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The wide open racing surface of Michigan International Speedway gave the drivers plenty of options this past weekend but at the end it came down to who got their car off of pit road the fastest during the last pit stop of the day that won the race. Denny Hamlin’s crew was the best on the “money stop” which put him in the number one spot for the final restart of the race. After the rag flew Hamlin used the clean air to hold off the assault of Matt Kenseth to take his first win of the season. Jimmie Johnson had an unfortunate spin at the beginning of the race which resulted in damage to his sway bar that ultimately put him two laps down and ruined his entire day, dropping him from second in the point standings. While Johnson was having a bad day Carl Edwards rebounded from a bad day at Pocono the week before to a fifth place finish to reassert his hold on the top spot in the point standings.
Was Hamlin’s first win of the season enough to vault him into the top spot in the Power Rankings? Did Dale Earnhardt Jr’s brush with the wall brush him off of the top spot in the poll? How far up the ranks did Kyle Busch climb after posting another top five finish? Read this week’s Top 15 to find out if your favorite driver used all four lanes to pass the pack on his way to the top spot in the poll or if they lost the handle and slid to the bottom of the stack.
|FRONTSTRETCH TOP 15 POWER RANKINGS: JUNE 22nd|
|Rank||Driver (First Place Votes)||Votes||Last Week|
|1||Carl Edwards (4)||118||2|
|Will the rumors of bolting Roush-Fenway for Joe Gibbs Racing hurt his late season performance?|
|He don’t need no stinking heavy oil pan.|
|3||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||98||1|
|Wonder if Junior made a call to GoDaddy headquarters after their driver ran him into the wall?|
|The “Silent Assasin” continues his quiet march toward the top of the standings.|
|Mr. “Where Did He Come From?” was “Mr. Where Did He Go?” this weekend.|
|Even with a forgettable day at Michigan, the consistency has been strong; he “only” has four wins in the past 45 races.|
|Somebody still needs to give Kurt a hug.|
|While he broke the ice for 2011, don’t you get the feeling Hamlin’s still not really ready to compete for the title this season?|
|Two wins + wild card = summer of coasting for the No. 24.|
|You’ve got to wonder if all of the talk of Danica, Zipadelli and the Army sponsorship status isn’t wearing on Newman.|
|So much for that Red Bull leverage to get extra money in the contract for next year.|
|T – 12||Greg Biffle||60||10|
|Another Bifflesque performance this week: lead a ton of laps and finish 15th.|
|T – 12||Tony Stewart||60||12|
|All of this Zipadelli talk means distractions galore Smoke this Summer.|
|A win at Infineon would not be as big of a surprise as some people might think.|
|Might want to send a little note to the other garage this week and let the driver of the No. 88 know he didn’t do it on purpose.|
|Dropped Out: Kasey Kahne (14), Juan Pablo Montoya (15).|
|Others Receiving Votes: A.J. Allmendinger (23), Kasey Kahne (21), Brian Vickers (20), Joey Logano (13), Trevor Bayne (12), David Ragan (11), Martin Truex, Jr. (7), Juan Pablo Montoya (6), Landon Cassill (6), Brad Keselowski (4), Marcos Ambrose (1), Regan Smith (1).|
|Writer Voters Include: Phillip Allaway, Bryan Keith, Tom Bowles, Tony Lumbis, Vito Pugliese, Mike Neff and Garrett Horton.|
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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!