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Frontstretch Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 Aaron’s 499

How The Rankings Are Calculated: Frontstretch does their power rankings somewhat similar to how the Associated Press does them for basketball or football — writers on our staff 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, Mike Neff calculates the points, adds some funny one liners, and…voila! You have the power rankings from our dedicated staff.

Talladega was clearly not the parade that everyone saw last fall when the new car design hit the superspeedway for the very first time. There were 52 lead changes recorded at the start/finish line Sunday, and a multitude more on the track as the Car of Tomorrow seemed to come into its own. As usual, large wrecks did play a role in who finished and who didn’t, while the art of the draft was key to drivers maintaining success up front.

But when push does come to shove, a lot of how Talladega turns out is pretty much a crapshoot more than anything else. So, while putting together the Top 15 this week, some staff voters gave drivers credit for their efforts on the plate track… while others seemed to discount the luck involved in finishing up front.

Read on to see if you agree or disagree with their latest choices in the Frontstretch Power Rankings below.

RankDriver (First Place Votes)PointsLast Week
1Jeff Burton (1)1661
Survived the Talladega carnage for a Top 12 finish to retain the points lead.
2Kyle Busch (4)1654
The most talented driver in NASCAR across the board. Don’t believe it? Check the scoreboards.
3Denny Hamlin (2)1596
Could have pushed Ms. Daisy to the front on Sunday.
4Dale Earnhardt, Jr.1454
At some point, not winning is going to bother Junior. Trust us…it will.
5Jimmie Johnson1423
A rare moment for Johnson at Talladega; he didn’t win OR cause a wreck!
6Clint Bowyer1328
Seventh in points, yet third on his own team; who said life was fair?
7Tony Stewart (1)1317
Should’ve been carrying a Home Depot tape measure to measure that spot he went for in the late stages of the race.
7Carl Edwards (1)1312
Just happy to still be walking after getting up close and personal with Kevin Lepage.
9Kevin Harvick929
Starting to look like the Harvick of old as of late; unfortunately for him, that is not a good thing.
10Juan Pablo Montoya8413
New key found to Montoya’s success; pair him up with a crew chief with an accent, so neither one can understand each other!
11Greg Biffle8010
Biffle hates restrictor plates, but he’d better learn to like them; you’ll never win a championship if you can’t finish four races on the schedule.
12Jeff Gordon7511
A Pepsi paint scheme can’t even get him to Victory Lane; at this point, what will?
13Ryan Newman7015
If only Daytona and Talladega came 36 times a year…
14David Ragan58NR
The sophomore seems more comfortable each week with the guidance of crew chief Jimmy Fennig.
15Brian Vickers43NR
From borderline qualifier to Chase contender, all in just 12 short months!

Falling Out Of The Rankings:
Matt Kenseth (12)
Martin Truex, Jr. (14)

Also Receiving Votes:
David Gilliland (39)
Matt Kenseth (31)
Casey Mears (30)
Martin Truex, Jr. (26)
Kasey Kahne (24)
Paul Menard (16)
Jamie McMurray (14)
Mark Martin (11)
Travis Kvapil (11)
Kurt Busch (8)
Bobby Labonte (6)
Robby Gordon (1)

Writers Voting This Week: Tom Bowles, Cami Starr, Mike Neff, Tony Lumbis, Matt Taliaferro and Bryan Keith.

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About Mike Neff

Mike Neff
What is it that Mike Neff doesn’t do? The writer, radio contributor and racetrack announcer coordinates the site’s local short track coverage, hitting up Saturday Night Specials across the country while tracking the sport’s future racing stars. The writer for our signature Cup post-race column, Thinkin’ Out Loud (Mondays) also sits down with Cup crew chiefs to talk shop every Friday with Tech Talk. Mike announces several shows each year for the Good Guys Rod and Custom Association. He also pops up everywhere from PRN Pit Reporters and the Press Box with Alan Smothers to SIRIUS XM Radio. He has announced at tracks all over the Southeast, starting at Millbridge Speedway. He's also announced at East Lincoln Speedway, Concord Speedway, Tri-County Speedway, Caraway Speedway, and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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