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Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 AAA 400 at Dover

The Monster Mile had no mercy for our poll this week, with its slick track and tough tire compound leading to poor finishes for several drivers on last week’s list. But other’s pain was Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin and Juan Pablo Montoya‘s gain, each of whom put together their second straight top-five finish in the Chase while Johnson came home with a dominating victory.

Those results from Dover tightened the numbers, with both the sentimental and odds on favorite for the title now neck-and-neck in this week’s poll. But which one – Johnson or Martin – came out on top? And how far has the regular-season points champ, Tony Stewart, fallen after an awkward incident on Sunday that sent Joey Logano barrel-rolling? See where they and others placed with our experts in the latest 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.

FRONTSTRETCH TOP-15 POWER RANKINGS: SEPTEMBER 30th, 2009
RankDriver (First-Place Votes)VotesLast Week
1Mark Martin (6)1912
What has a better chance of happening: Mark wins the championship this year, or shows up in the GoDaddy.com shower scene with Danica Patrick the next?
2Jimmie Johnson (3)1911
Remember that scene in Predator when Jesse Ventura started mowing down the jungle with that mini-gun? I wonder if Jimmie will start chewing tobacco now, too.
3Juan Pablo Montoya1706
On pace for an average finish of 3.5… and that still isn’t good enough to catch Jimmie. Looks like he’ll just have to go spin him out instead.
4Denny Hamlin1562
Violated the three rules on how NOT to win a championship: #1) Leave your emotions 50 feet outside the track at all times. #2) Get distracted by something you have no business being upset about in the first place and #3) Fail to improve on a track that’s cost you a shot at the title in the past (See: Kyle Petty, 2007). So many of our writers are wound up about this one, we just set a new Power Rankings record for longest comment… and believe me, it could have been another five pages long.
5Jeff Gordon1524
Heading back to the Heartland where he used to be king. Can he capture the magic again to put some heat on his teammates?
6Kurt Busch1508
Pat Tryson claims that he is not leaving Penske because of Kurt Busch. But after hearing his driver’s sarcasm on Sunday, we tend to think otherwise.
7Tony Stewart (1)1435
Apparently, Tony didn’t share the Dover bump-drafting technique with Logano during his exit interview from Gibbs.
8Ryan Newman12511
That’s right, boss; I’m right here behind you. Right where you told me to be….
9Greg Biffle109T – 10
Credited Johnson’s August tire test as the reason he won on Sunday. Johnson fans are calling sour grapes on that, Greg! You better be careful, too; grapes will definitely get stuck in your braces.
10Brian Vickers1057
Rushing quickly toward 12th to battle with Kasey Kahne for last in the Chase.
11Kasey Kahne10313
Rumor has it that Joe Gibbs Racing would like to sign Kahne, but just can’t take on the Budweiser Sponsorship. Hmm. Whatever happened to the rule about no beer or liquor sponsors on a Petty car?
12Carl Edwards8612
What video-game maneuver will he try this time at Kansas? Drive around in the opposite direction and take out all cars except his teammates?
13Kyle Busch749
So much for stealing all of the wins in the Chase.
14Matt Kenseth71NR
Hard to believe that a third-place finish is like a win for this Daytona 500-winning team.
15Clint Bowyer6914
Hometown track coming up this weekend… Chin to Win!
Dropped Out: David Reutimann (15)
Also Receiving Votes: Marcos Ambrose (45), Kevin Harvick (45), David Reutimann (32), Jeff Burton (18), AJ Allmendinger (16), Casey Mears (15), Joey Logano (13), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (8), Elliott Sadler (7), Martin Truex Jr. (6), Bobby Labonte (2), Jamie McMurray (2)

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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