Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 3M Performance 400 at Michigan

Four wide-open grooves of racing at Michigan gave the drivers a lot of options Sunday – giving the faster cars a great chance to work their way forward. But for Denny Hamlin and Kasey Kahne, the only racing line they were able to handle was the one that led straight to the garage. Both saw their engines go up in smoke well before 400 miles were complete; and as a result, they slid multiple spots in the points and in our latest Power Rankings chart.

On the flip side, David Ragan and Greg Biffle rode strong finishes in their Fords to big jumps in the voting done by our writers. Just how far did they go up the ladder this week? And was Carl Edwards‘s second win in three races enough to finally knock Kyle Busch off his perch at the top of our list? To see if your favorite driver kept his ranking intact after 400 miles in the Irish Hills, check out the latest results of our weekly Power Rankings poll.

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.

Rank Driver (First-Place Votes) Votes Last Week
1 Kyle Busch (7) 192 1
Both Michael Phelps and Kyle Busch are 23 years old, and both have eight victories this season. What’s the difference between them, you ask? Simple: America loves Phelps.
2 Carl Edwards (1) 187 2
His backflip landings this weekend were about as controlled as the one Chinese gymnast who face planted on the vault, but still finished in the medals. Could be a forebearer of things to come.
3 Jimmie Johnson (2) 179 3
Probably didn’t get the nicest phone call from Jeff Gordon on Monday.
4 Tony Stewart 167 4
Everyone’s so focused on Stewart’s new team, no one realizes he’s positioning himself to try and waltz out of Gibbs with a third title.
5 Kevin Harvick 137 6
Trying to look like he’ll contend for the title, but RCR’s poor performance on intermediates should quickly put the kibosh on that.
6 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 127 5
Tony Eury Jr. is looking to sabotage a very strong season on a weekly basis.
7 Greg Biffle 125 11
To a point now where weekends with no bad luck just mean the Biff finishes behind Busch and Edwards.
8 Matt Kenseth 124 8
When top-five finishes put you on suicide watch, you know you’re not happy being Roush’s number two.
9 David Ragan 110 14
Sure, he runs well on an intermediate track – but let’s see him finish better than his 29th-place career average at Bristol.
10 Jeff Gordon 96 9
Gordon said he’s kind of glad that they’re in the position that they’re in for the Chase, because now they can just go flat out and race for it. We guess that means he’ll drive right into the side of Junior this weekend.
11 Jeff Burton 96 12
If it wasn’t for his early cushion, Burton would be racing himself right out of the Chase.
T-12 Kasey Kahne 86 7
Quote from the engine in Kahne’s No. 9 Dodge this past weekend at Michigan: “For all you do, this dud’s for you.”
T-12 Denny Hamlin 86 10
Hey Denny, would you like some cheese with that whine?
14 Martin Truex Jr. 66 13
Not moving up fast enough to make the Chase, but still looking like a good candidate for the 13th spot.
15 Brian Vickers 59 NR
Still has an outside shot at making the Chase; and for some odd reason, we have a feeling he’s going to make it. Maybe that’s all related to Hamlin’s bad luck.
Dropped Out: Clint Bowyer (15)
Also Receiving Votes: Jamie McMurray (58), Elliott Sadler (55), Mark Martin (35), Clint Bowyer (27), Ryan Newman (25), AJ Allmendinger (18), Marcos Ambrose (17), Juan Pablo Montoya (11), Bobby Labonte (7), Scott Riggs (4), Travis Kvapil (4), Kurt Busch (2)
Who Voted: Ren Jonsin, Tom Bowles, Cami Starr, Mike Neff, Kim DeHaven, Tony Lumbis, Matt Taliaferro, Vito Pugliese, Bryan Davis Keith and Doug Turnbull


About the author

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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