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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 Amp Energy 500 at Talladega

Blown tires, Big Ones, passes below the yellow line… Talladega had it all this fall. No question about it, the race routinely regarded as the biggest wild card of the Chase lived up to all its expectations, with more than half the title contenders caught up in accidents – some of their own making.

But one driver in particular made it through the carnage unscathed; and despite running like he was towing an anchor at the finish, Jimmie Johnson did what he had to do to put a third title firmly within his grasp. It also increased his lead in the Frontstretch Power Rankings, making him a clear favorite to end the year on top.

Behind him, the shuffling was as fast and furious as the Talladega draft – and two drivers got left behind. Read on to see if your driver made the slingshot move towards the front of our list, or if his fortunes were swept up by disaster in this week’s Power Rankings.

P.S. – Voter and Frontstretch Assistant Editor Bryan Davis Keith wanted to make it known that Regan Smith was wronged by NASCAR; as a result, he voted him first in his list this week. It wasn’t enough to get Smith in the top 15… but hey, at least someone tried to give him a trophy!

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.

FRONTSTRETCH TOP-15 POWER RANKINGS: OCTOBER 8th, 2008
RankDriver (First-Place Votes)VotesLast Week
1Jimmie Johnson (8)1941
As Carl Edwards spun out, replays showed the championship trophy popping out of his car and right into Johnson’s lap.
2Greg Biffle1753
Writing a nice little reminder about not bumping in the corners on a 3M Post-It note to stick on Carl’s dash.
3Carl Edwards1732
Triggered the Big One by bump drafting in the middle of the corner. Johnson used to have that same problem; oh well, at least he’s in good company.
4Kevin Harvick1604
Kept his DNF streak alive against the odds. His title hopes? Not so much.
5Jeff Burton1506
Guy finishes fourth and is now less than 100 points out of first. Bet you actually had to look that up, because nobody ever shows him on TV.
6Tony Stewart14311
Easily confused with a jar of pickles in that awful racing suit this weekend.
7Clint Bowyer1338
Having reached his high water mark in the Chase, the intermediate tracks will crush Bowyer’s hopes from here on out.
8Matt Kenseth1255
So much for hiring Kimbo Slice to kick Carl’s ass.
9Jeff Gordon1067
Just having a year where he’s in the wrong place at the wrong time… with the wrong car.
10David Ragan10413
Continues to confound the pundits with his plate-racing skills.
11Dale Earnhardt Jr.1009
Experiment with turbo boost rocket engines in the trunk was not such a good idea after all.
12Denny Hamlin8810
That hit hurt a lot worse than trying to cut his hand off horsing around at the Charlotte tire test.
13Kyle Busch (1)8412
When your best race of the Chase is finishing with a car in pieces, you know your season has quickly turned sour.
14Elliott Sadler42NR
The start/finish line at ‘Dega sure looks a lot better on all four wheels.
15Casey Mears33NR
At least he didn’t dump his teammate this weekend.
Dropped Out: David Reutimann (14), AJ Allmendinger (15)
Also Receiving Votes: Mark Martin (31), Bobby Labonte (31), David Reutimann (30), Regan Smith (1) (27), Paul Menard (25), Kasey Kahne (21), Brian Vickers (16), Martin Truex Jr. (15), Ryan Newman (15), Aric Almirola (14), Kenny Wallace (13), AJ Allmendinger (8), Robby Gordon (7), Kurt Busch (6), Juan Pablo Montoya (6), Travis Kvapil (4), Ken Schrader (4), Scott Riggs (3)
Who Voted: Ren Jonsin, Tom Bowles, Cami Starr, Mike Neff, Kim DeHaven, Tony Lumbis, Matt Taliaferro, Vito Pugliese, Bryan Davis Keith and Doug Turnbull