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The tricky triangle in the Pocono Mountains threw the competitors some curveballs this Spring, the unique three-turn format paired with the return of shifting for the first time in several years. In the end, Jeff Gordon notched his second win of the season, moving into a tie with Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip on the all-time win list in the Cup series. The Busch brothers chased Gordon to the checkered flag, finishing second and third, although Kyle’s third-place finish was diminished by a post race technical violation which cost him six points. Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top 5, only leading one lap between the two of them while the points leader Carl Edwards had an engine problem that relegated him to the 37th finishing spot.
Will Edwards’ engine troubles and poor finish cost him the top spot in the rankings? If Edwards loses the top spot, will Johnson or Harvick overtake him? How much did Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s charge back to sixth place sway the pollsters’ decisions? Check out this week’s Top 15 to see if your favorite driver made some ground towards the top of the Power Rankings through the three distinct corners at Pocono or if they spent the weekend in a heart-shaped hot tub in the honeymoon capital of the world.
|FRONTSTRETCH TOP 15 POWER RANKINGS: JUNE 15th|
|Rank||Driver (First Place Votes)||Votes||Last Week|
|1||Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (3)||113||2|
|Turning into Jeff Burton before our eyes: becoming the king of the top-10 finish.|
|2||Carl Edwards (2)||111||1|
|Replaced a valve and got back in the race, is that even legal?|
|3||Jimmie Johnson (1)||109||3|
|There are a ton of drivers who would like to be in a “slump” like Johnson is right now.|
|Things must be getting tight at RCR after the big fine; Harvick couldn’t even get a driver’s suit to match his car.|
|5||Jeff Gordon||86||T – 10|
|Starting to look like a weekly threat to win for the first time this season… and guess what? He’s already done it twice.|
|New Kyle or old, hard to believe he didn’t wreck Harvick after that little stunt on the front straight.|
|Don’t look now, but that’s two good runs in a row… about time for another epic meltdown at Michigan.|
|Some people consider being a Kenseth fan an “Affliction.”|
|Last year, Denny Hamlin lost the championship at Homestead. This year, he lost it … at Pocono? In June? What a difference a year makes.|
|Michigan couldn’t come at a better time.|
|Beginning to look like Greg Biffle with his up-and-down finishes.|
|12||Tony Stewart||48||T – 10|
|Note to Smoke: It is time to start picking up the pace.|
|How long before Bowyer dumps Kyle Busch to fit in with the rest of the RCR group?|
|Kahne has to be wondering how much longer it will be before he gets to hang out with the cool kids.|
|15||Juan Pablo Montoya||54||NR|
|After a call from his lawyer, we’ve decided to graciously let Mr. Montoya back into the top 15. Hope there are no hard feelings?|
|Dropped Out: Brad Keselowski (12), David Ragan (14).|
|Others Receiving Votes: Martin Truex, Jr. (33), Brad Keselowski (29), David Ragan (28), Joey Logano (18), A.J. Allmendinger (12), Regan Smith (12), Mark Martin (12), Paul Menard (11), David Reutimann (11), Marcos Ambrose (6), Brian Vickers (1), Landon Cassill (1).|
|Writer Voters Include: Phillip Allaway, Bryan Keith, Tom Bowles, Tony Lumbis, Mike Neff and Garrett Horton. (No Vito Pugliese this week)|
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Recent articles from Mike Neff:
Thinkin' Out Loud – The Off Week Season Review
Special Winter Sprint Car Series set for January debut at Cocopah Speedway
Beyond the Cockpit with Ben Rhodes
Kroger 250 postponed until Sunday afternoon
Denny Hamlin out of the car for the race at Auto Club Speedway
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!