Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday September 19, 2012
Between the Stewart butt grab and the Gordon mustache, you might have forgotten that there was an actual race with actual points for the actual Chase going on. Groundbreaking stuff, right? But, yes, there was a 400-mile postseason kickoff event, one that Brad Keselowski won to take control of the point lead. Yet Jimmie Johnson was right behind him, making sure he wasn't forgotten either. Heck, he almost won the race himself and sits second in points! Title number six is still very much a possibility.
With 172 laps led, J.J. made a convincing case to still stay No. 1 in our poll. But was the Keselowski win finally enough to knock Five-Time off the top spot? Continue reading to find out:
How The Rankings Are Calculated: Frontstretch does our power rankings somewhat similar to how the Associated Press does them for basketball or football -- our expert stable of NASCAR writers, both on staff and from other major publications will vote for the Top 20 on a 20-19-18-17-16-15... 3-2-1 basis, giving 20 points to their first place driver, 19 for their second, and so on. In the end, Summer Bedgood calculates the points, adds some funny one-liners, and ... here you go!
|FRONTSTRETCH TOP 15 POWER RANKINGS: SEPTEMBER 19th|
|Rank||Driver (First Place Votes)||Votes||Last Week|
|1||Brad Keselowski (4)||137||3|
|Looks like Brad and company may be the first team that is not a teammate nor is intimidated by the No. 48 running against Johnson in the Chase. This could get really good. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com|
|2||Jimmie Johnson (3)||136||1|
|J.J.'s understandably upset about the blending issue (borderline, but Brad got the benefit of the doubt with no lines on the track). However, he'll need to focus in order to defeat Keselowski this week. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com|
|3||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||117||6|
|Junior continues to make chicken salad out of chicken poop. If he can string together a couple of wins at some point, he just might make Johnson have to work for number six. Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com|
|Kasey Kahne has been quietly consistent this season, and he's fitting in quite nicely with Hendrick Motorsports. I don't think he'll have much say in the championship, but when all is said and done the stats point to a great first year with HMS. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com|
|New Chase, new crew chief, same fuel mileage problems. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com|
|Before the race, Stewart grabbed a handful of DeLana Harvick's behind. Apparently "Sneaky Ass Grabber," as Harvick calls him, grabbed some good luck as he fought back from a lap down early and finished sixth. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com|
|Perhaps if Clint would have whined a bit more this weekend, he could have won two in a row. Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com|
|8||Martin Truex, Jr.||81||10|
|Was able to get into the top 10 by the finish, but had an off-day Sunday. However, if ninth is an off-day for Truex now, then good things may be at hand as the Chase moves forward. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com|
|Losing the points lead after the points reset may have proven to be the demise of Biffle. A rough start at Chicago didn't kill his chances, but he can't have another race like this. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com|
|The conspiracy theories will only grow after parts fell off the lame duck driver's machine. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com|
|A good teammate would have given up a spot for the team owner. It is OK, though he signed a new contract... Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com|
|Kyle definitely made me eat my words on Sunday. He ran excellently all day, but since it's the Chase, he toiled in anonymity. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com|
|Hey remember when Gordon was trying to make it in the Chase and everyone said that he was a favorite to win the championship? Yeah, me neither. Looks like the same No. 24 team that was snake bitten the first half of the year -- the reason they had to fight to get into the postseason in the first place. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com|
|Harvick was in a TON of headlines over the past few days ... because Stewart grabbed his wife's butt. Seriously, people, is this what our focus has come to? Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com|
|Logano sits atop the standings of the Lame Duck driver Chase after round one. Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com|
Dropped Out: Mark Martin (15).
|Others Receiving Votes: Mark Martin (34), Sam Hornish, Jr. (33), Paul Menard (27), Carl Edwards (24), Marcos Ambrose (10), Aric Almirola (7), Jeff Burton (5), Kurt Busch (3), Jamie McMurray (1).|
|Who Voted: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com; Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com; Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com; Dustin Long, Athlon Sports; Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com; Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com;Matt Taliaferro, Athlon Sports.|
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