NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 TUMS QuikPak 500 at Martinsville

The oldest track on the circuit had its usual beating and banging this weekend; but when the smoke from Martinsville cleared, there was one warrior who stood head and shoulders above everyone else. As a result, the Chase picture appears more focused than ever, as Jimmie Johnson’s dominant performance has most everyone believing he’s got the title all but sewn up. There are several others still with a chance to win it all, but it’s going to take some trouble out of the No. 48 team in order to make their dreams come true.

If you’re still doubting Johnson’s championship future, well, let’s put it this way: our writers are convinced. Johnson pulled off the sweep this week in the Power Rankings, garnering all 10 first-place votes. But what about the big shifts behind him? Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Burton and Tony Stewart are just some of the Chasers who had major jumps up and down the ladder this week. Check our rankings to see if your driver kept the short-track fenders on or finished without his hood in this week’s Power Rankings.

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 the 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 Jimmie Johnson (10) 200 1
OK, follow us here a minute. Johnson’s got two finishes outside the top 10 in the last four years from this stretch of the season forward. Can someone start engraving his name on the trophy already?
2 Greg Biffle 178 3
Needs to be closer than 149 points heading into his major advantage at Homestead.
3 Carl Edwards 171 4
The best positioned to catch Johnson over the next four weeks… and that’s not saying much.
4 Jeff Burton 166 2
Just like in ’06, Martinsville is where the title Chase all unraveled for Burton.
5 Jeff Gordon 155 7
A fourth-place finish at Martinsville with four races left means going winless is a real possibility.
6 Kevin Harvick 148 5
Surprisingly little fanfare this week, to the point he might need to wrestle a bear in Atlanta to get some attention.
7 Clint Bowyer 144 8
Like a “B” student that can never get an “A,” Bowyer keeps throwing up those top-12 finishes to the tune of good… but not good enough.
8 Tony Stewart 114 6
Starting to look like he’s throwing in the towel for the year.
9 Matt Kenseth 113 T – 12
Consecutive intermediate tracks could make Kenseth a lot more comfortable about making the stage in New York.
10 David Ragan 112 9
He’s sure come a long way since his “Dart without Feathers” race two years ago at Martinsville.
11 Denny Hamlin 106 14
Martinsville boost hopes to lead to surge into the top 10 in the final standings.
12 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 99 11
Junior drove conservatively enough to have a car he could race with at the end – and for once, it didn’t drop back at the finish.
13 Kyle Busch 67 10
Brother Kurt Busch was asking if he could end his miserable race at Martinsville and call it a day. Well, Kyle feels the same way about the Chase.
14 Casey Mears 48 NR
Has to be making Richard Childress feel pretty smart after the way he’s been running lately.
15 Martin Truex Jr. 44 NR
The potential merger with Petty Enterprises can’t be making Truex feel too good about signing that contract extension.
Dropped Out: Mark Martin (T-12), Kasey Kahne (15)
Also Receiving Votes: Brian Vickers (39), Jamie McMurray (35), Kasey Kahne (30), Mark Martin (24), Bobby Labonte (18), Elliott Sadler (13), AJ Allmendinger (13), Juan Pablo Montoya (11), David Reutimann (10), Paul Menard (10), Ryan Newman (9), Kurt Busch (8), Scott Riggs (7), Bill Elliott (5), Reed Sorenson (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


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Bryan Davis Keith

Let’s see…..has a great race…finishes second….no problems with the car…WALKS past Edwards at the end and may have had a shot at JJ except for all the cautions…and loses a spot in the rankings….did you all eat too many Martinsville hotdogs???? I have a suggestion for next year: how about a panel of fans to go head to head with ya’all to do rankings and see who is better at the end…you professionals could do better this week (except for JJ) with a dartboard and darts.

Bryan Davis Keith

Agree that JR probably should be a little higher. But maybe he needs to string a couple of good runs together before he moves up too far.

Bryan Davis Keith

I agree. For Dale Jr to go down in the rankings after his Martinsville performance, makes no sense. Until you look at the people voting.e.g. Tom Bowles, a true disliker of Dale Jr. He just can’t put his biases aside.

Bryan Davis Keith

That wasn’t Tom, Nelda, that was me. Can’t stand the guy. I ranked him 50th, just after Buckshot Jones and just before this kid I know who drives around town in a piece of crap Honda Civic.

Actually I might put him after Civic kid next week since Civic kid owns his own car and never insisted on 51% of his Mom’s Daewoo Leganza, insisting that it was his birthright at his sister’s urging.

Seriously though. I like Junior just fine. I just said that other stuff because many a Junior fan seems to think that a reasoned response is being a hater so I give the people what they want. I ranked him a very generous 12th up from an equally generous 13th last week. One top five in the past five do not a powerful team make.

Bryan Davis Keith

Hey Nelda,

Just for the record, I had Junior ranked 13th. If he scores a second straight Top 5 finish at Atlanta, he’ll go higher :O) … but one Top 5 in the last five races doesn’t suddenly charge you up the list. Case in point: Jamie McMurray. He was 4th last week and had a problem late in Martinsville … should we have him in the Top 5? To me, the answer is no, because one run in a blue moon shouldn’t override another driver’s long list of consistent performances.

Thanks for writing in!

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