Top 15 Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Daytona 500 Edition

Frontstretch Power Rankings

Well, file this one away into the “now I’ve seen everything” cabinet. From exploding jet dryers to drivers tweeting on the backstretch, the Daytona 500—or rather, the 48 Hours at Daytona—was one of those races no one will ever forget. Who would have thought that Danica Patrick would be the last of everyone’s concerns at the end of the night?

Even though the actual on-track action was far overshadowed by the delays, Matt Kenseth was able to pull through and win his second Daytona 500 with teammate Greg Biffle right in tow. Where are they ranked in this week’s Power Rankings, and how did the bizarre chain of events impact your favorite driver? Continue reading below to find out.

*How The Rankings Are Calculated:* Frontstretch does our power rankings somewhat similar to how the Associated Press does them for basketball or football — our expert stable of NASCAR writers, both on staff and from other major publications 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, Summer Dreyer calculates the points, adds some funny one-liners, and … here you go!

*SPRINT CUP TOP 15 POWER RANKINGS: February 29th, 2012*
*Rank* *Driver (First Place Votes)* *Votes* *Last Week*
*1* *Matt Kenseth (5)* 138 12
He’s no Trevor Bayne, but something about the Daytona 500 brings out the “are you kidding me?!” in all of us.
_Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch.com_
*2* *Greg Biffle* 121 7
Ironic that Biffle’s first Cup race win was a plate race and yet he still looks inept when it comes to late-race moves on plate tracks.
_Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com_
*3* *Denny Hamlin* 110 13
Remember when Hamlin was the king of social networking? Now this is all we get from him: “Awesome run for our FedEx team today. Proud of our effort.. So close.” I wonder how long it will be before NASCAR silences Keselowski, too.
_Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch.com_
*4* *Dale Earnhardt, Jr.* 109 Tie – 5
He could almost taste another Daytona 500 trophy, but those pesky team orders — er, teamwork — got in the way.
_Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch.com_
*5* *Jeff Burton* 104 NR
Speaking of teamwork, Burton and teammate Kevin Harvick did everything they could to make the high line move forward. It didn’t work, but they were able to finish inside the top 10. Three of the four Hendrick Motorsports cars couldn’t even say that.
_Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch.com_
*Tie – 6* *Kevin Harvick* 103 Tie – 5
After the race ran past midnight and into Tuesday morning, Harvick wound up racing on his 11-year anniversary. 11 years? With Kevin? Get DeLana a trophy of her own!
_Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch.com_
*Tie – 6* *Carl Edwards (1)* 103 2
Even after his much-celebrated pole, Edwards still failed to lead a lap in the Daytona 500. That makes this Missouri native 0-for-8. That’s right! The driver who tied for the championship last year has never led a lap in the series’ biggest event. Where’s Biffle when you need him?!
_Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch.com_
*8* *Tony Stewart (1)* 90 1
One of these days, Stewart is going to drive through all of the smoke and torn up sheet metal to win his first Daytona 500. Until then, there is always the chance for more fireworks in July (no pun intended).
_Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch.com_
*9* *Paul Menard* 68 NR
He was pretty quiet all night, but Menard survived a rather tumultuous race. Childress may not be keeping him for his talent, but his ability to bring home a clean racecar can’t hurt.
_Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch.com_
*10* *Martin Truex, Jr.* 64 NR
The only noise Truex made all race was when he won the $200,000 bonus for leading at the halfway point. Then he went back to lip-syncing in front of Michael Waltrip’s ass. Or at least, I’m assuming so.
_Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch.com_
*11* *Clint Bowyer* 60 NR
Doing his best to rival his boss for most annoying NASCAR commercial of the year.
_Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com_
*12* *Marcos Ambrose* 56 Tie – 10
I wouldn’t be surprised if Ambrose’s next Cup Series win came on a restrictor plate track. He wasn’t great in the 500, but he outlasted some strong racecars and sometimes that’s all it takes.
_Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch.com_
*13* *Kyle Busch* 52 3
No chance for any remarkable saves during the 500, but did throw most of the field under the bus for the lap two wreck.
_Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com_
*14* *Joey Logano* 50 NR
Logano tweeted after the race that he had several “close calls” at the end of the Daytona 500. I bet there are a half-dozen or so drivers who would disagree.
_Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch.com_
*Tie – 15* *Brad Keselowski* 34 8
Granted, Brad would be No. 1 if this were a Twitter ranking. Unfortunately, tripling your follower count in one night doesn’t help you in the Power Rankings. You wrecked. Therefore, you get pwned.
_Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com_
*Tie – 15* *Dave Blaney* 34 NR
Apparently, Dave’s daughter Emma’s going to force him to join Twitter after Monday’s events. Good luck with that.
_Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com_
*Dropped Out*: Jeff Gordon (4), Jimmie Johnson (9), Ryan Newman (Tie – 10), Kasey Kahne (Tie – 14), Kurt Busch (Tie – 14).
*Others Receiving Votes:* Mark Martin (32), Ryan Newman (29), Jimmie Johnson (22), Jeff Gordon (22), Regan Smith (18), Kasey Kahne (14), Bobby Labonte (10), Casey Mears (9), A.J. Allmendinger (7), Terry Labonte (4), Danica Patrick (2), Juan Pablo Montoya (2), Tony Raines (2), Landon Cassill (1).
*Who Voted:* “Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com;”:http://www.twitter.com/Critic84/ “Kelly Crandall, Speedwaymedia.com;”:http://www.twitter.com/kellycrandall/ “Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch.com;”:http://www.twitter.com/summerdreyer/ “Amanda Ebersole, Skirtsandscuffs.com;”:http://www.twitter.com/amandaebersole/ “Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com;”:/tlumbis/ “Dustin Long, Athlon Sports;”:http://www.twitter.com/dustinlong/ “Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com.”:http://www.twitter.com/mneffshorttrack/

“Contact Summer Dreyer”:https://frontstretch.com/contact/28526/

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