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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega

The wild card that is restrictor-plate racing at Talladega certainly mixed up our rankings as much as it mixed up the standings. The Big Ones led to big changes for our experts, as multiple drivers received first-place votes and just two of 15 stayed in the same position that they occupied last week. The race ended with a first-time winner in victory lane this weekend… and when the dust settled on this week’s poll, there was a first-time member on our list, too.

Read on to see if your driver survived Sunday’s roller coaster ride, landing firmly in this week’s edition of the Frontstretch Power Rankings.

How The Rankings Are Calculated: Frontstretch does our power rankings somewhat similar to how the Associated Press does them for basketball or football – writers on 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 one batch of Power Rankings to serve to our fans.

RankDriver (First-Place Votes)VotesLast Week
1Kurt Busch (5)1894
With little fanfare and only one victory to date, the blue deuce returns to the top of the standings.
2Jeff Gordon (2)1691
At least Darrell finished more than seven laps in 1983 without wrecking. Might want to rethink the throwback paint scheme next time.
3Tony Stewart (1)1652
Maybe he’s saving that first win for a little later down the schedule at some flat track there in Indiana….
4Jimmie Johnson1643
Had dodged so many wrecks at Talladega, we thought the bank had offered him unlimited ATM withdrawals before finally getting smashed to pieces on lap 179.
5Carl Edwards1537
Forget the backflips; no matter what Edwards does this year or the rest of his career, he will forever be defined by that wreck on Sunday.
6Denny Hamlin1496
Given the race’s “Mr. Nice Guy” Award after helping to push several drivers to the front.
7Greg Biffle12311
Hit or miss on plate tracks, this weekend was a hit for the Biff.
8Kyle Busch1105
Rule #73: Don’t piss off Jeff Burton.
9Jeff Burton10613
Captain Safety is doing his part to prevent blocking from becoming accepted in NASCAR.
10Mark Martin10110
Could not be more appropriate that the champion of poor luck follows up a win with a last-place finish.
11Clint Bowyer878
Continued his streak of no DNFs… but after putt-putting around on the white-flag lap, should it come with an asterisk attached?
12David Reutimann8410
Didn’t beat the boss, didn’t beat Marcos Ambrose; but hey, he didn’t try and tear down the catchfence, either.
13Ryan Newman80NR
“Hey Carl, is that a 12 bolt rear end?”
14Dale Earnhardt Jr.71NR
Can second place at a track he dominates give this team the momentum it needs? Find out Saturday night in the latest edition of “As The Junior Turns…”
T-15Matt Kenseth5814
Just happy he finished right side up on all four tires Sunday.
T-15Brad Keselowski (1)58NR
If it was hard for Keselowski to believe he won a Sprint Cup race… just think how excited he’ll feel when finding out he made the Frontstretch rankings.
Dropped Out: Kasey Kahne (12), Brian Vickers (15)
Also Receiving Votes: Marcos Ambrose (53), Juan Pablo Montoya (44), Brian Vickers (44), Kasey Kahne (38), Kevin Harvick (31), Martin Truex Jr. (9), AJ Allmendinger (7), Jamie McMurray (6), Reed Sorenson (5), Sam Hornish Jr. (3), Bobby Labonte (2), Michael Waltrip (2), David Stremme (2), Joey Logano (2), David Ragan (1), Scott Speed (1)
Who Voted: Thomas Bowles, Ren Jonsin, Mike Neff, Tony Lumbis, Matt Taliaferro, Vito Pugliese, Bryan Davis Keith, Phillip Allaway, Kurt Smith and Danny Peters