Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday July 20, 2011
New Hampshire Motor Speedway held a Sprint Cup race and a chess match broke out. Trust us, there were more strategies in play during the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 than in a Bobby Fischer v. Boris Spassky World Championship. Teams were taking two tires, four tires, fuel only, stretching fuel, short-pitting and consulting Ouija boards in an effort to take the trophy on Sunday, but Ryan Newman and his crew chief Tony Gibson called all the right shots to score their first win of the season just ahead of their teammate and owner Tony Stewart. Jimmie Johnson overcame a pit road blunder, fuel deficiency and some general negativism from his crew chief to pull out a top-5 finish while Kyle Busch suffered a blown right front tire early. He came home 77 laps down, dropping to fifth in the series points while losing his grip on the power rankings.
Ahead of him, Carl Edwards regained the point lead; will that be enough to push him to the top of our poll? How much will Kyle Busch have to pay in the rankings for his 36th-place finish? And is Joey Logano going to move even further up in the poll after his strong, fourth-place run? Read this week’s Top 15 Power Rankings and see if your driver was eating lobster or wondering why his tire bead melted in Loudon.
|FRONTSTRETCH TOP 15 POWER RANKINGS: JULY 20th|
|Rank||Driver (First Place Votes)||Votes||Last Week|
|1||Carl Edwards (2)||114||2|
|He needs to re-sign with Roush now. Otherwise, he ain’t gonna win the title.|
|2||Kyle Busch (2)||110||1|
|To have any hope of unseating Johnson, he can’t afford that type of day at Loudon come September.|
|3||Jimmie Johnson (2)||100||6|
|Getting all the drama out of the way now so his sixth straight title can be a bit more relaxing than the other five.|
|The original Four-Time is having his best season in years; too bad his teammate is still driving that No. 48.|
|Things are looking up for Busch when a 10th-place finish is a disappointment for the team.|
|Believe it or not, Newman has never had a top-5 points finish. But with the way he has run lately, that could change this year.|
|If Kevin Harvick needs a vacation, his crew needs a full-year sabbatical after listening to those complaints on the radio.|
|Looked like another quiet Kenseth weekend until we looked up and realized he finished 20th.|
|9||Denny Hamlin||62||T – 10|
|That was a championship caliber effort to come home third.|
|Happy with a second-place finish? OK, who are you and what did you do with the real Tony?|
|Don’t forget, he almost won at the Brickyard a couple of years ago – even as a “lame duck,” he’s a darkhorse next Sunday.|
|T – 12||David Ragan||56||8|
|Want your driver to run well? Start rumors that you are looking to replace him.|
|T – 12||Joey Logano||56||T – 10|
|See David Ragan.|
|So much for Loudon giving Bowyer a good chance to turn things around.|
|Quietly putting together a comeback season behind the wheel at RPM.|
|Dropped Out: Brad Keselowski (12).|
|Others Receiving Votes: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (26), David Reutimann (26), Greg Biffle (18), Martin Truex, Jr. (17), Bobby Labonte (16), Brad Keselowski (15), A.J. Allmendinger (15), Paul Menard (8), Juan Pablo Montoya (6), Regan Smith (4), Jeff Burton (3), Landon Cassill (1), J.J. Yeley (1).|
|Writer Voters Include: Phillip Allaway, Tom Bowles, Bryan Keith, Tony Lumbis, Vito Pugliese, Mike Neff and Garrett Horton.|
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