NASCAR Race Weekend Central

NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Top 15 After Texas I

Power RankingsMother Nature won AGAIN Sunday, leaving NASCAR to postpone the Texas race until Monday afternoon. I’m sure Penske Racing doesn’t mind much. Joey Logano made it seven winners in seven races, the second-longest streak for NASCAR’s Cup Series since nine different drivers hit victory lane to start the 2003 season. In addition, Penske Racing now has both of its drivers virtually locked into the Chase.
A number of others, meanwhile were looking to ride their positive momentum from Martinsville only to fall off the wagon. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Jimmie Johnson were both involved in a lap 13 accident after Earnhardt, Jr. clipped the wet and muddy inside grass along the frontstretch. The contact launched his car into the air and straight towards the outside wall, becoming engulfed in flames. That resulting debris damaged Johnson’s left front fender and dented his windshield, rendering the No. 48 uncompetitive. Then, the series’ most recent winner, Kurt Busch, experienced the highs and lows of the sport finishing 39th after multiple tire failures. Kevin Harvick, a favorite to win in Texas, lost an engine early and recorded his fourth finish of 36th or worse since winning at Phoenix.
Next up, the drivers come face-to-face with The Lady in Black in Darlington, South Carolina. With all those shakeups in Texas, see if your favorite driver still made the cut in our poll heading to NASCAR’s eighth Cup race of 2014.
How The Rankings Are Calculated: Frontstretch does our power rankings 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… 3-2-1 basis, giving 20 points to their first-place driver, 19 for second, and so on. In the end, Mike Mehedin calculates the points, adds some funny one-liners, and… here you go!

FRONTSTRETCH TOP 15 POWER RANKINGS: April 9th

Rank

Driver (First Place Votes)

Votes

Last Week

1  Jeff Gordon (7) 177 4
Jeff Gordon has to wonder what it takes any more to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup race. He’s been so close and has had a great year, now leading in the points. But a win for him seems as elusive as easy money in Las Vegas. Dwight Drum, RaceTake.com
2 Matt Kenseth (1) 165 5
We knew that Kenseth wouldn’t repeat his 2013 success, but no one could have predicted they’d be this far off after seven races. Kelly Crandall, PopularSpeed.com
3 Joey Logano 156 T – 6
Great win for Joey, but it just looked kind of weird seeing a baby-faced 23-year-old wearing a cowboy hat and shooting off a pair of guns. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
4 Carl Edwards (1) 150 3
At Texas, Edwards was simply the beneficiary of everyone around him having miserable days. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com
5 Kyle Busch 142 T – 6
Has led in five straight Sprint Cup races while dominating over in Nationwide and Trucks. Smelling a breakout season here… but can Busch cook up enough consistency to make it happen?Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
6 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 135 1
I have no idea how Earnhardt Jr.’s day would have turned out on Monday. In the roughly one minute of green flag action before he crashed, he seemed to be doing well… Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com
7 Brian Vickers 116 12
Even with the departure of Rodney Childers and Mark Martin, the No. 55 is proving to be a sleeper nearly every weekend.Vito Pugliese, Frontstretch.com
8 Jimmie Johnson 115 2
For years, everyone complained that ,ohnson won too much. Now, those same people are ready to sound the alarm because he hasn’t won yet. Kelly Crandall, PopularSpeed.com
9 Brad Keselowski 109 8
His late speeding on pit road penalty eliminated any talk of letting teammate Logano win. Jeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com
10 Paul Menard 89 NR
Four top-10 finishes in the last five races: oooo, that’s a consistency hard to find these days. But Menard’s like the Boy Who Cried Early Season Wolf. Call us when you’re not tanking sometime in mid-July. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
11 Kyle Larson 83 NR
So what was everyone saying about Austin Dillon? Kelly Crandall, PopularSpeed.com
T – 12 Greg Biffle 64 NR
While The Biff has been virtually irrelevant this year, he was running third with just a few laps to go; sixth place a sign that they’ve hit on something promising. Either that, or the Penske notes blew across to the other side of the garage. Vito Pugliese, Frontstretch.com
T – 12 Tony Stewart 64 NR
Pole, top-10 finish, 74 laps led. Yeah, I’d say Smoke’s leg is healing up just in time for his typical Summer sizzle. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
14 Denny Hamlin 60 T – 13
A pit road speeding penalty took him out of contention for a win. This driver shoots himself in the foot more than Barney Fife with a .40-caliber Glock. Vito Pugliese, Frontstretch.com
15 Clint Bowyer 54 NR
Clint had a good run, but nobody really feared the beard on Monday. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
Dropped Out: Kurt Busch (9), Austin Dillon (10), Marcos Ambrose (11), Kevin Harvick (T – 13), Ryan Newman (15).
Others Receiving Votes: Ryan Newman (49), Austin Dillon (40), Aric Almirola (29), Marcos Ambrose (25), Kurt Busch (23), Kevin Harvick (15), Kasey Kahne (13), Jamie McMurray (10), Trevor Bayne (1).
Who Voted: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.comKelly Crandall, PopularSpeed.comDwight Drum, RaceTake.comTony Lumbis, Frontstretch.comMichael Mehedin, Frontstretch.comJim Noble, ESPN/Sirius XM NASCAR Radio/PRNVito Pugliese, Frontstretch.comJustin Tucker, Frontstretch.comJeff Wolfe, Frontstretch.com

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