The Frontstretch: NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Martinsville II by Frontstretch Staff -- Wednesday October 31, 2012

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NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Martinsville II

Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday October 31, 2012


Frontstretch Power Rankings
Happy Halloween! How many drivers do you think are "scared" after last weekend's crazy race at Martinsville? I can tell you Jimmie Johnson is nothing but confident with three races left, though the margin between he and Brad Keselowski should at least make him slightly nervous. The sixth-place result from the No. 2 team, a career best from their driver leaves the two-time Chaser within striking distance.
Meanwhile, Denny Hamlin is dressed up as an "underdog," all but out of this championship after a mechanical failure ruined an already frustrating day for the No. 11 team. Barring a miracle, he'll leave Homestead emptyhanded to make his Chase record a disappointing 0-for-7.
How far did Hamlin fall in our rankings this week? And who will our writers have at the top in such a tight race -- Johnson or Keselowski? 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!

Rank Driver (First Place Votes) Votes Last Week
1 Jimmie Johnson (7)  159 1
Mission accomplished. Kelly Crandall,
2 Brad Keselowski (1)151 2
Has performed admirably over the past couple of weeks. However, if the No. 2 team is going to take the championship, they have to do much more than survive once the Chase enters its stretch run. Tony Lumbis,
3 Clint Bowyer 141 4
5-Hour Energy pill wore off after only three hours at Martinsville. Would have loved to see this guy pull the upset, though because there's no doubt a man with nothing to lose would have made the final three races real interesting. Tom Bowles,
4 Kasey Kahne 134 T - 5
Kasey seemed like the fourth Hendrick car on Sunday, regardless of the excellent finish he ultimately had. Phil Allaway,
5 Jeff Gordon124 8
Texas is a "checkers or wreckers" type track for Gordon, which is exciting. But neither of these scenarios will make him relevant in this championship again. Summer Bedgood,
6 Denny Hamlin108 3
Hamlin's 2012 Chase chance shorted out at Martinsville. Tony Lumbis,
7 Matt Kenseth101T - 5
Weird Chase quirk: five of Kenseth's seven Chase finishes have been first or 14th. The other two? 18th and 35th. If that's not the definition of inconsistency, well, I'm not quite sure what is. Tom Bowles,
8 Kyle Busch98 12
I thought non-Chaser Kyle Busch would be extremely dangerous to Jimmie Johnson in the final laps of Martinsville. After all, that chrome horn isn't difficult to use. Yet while Busch was able to race Johnson aggressively... he stayed clean. Yes, he ultimately fell short, but the racing had no impact on Johnson's Chase. A step in the right direction? I'd say so. Summer Bedgood,
9 Greg Biffle9610
You probably did a "double take" looking at the results. Yes, The Biff did have a top-10 finish at Martinsville. Tony Lumbis,
10 Martin Truex, Jr.85 7
Despite a bad penalty, losing a lap for changing lanes on a Martinsville restart Truex could still be in line for a career year. There's only one thing missing from 2012 to make those two words a reality: Sprint Cup win. Tom Bowles,
11 Tony Stewart 70 9
Where there's Smoke, there's fire as Stewart showed during the live TV broadcast of practice this weekend. Too bad that was the only thing memorable about Stewart at Martinsville. Kelly Crandall,
12 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 66 15
Had a decent comeback Sunday, but he's probably not happy with the finish. Phil Allaway,
13 Brian Vickers 52 NR
Vickers may have earned a full-time ride in the eyes of many fans, and I bet you MWR would agree. That's why he's sticking around once that old fart... er, I mean, veteran... fully retires from that No. 55 car. Summer Bedgood,
14 Paul Menard 47 14
With "Slugger" back in place and two 1.5-mile ovals left on the schedule, Menard's looking to hit a home run of an upset over the season's last three weeks. And who would have guessed that at this point, out of RCR's three-driver stable he'd be the one with the best chance to get to Victory Lane? Tom Bowles,
15 Ryan Newman 43NR
Needed the first 10 cars to be taken out in a wreck this time if he was going to take home the checkers at the paperclip-shaped track. Tony Lumbis,
Dropped Out: Carl Edwards (13th), Kevin Harvick (11th). 
Others Receiving Votes: Aric Almirola (41), Kevin Harvick (38), Carl Edwards (35), Joey Logano (27), Mark Martin (16), Bobby Labonte (11), Jeff Burton (11), Kurt Busch (11), Regan Smith (5), Landon Cassill (3), Marcos Ambrose (3), Sam Hornish, Jr. (3), Jamie McMurray (1). 
Who Voted: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.comSummer Bedgood,; Carolyn Brewster, NASCAR Illustrated; Tom Bowles,; Kelly Crandall,; Dustin Long, Athlon Sports; Tony Lumbis,; Matt Taliaferro, Athlon Sports.

Contact Summer Bedgood

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Did You Notice? … Breaking Down A Sprint Cup Season Eight Races In
Beyond the Cockpit: Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. on Growing Up Racing and Owner Loyalties
The Frontstretch Five: Flaws Exposed In the New Chase So Far
NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Top 15 After Darlington
NASCAR Mailbox: Past Winners Aren’t Winning …. Yet
Open Wheel Wednesday: How Can IndyCar Stand Out?


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10/31/2012 10:33 AM

On the long runs in Sunday’s race which Hendrix car was moving forward … thought it was the 5

11/01/2012 07:01 PM

Jerry I agree. Summer is always so negative when it comes to Kasey Kahne. You can tell by what she writes.