The Frontstretch: Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Talladega by Frontstretch Staff -- Wednesday April 20, 2011

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Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Talladega

Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday April 20, 2011


Talladega is the biggest track on the Cup circuit and it served up a whopper of a close finish this weekend, with eight cars all passing under the flagstand in the blink of an eye after 500 miles of racing. Jimmie Johnson made a dramatic swing from the top of the track to the bottom, coming through the tri-oval with Dale Earnhardt Jr. in tow to surge past Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer and take the checkers first by .002 seconds, tying the closest margin of victory in series history. How close was the pack as they crossed the line? Kevin Harvick was right on Bowyer’s rear bumper but was credited with fifth place.

Flashing behind him was Carl Edwards’ late race charge to sixth; was that enough to have the voters keep him in first place this week? Or will Jimmie Johnson’s first victory of the season be enough to have him overtake Edwards for the number one spot in the rankings? And, while Dale Earnhardt, Jr. didn’t win the race, did he push himself towards the top of the poll by pushing Johnson to the win? Read this week’s Top 15 to find out if your favorite driver bumped his way up through the Talladega draft and into our poll.

Rank Driver (First Place Votes) Votes Last Week
1 Carl Edwards (4) 118 1
The last few feet of Sunday’s race looked like Cousin Carl might end up going airborne again at Talladega.
2 Jimmie Johnson (1) 113 3
He can’t be number one in everything… right?
3 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 103 5
Looks like the role of Jimmie Johnson’s personal assistant – left open since Jeff Gordon left to work down the road – has finally been filled. Wonder what all the Junior fans will think when he helps push Johnson to a title in Homestead?
4 Clint Bowyer 98 6
Should have had one less helping of Hamburger Helper on Saturday night; he might have beaten Johnson to the line.
5 Kevin Harvick 87 7
Had to be frustrating coming across the line one car length behind the winner and finishing fifth.
6 Matt Kenseth (1) 86 2
After one week in Victory Lane, Matt Kenseth asked for and was granted permission to resume playing the role of NASCAR’s Charlie Brown.
7 Greg Biffle 81 11
New contract extension and pretty much no one cared. But isn’t that the story of Biffle’s tenure at Roush? We should start calling him Mr. Invisible…
8 Kyle Busch 79 4
Saturday might have eased Sunday’s pain but he has still only finished in the top 10 twice at Talladega in 13 Cup races.
9 Kurt Busch 68 8
Mistook Talladega for a game of bumper cars at the local arcade Sunday. Chances are that’s going to haunt him down the road…
10 Paul Menard 66 10
This guy’s for real; we swear… the following promotional message was provided by, Menards Home Improvement Stores. Menards! If it’s broken, we’ll throw enough money at our son’s racing program ‘till it works.
11 Jeff Gordon 57 NR
You’d think he would have learned over the last few years that the bottom is the key to winning at Talladega.
12 Tony Stewart 54 12
If you had the over/under on Stewart’s laps led on Sunday at 0 and you took the over, you’d have lost money.
13 Juan Pablo Montoya 41 9
Earnhardt Ganassi Racing: From the restrictor plate kings of 2010 to virtually irrelevant there one year later.
14 A.J. Allmendinger 36 NR
Finished 11th and lost two spots in the standings. ‘Dinger is still the top car at Petty but needs to card more than one top 10 every eight races if he’s going to make it to the Chase.
15 Mark Martin 32 NR
Finally led a lap on Sunday. AARP members everywhere can call them their hero once again.
Dropped Out: Ryan Newman (13), David Ragan (14), Marcos Ambrose (15).
Also Receiving Votes: Ryan Newman (27), Jeff Burton (24), Denny Hamlin (16), David Ragan (15), Marcos Ambrose (14), David Gilliland (11), Joey Logano (9), Martin Truex, Jr. (6), Dave Blaney (5), Trevor Bayne (5), David Reutimann (4), Brad Keselowski (2), Kasey Kahne (1), Andy Lally (1), Casey Mears (1).
Writer Voters Include: Phillip Allaway, Bryan Keith, Tom Bowles, Tony Lumbis, Mike Neff and Garrett Horton. (No Vito Pugliese this week)

Contact Mike Neff

Wednesday on the Frontstretch:
Did You Notice?… One For The Underdogs, Zero For The Free Agents
Top Ten Reasons the FANS Think Dale Jr. Is Running So Well This Year
Mirror Driving: Playing By The Rules, Speed Dating, And Silliness
Turning Back the Clock: 1992 Mountain Dew 500

The Top 10 Closest NASCAR Finishes Of The Last 20 Years

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
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04/20/2011 06:25 PM

Wonder what all the Junior fans will think when he helps push Johnson to a title in Homestead?

04/20/2011 06:27 PM

Wonder what all the Junior fans will think when he helps push Johnson to a title in Homestead? This fan hopes that Jr. will be at Gibbs or back in the #8 car next year.

04/20/2011 06:33 PM

AJ has been running IN the top 10….He’s just had pathetically bad luck.

top 5 at Martinsville erased by that last caution which caught him in the pits.

top 10 in Texas ruined cuz Tony backed into him while he was pitting..

Talldega…he and Paul had a huge run with 2 to go blocked by Harvick and Bowyer and by time they regrouped they could only get back to 11th.

the only race AJ hasn’t been in contention for a top 10 was Bristol.


Contact Mike Neff

Recent articles from Mike Neff:

Special Winter Sprint Car Series set for January debut at Cocopah 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!