Racing at the Brickyard is not always the most exciting, but the history and tradition of the place always seem to shine through when people start to have doubts. Most of our Power Rankings leaders used the big stage of Indianapolis to come up with strong finishes; but for those who fell short, their problems could prove costly as the summer stretch towards the Chase heats up. Joe Gibbs Racing in particular was the team who struggled the most, leaving the race with two drivers spending time in the garage: Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch.
Busch’s bout with the wall proved the most costly, sending him tumbling outside the top 12. But was it enough to send him out of our Power Rankings? Read this week’s edition to find out which drivers made it through the ultra flat corners of the Brickyard to move up the ladder… and which ones couldn’t make it past Gasoline Alley as they slid right off the list.
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.
|FRONTSTRETCH TOP-15 POWER RANKINGS: JULY 29, 2009|
|Rank||Driver (First-Place Votes)||Votes||Last Week|
|1||Tony Stewart (6)||195||1|
|What did they do with the real Tony? Who’s this lookalike that smiles all the time?|
|2||Jimmie Johnson (4)||194||2|
|Ramping it up a little early for the Chase, but seems like this team has a chip on their shoulder this year.|
|Remarkably average on a weekend when even Dale Earnhardt Jr. looked racy in Hendrick stuff.|
|We haven’t seen a 50-year-old run that great at Indy since the days of AJ Foyt. Wonder who’s got a better fitness regimen.|
|5||Juan Pablo Montoya||142||7|
|Montoya swore on his wife and children that he didn’t speed. But if he swore on the name of Brian France… well… maybe we would have seen that call reversed.|
|Wasn’t he supposed to be in a Toyota by now?|
|Even Jeremy Mayfield is glad he doesn’t have Hamlin’s luck.|
|Cousin Carl is halfway to a winless season. Is that even remotely a possibility?|
|Says he missed Johnson’s apology because he was on the Outer Banks last week. Then why is he still pale? Answer: Because he’s always pale.|
|Learning how to speak Austrian this week… specifically the words, “When is my contract getting renewed?”|
|He hasn’t run this well since 2003. Anyone noticing?|
|One step from the sacred ground of the Chase. But will Michael Waltrip Racing know the right moves to get the Beak flying over that hump?|
|Having a new liquor sponsor could prove the perfect motivation for the five-time Chaser heading into the Dog Days of August.|
|When you’re having the crappy year that Biffle is having, do you really care if you run out of gas?|
|Were it not for the engine change, he very well could have been up where the real racing was going on.|
|Dropped Out: Clint Bowyer (12), Kyle Busch (13), Marcos Ambrose (14)|
|Also Receiving Votes: Clint Bowyer (52), Marcos Ambrose (51), Kyle Busch (44), Jeff Burton (14), AJ Allmendinger (12), Kevin Harvick (11), Elliott Sadler (10), Jamie McMurray (7), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (7), Sam Hornish Jr. (3)|
|Who Voted: Thomas Bowles, Ren Jonsin, Mike Neff, Tony Lumbis, Doug Turnbull, Matt Taliaferro, Vito Pugliese, Bryan Davis Keith, Phil Allaway and Kurt Smith|
About the author
What is it that Mike Neff doesn’t do? The writer, radio contributor and racetrack announcer coordinates the site’s local short track coverage, hitting up Saturday Night Specials across the country while tracking the sport’s future racing stars. The writer for our signature Cup post-race column, Thinkin’ Out Loud (Mondays) also sits down with Cup crew chiefs to talk shop every Friday with Tech Talk. Mike announces several shows each year for the Good Guys Rod and Custom Association. He also pops up everywhere from PRN Pit Reporters and the Press Box with Alan Smothers to SIRIUS XM Radio. He has announced at tracks all over the Southeast, starting at Millbridge Speedway. He's also announced at East Lincoln Speedway, Concord Speedway, Tri-County Speedway, Caraway Speedway, and Charlotte Motor Speedway.
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