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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Crown Royal 400 at Richmond

Some retro short-track racing in Virginia provided a lot of high-powered action Saturday night, with the end result a record 15 caution flags and a late-race pit strategy that left the standings jumbled all the way up until the checkered flag. That unpredictability factored right into our own Power Rankings this week, as 14 out of the 15 positions changed hands after a number of gutsy performances.

Among the adjustments from our experts are a new, surprising driver in the top spot – along with several staples of the top 15 falling out in what’s been a season of parity thus far. And which struggling Daytona 500 champ is slumping so badly, he’s down to just one top-20 vote? Read on to find out, along with discovering where your driver was toasted in our Power Rankings following the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond.

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
1Tony Stewart (3)1673
Hard to throw a temper tantrum when both your cars have scored more points the last five races than anyone else.
2Jeff Gordon (3)1642
Arthritis? Really? It just seems like just yesterday he was cruising around in stone-washed jeans as a rookie, with that gorgeous mullet and prepubescent mustache to boot.
3Kurt Busch1601
Already has just 1/3 of the wins his younger brother has. Next week, it could very well be ¼ – and his brother’s making fun of his driving style, too. Maybe they’ll wreck each other at the All-Star Race again… that was fun.
4Kyle Busch (2)1598
Taking a decidedly different approach to the Chase pursuit than the No. 48. Kyle Busch = The Anti-Johnson.
5Jimmie Johnson1324
The No. 48 entering a springtime slump? Now THAT’s the Jimmie Johnson we know and love.
6Jeff Burton1209
Talk all you want about Clint Bowyer – Burton is still the leader at RCR and the model of consistency.
7Denny Hamlin1176
Apparently, Tony Eury Jr. snuck over to the No. 11 pit before that fateful stop on Saturday night.
8Mark Martin (1)11510
19th to fifth in 60 laps after getting spun, clipped and T-boned. Mike Joy likes to give drivers really bad nicknames, so here’s ours: Mark “Man’s Game” Martin.
9Ryan Newman10913
When Newman’s good at a short track, you KNOW his team is clicking on all cylinders.
10Carl Edwards1015
Could at least take pride in the fact he finished ahead of Dale Jr. Oh, wait…
11Greg Biffle877
Wonder how long until the No. 16 bunch airbrushes some braces to the grille of that 3M Ford Fusion? Here’s another idea: why don’t they strap orthodontic headgear onto Biff’s helmet.
12Clint Bowyer7411
May be trying to be Burton – but he’s suddenly not there yet.
13Juan Pablo Montoya64NR
Talk smack all you want about the Earnhardt-Ganassi-Sabates organization, but this team could make the Chase and shock everyone.
14Matt Kenseth58T-15
He may be in the Chase right now, but the way this year started off, he’s got to be disappointed with how things are on the verge of falling apart.
15Marcos Ambrose57NR
Kurt Busch entered Richmond with the series points lead, Kyle Busch won the race – but Bush’s Baked Beans had themselves a nice finish as well.
Dropped Out: David Reutimann (12), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (14), Brad Keselowski (T-15).
Also Receiving Votes: David Reutimann (53), Brian Vickers (32), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (26), Sam Hornish Jr. (24), Kasey Kahne (19), Jamie McMurray (17), Casey Mears (16), Joey Logano (6), Martin Truex Jr. (5), Reed Sorenson (4), Brad Keselowski (3), Kevin Harvick (1)
Who Voted: Thomas Bowles, Ren Jonsin, Mike Neff, Tony Lumbis, Matt Taliaferro, Vito Pugliese, Bryan Davis Keith, Phillip Allaway and Kurt Smith


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