The Frontstretch: NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Fontana by Frontstretch Staff -- Wednesday March 28, 2012

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NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Fontana

Frontstretch Staff · Wednesday March 28, 2012


Frontstretch Power Rankings

Mother Nature just couldn’t seem to make up her mind on Sunday. While the day started off with sunshine and perfect temperatures, it ended with a steady downpour that even the most positive-thinking NASCAR official couldn’t stay optimistic about. That meant the rain brought Tony Stewart what looked to be inevitable for him, anyway at the oval—a victory, his second in five races this season. Clearly the fastest car all day, Stewart beat out the Joe Gibbs Racing pair of Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin who were two of the pre-race favorites.

Was Smoke’s continued strong start, the best of his 14-year Cup career enough to propel him to the top of our rankings? Or did Biffle’s quiet yet consistent run keep him atop the standings? Keep 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 Dreyer calculates the points, adds some funny one-liners, and … here you go!

Rank Driver (First Place Votes) Votes Last Week
1 Tony Stewart (6) 211 Tie – 7
If Stewart doesn’t heat up until summer, will anyone else even have a chance this season? Mike Neff,
2 Greg Biffle (3) 204 1
The new “Mr. Consistency” is still quietly atop the standings, but that famished “win” column is going to need some fuel to keep him there. Summer Dreyer,
3 Kevin Harvick (2) 193 3
Showing well at all different types of tracks, but not overdoing it while clearly building for the postseason. Is this the Jimmie Johnson model at work over at RCR? Tom Bowles,
4 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 175 6
I hate to admit it, but Junior is leading the way for Hendrick so far. Are we living in an alternate universe? Amanda Ebersole,
5 Jimmie Johnson 170 4
Look past “Five Time” at your own peril! Dennis Michelsen,
6 Matt Kenseth 148 2
Suddenly finds himself as the guy with the win but inconsistent finishes otherwise at Roush Fenway Racing. Tony Lumbis,
7 Carl Edwards 14512
Struggling to get a top-5 finish at a track that's his bread and butter? Third-best in points among the three Roush Fenway cars? Where is the real Carl Edwards? Did they trap him inside one of his old Nationwide cars they threw away by mistake? Tom Bowles,
Tie – 8 Denny Hamlin 142 10
Looked like the one to beat until it really mattered. Oh, and it was that way this weekend in Fontana too. Summer Dreyer,
Tie – 8 Kyle Busch 142 Tie – 14
Is it just me, or does the season seem oddly quiet without a Kyle Busch blowup? Though it seems even quieter with his brother’s newfound calm.  Summer Dreyer,
Tie – 8 Martin Truex, Jr. 142 5
My how times have changed when an eighth-place finish causes Truex to lose a place in the standings. Mike Neff,
11 Clint Bowyer 106 9
MWR has impressed me this season and if you do not see the changes and count them as drivers to watch, your loss. AmandaEbersole,
12 Ryan Newman 97 NR
There are worse things in life than playing second fiddle to the defending champion and current hottest driver in the series. Summer Dreyer,
13 Brad Keselowski
90 Tie – 7
One step forward and two steps back for Keselowski with finishes of 32nd, 5th, 32nd, 1st and 18th so far this season. Summer Dreyer,
14 Paul Menard 57 11
Menard is starting to get back to regular form—running mediocre with a multi-million dollar sponsor. Those top-10 runs look to be, once more, nothing but an early season fluke. Summer Dreyer,
15 Mark Martin 55NR
If Mark Martin wants to run such a limited schedule and still be competitive, maybe he should look into the Truck Series. They haven’t run since Daytona, and are just returning this weekend. Then again, he seems to be doing just fine right where he is. Summer Dreyer,
Dropped Out: Jeff Burton (13), Joey Logano (Tie – 14).
Others Receiving Votes: Jeff Burton (38), Kurt Busch (36), A.J. Allmendinger (34), Jeff Gordon (32), Joey Logano (30), Kasey Kahne (23), Juan Pablo Montoya (21), Regan Smith (16), Marcos Ambrose (2), Jamie McMurray (1).
Who Voted: Phil Allaway,; Tom Bowles,; Carolyn Brewster, NASCAR Illustrated; Kelly Crandall,; Summer Dreyer,; Amanda Ebersole,; Tony Lumbis,; Dustin Long, Athlon Sports; Dennis Michelsen,; Mike Neff,; Matt Taliaferro, Athlon Sports.

Contact Summer Dreyer

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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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03/29/2012 12:00 AM

Menard was 19th, ahead of one of his teammates (Burton). Yes, that clearly outweighs three T10s and getting wrecked while in the T10 in a fourth race.