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Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 To End The 2011 Season

Frontstretch Power Rankings

Coming into Homestead, Tony Stewart knew what he needed to do and, after a couple of snafus early in the race, went out and did it. After 36 races, when all of the laps had been run and the checkered flag flew Stewart and Carl Edwards were tied with 2,403 points each. But the first tie-breaker is number of wins and, thanks to his effort at Homestead, Stewart had five wins on the season while Edwards had one, handing the championship to Stewart. Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski finished off the top 5 in points for the 2011 season.

Did Stewart’s dominant run to the championship give him the top spot in the rankings to end the season? Will Edwards wind up second in the poll just as he did in the season’s point race? Is Harvick the third choice for our voters or did Kenseth end up ahead of him after beating him to the checkered flag on Sunday? Check out this week’s Top 15 Power Rankings to find out where everyone ended up at the end of the season as the sport goes dormant for the next three months.

*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 … here you go!

*Rank* *Driver (First Place Votes)* *Votes* *Last Week*
*1* *Tony Stewart (6)* 120 2
Talk about going out and taking it to ’em. When even A.J. Foyt says you’ve run a perfect race, it’s hard to do anything but sit back and pay your respects to the three-time champ.
*2* *Carl Edwards* 114 1
Tried to win the Chase through math when real racing titles are won through Victory Lane. But trust us, he’ll be back; the third time is usually the charm, right? Unless you’re Mark Martin.
*3* *Kasey Kahne* 95 3
Glad you had a fun year at Red Bull, Kasey! Now, the pressure is going to go up by a power of 10 next season.
*4* *Kevin Harvick* 93 4
Third twice in a row wasn’t good enough for him; tearing up the team in order to win a championship was the end result. Gutsy call… but is it the right one?
*5* *Matt Kenseth* 90 6
Thanks for your dedication to the sport, Matt. Now, as your reward for a top-5 points finish get ready to answer a million questions about why you don’t have a full-time sponsor!
*6* *Jeff Burton* 73 11
OK, so let’s figure this one out. The interim crew chief gives you four top-10 finishes in the last five races, boosting an awful team to 20th in points. So once the season ends, you go out and find a replacement… that struggled all season with a team that ran 23rd? Who’s never crew chiefed a Chevy organization before? Does Childress just want to make sure Burton fails to give Ty Dillon a place to move up?
*7* *Clint Bowyer* 69 9
Should have shed a tear over his top-10 finish, because that’s the closest he’ll get to the front in quite awhile.
*8* *Brad Keselowski* 67 7
Most fans never would have thought he’d be the second biggest jerk at Penske.
*9* *Jeff Gordon* 62 12
Instead of worrying about catching Five-Time, Gordon ought to worry about being passed by Smoke.
*10* *Jimmie Johnson* 61 5
“Whatcha doin’, Jimmie?” “Trying to figure out how in the heck you cost us title number six, Chad.”
*11* *Denny Hamlin* 55 13
Amazed that with all the crew chief changes within the past 72 hours, Mike Ford moving on from the Fed Ex team isn’t one of them. Wonder what kind of compromising pictures he has of Coach Gibbs.
*12* *Ryan Newman* 53 14
Think the boss will let him try on his ring?
*13* *Dale Earnhardt, Jr.* 46 NR
Another year without a win on Most Popular’s resume.
*14* *A.J. Allmendinger* 43 8
Quietly had himself a Jamie McMurray-like season except for the part where he actually wins a race. Can one of NASCAR’s few remaining winless drivers finally engineer a breakthrough in 2012?
*15* *Marcos Ambrose* 39 10
The best Tasmanian to drive in NASCAR this season. Unfortunately for Marcos, he wins that title every year – and it doesn’t come with a trophy plus $8 million in winnings.
*Dropped Out*: Greg Biffle (15).
*Others Receiving Votes:* Martin Truex, Jr.(38), Greg Biffle (27), Paul Menard (24), Kurt Busch (23), Kyle Busch (13), Regan Smith (11), David Reutimann (9), Joey Logano (7), Mark Martin (6), Cole Whitt (5), Jamie McMurray (4), Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (4), Juan Pablo Montoya (3), Austin Dillon (3), David Ragan (2), Mike Bliss (1).
*Writer Voters Include:* Phillip Allaway, Tom Bowles, Bryan Keith, Tony Lumbis, Mike Neff and Garrett Horton.

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

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