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NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 after Pocono

Frontstretch Power Rankings
Hendrick Motorsports has shot out of a rocket ship, winning every race — including the Sprint Showdown and All-Star Event — since May 12th. Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago we were talking about how HMS was struggling early on in the season? My, how time flies! But if the standings are any indication, they have quite a bit of competition on their hands for the championship, in particular from the Roush Fenway Racing duo of Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle. 
Which team is our team of NASCAR web experts more impressed with this week? Did wins or consistency determine the top spot in our rankings? Keep reading 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 Bedgood calculates the points, adds some funny one-liners, and … here you go!

Rank Driver (First Place Votes) Votes Last Week
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2) 151 3

Looks like the No. 88 team may need a sports psychologist to help them get over last year's Coca-Cola 600 finish, which obviously still haunts them as Sunday's pit strategy would suggest. _Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com_ 

1 Matt Kenseth (3) 151 2

This year's Daytona 500 winner and Sprint Cup point leader; so naturally, he's running unsponsored this weekend at Michigan. Earth to NASCAR Business Model… hello??? Don't you see a problem here? _Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com_ 

3 Jimmie Johnson (3) 148 1

Hoping to one-up his Pocono performance, Johnson will attempt three consecutive pass through penalties for a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. _Carolyn Brewster, NASCAR Illustrated_ 

4 Denny Hamlin 132 11

Still hasn’t fully rebounded from a guy named Ford working on his Toyota. _Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com_ 

5 Greg Biffle 117 4

While it has been at Biffle’s expense, if the Chase standings are as competitive as they have been during the regular season, we’re in for a very 2011-esque championship! _Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com_ 

6 Tony Stewart 101 12

Third for the third time in six races, but the real issue developing here is sponsorship for that "third team." Rumor is, Ryan Newman is good as gone, and does Smoke really want to head into 2013 with only Danica Patrick as his teammate? That's a GoDaddy, unrated disaster drama in the making. _Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com_ 

7 Kevin Harvick 97 5

Once again turning into Mr. Where Did He Go instead of Mr. Where Did He Come From? _Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com_ 

8 Clint Bowyer 95 10

It’s been said before, but MWR’s supposed star driver has been outrun and outpaced by his part-time teammate. Shouldn’t it have been Bowyer that Logano knocked out of the way? _Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com_ 

9 Martin Truex Jr. 82 6

Brownie points for salvaging his car after being involved in a wreck not of his making. Bundle of nerves in knowing all of a sudden, over the past month good speed has been replaced by mediocrity. _Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com_ 

10 Joey Logano 75 NR

For his first Sprint Cup Series win Logano needed mother nature. For this one, he needed half the field to be penalized on pit road. _Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com_ 

10 Carl Edwards     75 14

Don’t look now, but Cousin Carl is still on the outside of the Chase looking in. _Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com_ 

12 Kasey Kahne 73 8

Even with the victory in Charlotte, Kahne can’t quite dig himself out of this hole. Two steps forward, one step back. However, it could be worse. He could be Jeff Gordon. _Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com_ 

13 Paul Menard 63 NR

 Three spots ahead of Kasey Kahne with no wins, no top 5s and three fewer top 10s. Yeah, this point system rewards running up front…..NOT _Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com_ 

14 Brad Keselowski 62 7

Probably the most adamant about the pit road speeding _problems_, Keselowski took to Twitter (as usual) to plead his case. The only thing missing was a detailed picture of the particular area on pit road that so apparently screwed his day. _Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com_ 

15 Kyle Busch 59 9

She done blowed up……..again. _Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com_ 

Dropped Out: Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon
Others Receiving Votes:  

Mark Martin (58), Ryan Newman (42), Marcos Ambrose (35), Jeff Gordon (27), Jamie McMurray (16), Jeff Burton (7), Regan Smith (4), A.J. Allmendinger (3), Aric Almirola (3), Juan Pablo Montoya (3), David Reutimann (1). 

Who Voted: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.comKelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com; Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com; Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.comDustin Long, Athlon Sports; Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com; <a href="http://www.twitter.com/mneffshorttrack">Mike Neff, Frontstretch.com

Contact Summer Bedgood

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