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Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Watkins Glen

Frontstretch Power Rankings

Marcos Ambrose finally found his way to Victory Lane Monday, taking charge in a green-white-checkered finish to conquer his personal demons at Watkins Glen. As for Greg Biffle, his demon comes in the form of a tall, curly-haired Californian after an angry Boris Said threatened to start a heavyweight fight outside his house this week. It was all part of a bizarre ending on that 2.45-mile road course, a last-lap crash flipping David Reutimann, nearly injuring David Ragan and reminding us all of what happens when there’s no SAFER barrier to stop you. In the meantime, Brad Keselowski put on another pain-defying performance, bringing his car and his ailing back home third to almost certainly clinch himself a spot in the Chase as a “wild card.”

After another good finish for Keselowski, will he go from unrated two weeks ago to well inside the top 5 this week? Was Kyle Busch able to further solidify his hold on the top spot after his second-place finish? And did Denny Hamlin’s continuous bad luck, bad brakes destroying his car while putting him in postseason jeopardy drop him even further down our rankings? Check out how the experts voted as they try and unscramble a another wacky ending to these NASCAR races in August.

*FRONTSTRETCH TOP 15 POWER RANKINGS: AUGUST 17th*
*Rank* *Driver (First Place Votes)* *Votes* *Last Week*
*1* *Kyle Busch (5)* 118 1
Another “New Kyle” sighting, this time on a road course. But is this bounceback version, all about salvaging a good finish strong enough to keep “Old Kyle” in hiding the second there’s a crisis in the Chase?
*2* *Carl Edwards* 110 2
He’s tied for the point lead, he’s got his contract settled, he’s got a smart, smokin’ hot wife… how can Carl Edwards’ life get any better right now?
*3* *Jimmie Johnson (1)* 105 4
Seen thanking Biffle AND Said after the race for taking the spotlight off of himself and Kurt Busch.
*4* *Jeff Gordon* 103 3
There used to be a time drivers would tremble at the thought of Jeff Gordon on a road course. Now? He’s just another Average Joe.
*5* *Brad Keselowski* 91 7
Who knew the key to winning the “wild card” was going out and getting yourself hurt?
*6* *Ryan Newman* 76 T – 5
The Chaser no one’s talking about; but don’t worry, Newman fans. Come Homestead, they probably won’t be talking about him, either.
*7* *Kevin Harvick* 74 T – 9
The way he’s been running lately, a sixth-place finish is money. Maybe backing into the playoffs is their new strategy?
*8* *Kurt Busch* 67 T – 5
Sixth in points, but feels like he’s on the verge of winning the title or losing his ride around every corner.
*9* *Matt Kenseth* 65 T – 9
Road courses aren’t his thing. Lately, top-5 finishes really haven’t been, either.
*10* *Dale Earnhardt, Jr.* 64 13
People are still acting like Junior is all but out of the Chase when he’s got nearly a full race lead over 11th place.
*11* *Tony Stewart* 51 8
Losing 20 spots mowing the grass in the bus stop could really come back to haunt him down the stretch.
*12* *Paul Menard* 47 T – 9
Had a chance for a huge point gain on Sunday until his Goodyears failed to cooperate. But still, this year’s Indy winner has to feel pretty good the way Hamlin’s luck is running these days.
*13* *Joey Logano* 45 NR
Just in case there were any doubts about job security…
*T – 14* *A.J. Allmendinger* 33 NR
Stopped by Biffle’s hauler after the race to get a few pointers on flipping the bird. That way, he can do better the next time Kurt Busch runs all over him.
*T – 14* *Martin Truex, Jr.* 33 NR
Boy, does that NAPA Know How car know how to turn right. It’s turning left, consistently that’s been the problem.
*Dropped Out*: Greg Biffle (12), Denny Hamlin (14), Mark Martin (15).
*Others Receiving Votes:* Marcos Ambrose (30), Greg Biffle (30), Clint Bowyer (29), Denny Hamlin (21), Kasey Kahne (19), Mark Martin (13), Jeff Burton (9), Juan Pablo Montoya (8), David Ragan (7), Jamie McMurray (4), Regan Smith (2), Casey Mears (2), David Gilliland (1), Andy Lally (1).
*Writer Voters Include:* Phillip Allaway, Tom Bowles, Bryan Keith, Tony Lumbis, Vito Pugliese, Mike Neff and Garrett Horton.

“Contact Mike Neff”:https://frontstretch.com/contact/14354/

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