Drivers turned right and left this past weekend at Watkins Glen, and some of them turned themselves right out of their positions in the NASCAR Power Rankings. But while top competition faltered, Juan Pablo Montoya righted his ship, breaking a 113-race winless streak while licking the wounds of a difficult season. Further back, Marcos Ambrose was able to keep his car running the entire race, but his brakes faded at the end, leaving the Tasmanian forced to settle for third behind the Colombian and American Kurt Busch. At least they beat usual road-course studs Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin, who spent the entire 90-lap race chasing their tails on a Sunday where no Hendrick car finished better than 10th (Gordon).
How many of these four made a jump up the top 15 this week? Check out the Power Rankings to find out, while discovering if Kevin Harvick was able to hang onto his top spot after having a tire go down on the last lap at the Glen. On the flip side, learn if Jimmie Johnson’s run of four bad finishes in five races resulted in him – gasp! – dropping out altogether, an almost-unheard of proposition so close to NASCAR’s 10-race playoff. Alright, without further ado… time to find out if your driver made all the right turns or if they slid off into the newly paved runoff areas in our poll.
|FRONTSTRETCH TOP-15 POWER RANKINGS: AUGUST 11th|
|Rank||Driver (First-Place Votes)||Votes||Last Week|
|1||Kevin Harvick (6)||215||1|
|Next sign of the apocalypse: Paul Menard’s hiring by Richard Childress Racing could come before Harvick’s Budweiser deal is done. Welcome to NASCAR in 2010!|
|2||Kurt Busch (1)||177||10|
|Thanksgiving at Grandma Busch’s might be a little nicer since brother Kyle caused Jimmie to spin.|
|3||Jeff Gordon (1)||176||2|
|The cries and screams you hear this week aren’t from little Leo Benjamin Gordon – they’re from potential No. 24 sub Aric Almirola.|
|4||Tony Stewart (1)||175||5|
|Did you really need to wreck Boris Said? I mean, you were being passed…|
|5||Jeff Burton (2)||169||3|
|It’s still hard to view him as a title contender when he doesn’t contend for wins.|
|Sure has been wrecking a lot lately. Probably just wants to get rid of all the old cars so the new ones are ready come Chase time.|
|Sat on the pole, but couldn’t lead a lap. At least he wasn’t the reason Brad Keselowski spun…|
|“I’ll have a Big Mac, an extra large fry, and one Chase bid, please.” “Your total will be, catching Matt Kenseth. Please drive up to the next window faster than the No. 17….”|
|If not for the loose ballast on the pace lap, he very well might have been up front with the road course studs.|
|Was upset about having to race against a part-timer like Said. Guess now he knows how the Nationwide guys feel.|
|Everyone who races him hard is a maniac; everyone who gets mad at him when he races hard is an idiot.|
|12||Juan Pablo Montoya||99||NR|
|The No. 42 team is peaking at just the right time – if they actually had a snowball’s chance of making The Chase.|
|May not have gotten the finish they wanted, but only spending three laps behind the wall for a broken mount is a championship-caliber move for this team.|
|What a magician Kenseth is. He went invisible for the entire 90-lap race at Watkins Glen, yet somehow showed up on the last lap to take the checkered flag 13th. Too bad there’s not a spell to take back two awful crew chief firings…|
|Resisted the urge to call about 50 media members and say, “I told ya so!” So he’s in negotiations for favorite rapper Snoop Dogg to do it for him. Special Note: No matter what, Snoop is STAYING WITH HIS LABEL for 2011…|
|Dropped Out: Kasey Kahne (14)|
|Also Receiving Votes: AJ Allmendinger (61), Kasey Kahne (57), Ryan Newman (45), Marcos Ambrose (42), Paul Menard (31), Martin Truex Jr. (17), David Reutimann (16), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (10), Joey Logano (9), Sam Hornish Jr. (8), Andy Lally (5), Brad Keselowski (4)|
|Writer Voting Panel: Phillip Allaway, Brock Beard, Thomas Bowles, Bryan Davis Keith, Tony Lumbis, Mike Neff, Vito Pugliese, Mike Ravesi, Kurt Smith, Garrett Horton and Matt Taliaferro|
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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