Race Weekend Central

NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 after All-Star Race

Sandbagging?! There’s no sandbagging in NASCAR! … Or is there? Jimmie Johnson says yes, and used it to his advantage in Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star race. The win was his third career All-Star victory, and came just a week removed from Hendrick Motorsport’s 200th victory at Darlington and just days after his team won the Sprint Pit Crew Challenge. Suffice it to say, Johnson is on a roll.

Don’t count out the other “all-stars” though. Fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. didn’t need the fan vote after all, transferring from the Sprint Showdown and laying down some fast lap times in the main event. He eventually finished fifth.

Did Johnson’s strong week propel him to the top of our rankings? Did Earnhardt’s strong run impress our writers? Keep reading to find out:
1. Jimmie Johnson 152 (4) – 2
The extra seat JJ installed for Rick Hendrick may pose issues during inspection forcing him to a backup car. _Carolyn Brewster, NASCAR Illustrated_
2. Matt Kenseth 142 – 3
#1 on the hate list of Junior nation for this week. _Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com_
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 140 – 7
Though happy to see their favorite driver in the All-Star race, Junior Nation was left cussing and spitting after having wasted countless hours re-submitting votes to get Earnhardt into the race via the Fan Vote. _Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch.com_
4. Greg Biffle (2) 138 – 1
The most consistent driver from week one he would love being the first driver to win championships in all three of NASCAR’s top divisions. _Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com_
5. Denny Hamlin 116 – 4
Yes, Denny was in the All-Star race, although you might have only seen him when they were panning back to show the segment winners sandbagging. _Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com_
6. Kyle Busch 115 – 6
After the first 20 or so laps, we didn’t see much of Busch. Sort of like the eventual race winner. _Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch.com_
7. Tony Stewart 114 – 5
Defending champion has been cranking up the snarky early this year so he is already in championship form. _Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com_
8. Brad Keselowski 109 – 11
Ron Hornaday might not be high on Bad Brad’s Christmas card list. _Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com_

9. Kevin Harvick 96 – 10
Hearing rumors that Harvick wishes to remove Indianapolis from the schedule, after contact with Paul Menard—who was eligible to be in the All-Star race because of his win there last year—ruined Harvick’s night. _Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch.com_
10. Martin Truex Jr. 79 – 8
Betting the old boss offered him a little something to lag back at the start of the Showdown. _Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com_
11. Carl Edwards 78 – 9
Nothing could top Edwards’ victorious yet botched spin through the grass in last year’s All-Star race … until Jimmie Johnson gave team owner Rick Hendrick a ride around the track last Saturday night. _Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch.com_
12. Kasey Kahne 63 – 13
Wishes they would put the start finish line down by turn one like they do at Talladega. _Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com_

13. Clint Bowyer 61 – 12
Bowyer won the Burnout Challenge. That is all. _Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch.com_
14. Paul Menard 51 – 14
First trip to the All-Star main event was not exactly impressive. _Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com_

15. Ryan Newman 48 – 15
No truth to the rumor that Ryan is considering breast implants to keep his ride at Stewart-Haas. _Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com_

*Others Receiving Votes:* Marcos Ambrose (44), Ryan Newman (42), A.J. Allmendinger (37), Joey Logano (19), Mark Martin (14), Jeff Gordon (14), Kurt Busch (14), Jeff Burton (13), Bobby Labonte (7), Trevor Bayne (6), Juan Pablo Montoya (4), Jamie McMurray (2), Regan Smith (4)
*Who Voted:* Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com; Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com; Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com; Carolyn Brewster, NASCAR Illustrated; Dustin Long, Athlon Sports; Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com; Matt Taliaferro, Athlon Sports; Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch.com

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