A number of the top Power Ranking drivers reasserted themselves after Fontana’s tire issues. Jimmie Johnson led the most laps…again… but finished second, leaving skeptics to wonder when he will win his first race of 2014. Throw sixth-place Matt Kenseth – who won the most 2013 events – into that conversation as well. After multiple poor finishes, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Kevin Harvick returned to normalcy and nabbed top-10 results. Plus, Power Rankings upstart Petty Motorsports is back in the news for all the right reasons. They are the only team to have its drivers finish inside the top 10 in both short track races this season (Bristol and Martinsville).
Next up is the high-speed Texas Motor Speedway. But before we pack our cowboy boots, see how your favorite driver fared in this week’s Power Rankings.
FRONTSTRETCH TOP 15 POWER RANKINGS: April 1st
Driver (First Place Votes)
|1||Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (8)||178||3|
|Earnhardt Jr. is continuing the consistency that was his hallmark last year, with the addition of that all-important win in February’s Daytona 500. He is going to be a tough cookie to beat. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com|
|No, it wasn’t a dream – it really did rain, snow and Jimmie Johnson got beat at Martinsville. Kelly Crandall, PopularSpeed.com|
|Texas will answer some questions about the Roush cars. Do they truly have the speed to be considered elite? Jim Noble, ESPN/Sirius XM NASCAR Radio/PRN|
|Not sure what’s more surprising: Gordon not leading a lap at Martinsville or Gordon finishing outside the top 10 at Martinsville? Justin Tucker, Frontstretch.com|
|5||Matt Kenseth (1)||143||5|
|After constantly being compared to Matt’s old crew – the “Killer Bees” – and their quick stops, the No. 20 team upped the ante and told Matt they could pull off just as quick of a stop… backwards. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com|
|T – 6||Joey Logano||124||8|
|Has avoided getting anybody mad so far this season, but looking for a win, too. Jeff Wolfe,
|T – 6||Kyle Busch||124||7|
|The No. 18 team was admittedly “experimenting” at Martinsville. Do they do the same at Texas? Jim Noble, ESPN, Sirius XM NASCAR Radio/PRN|
|Apparently BK feels Kurt Busch has wronged him too many times. Sounds a little like premeditated justification. In other words, he’s taking a page out of Jeff Gordon’s book on Clint Bowyer. Kelly Crandall, PopularSpeed.com|
|Did something that Jimmy Spencer was never able to do – take No. 41 to Victory Lane. You’ve truly come full-circle, Radio Sweetheart. Vito Pugliese, Frontstretch.com|
|Slow and steady may not win pre-Chase races, but it’s going to win Rookie of the Year in 2014. Vito Pugliese, Frontstretch.com|
|With his performance to this point, plus a strong possibility of a win at one of the two road courses, Marcos could seriously put Petty Motorsports back into the Chase. Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com|
|Stuck his nose up there with the leaders a couple of times Sunday — just couldn’t stay up there. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com|
|T – 13||Kevin Harvick||60||15|
|After three straight finishes outside the top 35, fans were once again saying, “Where did he come from?” when Harvick broke into the top 10 at Martinsville. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com|
|T – 13||Denny Hamlin||60||N/A|
|A lot of “bark” at Martinsville, not much “bite.” Jim Noble, ESPN/Sirius XM NASCAR Radio/PRN|
|Hasn’t been a big threat to win yet, but still five places ahead of the closest Stewart-Haas driver in the standings. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com|
|Dropped Out: Tony Stewart (9), Kyle Larson (10), Jamie McMurray (13).|
|Others Receiving Votes: Tony Stewart (49), AJ Allmendinger (45), Paul Menard (45), Clint Bowyer (41), Aric Almirola (27), Kyle Larson (23), Greg Biffle (20), Jamie McMurray (8), Kasey Kahne (8), Casey Mears (1), Danica Patrick (1).|
|Who Voted: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com; Kelly Crandall, PopularSpeed.com; Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com; Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com; Michael Mehedin, Frontstretch.com; Jim Noble, ESPN/Sirius XM NASCAR Radio/PRN; Vito Pugliese, Frontstretch.com; Justin Tucker, Frontstretch.com; Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com.|
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