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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 Ford 400 at Homestead

After 36 points-paying events, nine months, and 14,493 miles of racing, the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season is finally in the books. When the smoke cleared, it was Jimmie Johnson winning his third consecutive championship, tying Cale Yarborough as the only drivers in history to accomplish that feat. Behind him, Carl Edwards finished second but won the most trophies, with a total of nine checkered flags captured throughout the year. In contrast, Jeff Gordon snapped his streak of at least one win per season at 14, while Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick were some of the other notables who got shut out of victory lane.

However, none of those drivers mentioned got left out of our final Power Rankings poll of the season. As you might expect, Johnson was unanimously voted number one on our list; but where did the other drivers mentioned wind up? Read on to see if your wheelman shone in the Florida sun or got sand kicked in his face in the final edition of our 2008 Power Rankings.

RankDriver (First Place Votes)VotesLast Week
1Jimmie Johnson (10)2001
Let’s see… he’s now won three consecutive titles, and missed out on two others by a combined point total of 98. He’s also got 40 wins at 33 years old. But yeah, let’s not consider him one of the best ever yet.
2Carl Edwards1902
Won the most races in Sprint Cup and finished second – and also finished second in the Nationwide Series. Should’ve hopped in the No. 99 truck this year and gunned for Johnny Benson to go for the trifecta…
3Kevin Harvick1663
Fourth in points small consolation for that zero in the win column.
4Greg Biffle1544
Unless Bobby Labonte decides to try for a Truck Series title, Biffle’s still the biggest threat to win the championship in all three major series.
5Jeff Gordon1506
A few years back, 100 wins for Gordon seemed like a given. Now, we wonder if he’s stuck at 81 for good.
6Clint Bowyer13313
Hmmm. Back-to-back top-five seasons, won a race and the Nationwide Series championship – but Bowyer’s the one who gets to qualify on time for the first two months next year.
7Denny Hamlin115T-10
Vito Pugliese from Grand Rapids, Mich. writes, “Hey FedEx, can you put together some commercials next year that are mildly amusing?”
8Matt Kenseth113T-10
May be just tired of losing enough to voluntarily decide to be the team that Roush Fenway eliminates next year.
9Jeff Burton1075
The guy that will sixth place you to death finishes sixth in points. Appropriate.
10Kyle Busch1067
Even the 1991 Buffalo Bills think that was a pretty sorry effort in the Chase.
T-11Jamie McMurray105T-8
Saved his job for another year; now, let’s see if he can actually do it all season long.
T-11Tony Stewart10515
With a testing ban for 2009 and a new team, it’s a good thing Stewart got that gift at Talladega from NASCAR. That may be the last time we’ll see Smoke in victory lane for a while; but it won’t be the last time you see him standing on the window ledge hollering.
13David Ragan98T-8
Top candidate to get his first career win in 2009… and his second… and maybe his third.
14Dale Earnhardt Jr.67T-10
Wins a race, runs strong, makes the Chase – and everybody is still calling him a slacker. Funny; Junior still won more races than two of his three teammates combined. So there.
15Casey Mears65NR
Finished the season strong, but will he return to the ranks of the average at RCR?
Dropped Out: Kurt Busch (14)
Also Receiving Votes: AJ Allmendinger (41), Kasey Kahne (38), Martin Truex Jr. (35), David Reutimann (24), Kurt Busch (23), Mark Martin (16), Travis Kvapil (12), Bobby Labonte (7), Elliott Sadler (5), Ryan Newman (5), Scott Riggs (5), Bill Elliott (3), Juan Pablo Montoya (3), Paul Menard (3), Brad Keselowski (3), Brian Vickers (2), Reed Sorenson (1)
Who Voted: Ren Jonsin, Tom Bowles, Cami Starr, Mike Neff, Kim DeHaven, Tony Lumbis, Matt Taliaferro, Vito Pugliese, Bryan Davis Keith and Doug Turnbull