57 1
Kyle’s Achilles heel this year might actually be his JGR powerplants.
*11 Paul Menard 42 14
Don’t look now, but the top driver for RCR after three races is the new kid on the block./td>
12 Kevin Harvick 40 9
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.

Contact Mike Neff

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Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
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Bob Chimento
03/09/2011 09:44 AM

What a let down this week end is going to be… after one of the most successful starts in NASCAR history… well since I became a “core” fan many, many moons ago… there will be no racin’ boys this weekend… What a build up… What a let down…


I don’t know which one of useguys wrote this… but to say..

“Once the pit calls start going Smoke’s way…”

You must not have been watching the same race I did… LFB…my reference to Smokey which stands for “Little Fat Boy”… and Grubby made one hell of a pit call to only take 2 tires and the lead for most of the race…


That was a sweeeeeet call that had most of us… I am sure… guessing… “WTF” is this science project…


I doubt for one minute anyone made the call to let that air hose leave the “box”… uh… no &^!/ Bob…

Nice top 10… but you need to swap the 27 with the 48… Paul Menard has increased his stock with me…

Bristol will shake out the boys with out “the toys”… or nads… on the 20th…

Don Mei
03/09/2011 09:46 AM

You underestimate JPM.

03/09/2011 06:02 PM

Denny Hamlin

Not bad for a driver – and team – that didn’t even know if they were going to be around three months ago.



Contact Mike Neff

Recent articles from Mike Neff:

Special Winter Sprint Car Series set for January debut at Cocopah Speedway
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Kroger 250 postponed until Sunday afternoon
Denny Hamlin out of the car for the race at Auto Club Speedway
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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!