Turning right and left didn’t just cause a litany of Cup veterans some angst — it also gave our writers some sleepless nights in how to figure in a road-course finish into their own Top 15 Power Rankings formula. The series’ best road racer, Jeff Gordon, had himself one of the worst days of his career at one of those venues, leading to a shocking tumble down the list. But for Kevin Harvick, the weekend marked a pleasant surprise with a masterful top-10 performance at the road course. Who else was able to make a major move this week?To find the answers and see how your favorite driver wound up after the twists and turns in New York, read below for the latest edition of our Frontstretch Top 15.
Considering the range of possibilities ahead, it’s surprising our Power Rankings stayed fairly stable. Brian Vickers was the lone exception; his run of bad luck dropped him out of the list, allowing a fellow Chase hopeful to slide into his place. Who is the mystery man — with a mystery sponsor for ’09 — that’s once again cracked our Top 15? To see how the Xs and Ys were squared to come up with Z this week, check out the results of our top Top 15 rankings — voted on by your favorite Frontstretch writers.
And the winner of the first annual Indianapolis Heat Race is… Jimmie Johnson! OK, so maybe it was the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, but the way in which the race was controlled by NASCAR — with competition cautions held every 10 laps — they might as well have renamed it the Allstate 25. With so many stops and starts, it was difficult to gauge the worthiness of driver rankings after both the off week and the debacle that was Goodyeargate 2008. However, your dedicated staff at Frontstretch did their best to see through the cords and rubber dust and give you the best rankings they could possibly compile.
Hopefully, you enjoyed your off weekend and your fantasy team got well rested — because man, will they wind up needing that break. This weekend’s Brickyard 400 kicks off a grueling 17-race stretch to championship weekend at Homestead, and it’s time to get everything geared up and ready to go for the fantasy home stretch. Unless you went way out on a limb with your picks at Chicago, you likely didn’t see your team get blown away in the Windy City. But with the prestige of winning at the Brickyard up for grabs this weekend, every team is going to be bringing their “A” game this Sunday. As you prepare your team for a race of historic proportions, keep in mind the delicate balance between picking a driver who is hot at a particular track and which drivers were running well before the break… but not three months before. Confused a bit yet? We’ll sort it all out for you; just take a deep breath and get ready for the long week ahead by reading the latest edition of Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans.
The Chicagoland race was held at night for the first time in its eight-year history, but the cool temperatures didn’t stop the heated action on the racetrack during the final few laps of the event. Kyle Busch’s stunning pass of Jimmie Johnson was one for the ages, and his seventh win of the season was rewarded in our poll by becoming a unanimous number one pick atop the charts. In the meantime, Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick posted solid finishes to make large moves up the rankings this week — while Denny Hamlin and Jeff Burton had precipitous drops after another week of poor showings. To find out more about where the dust settled after our writers were finished with their stuffed Chicago-style pizzas, read on for this week’s Top 15 poll and analysis.
Daytona International Speedway once again played havoc with drivers over the Fourth of July weekend. As the action heated up late in the race, some couldn’t find help getting to the front, some couldn’t get out of their own way, and some simply couldn’t stomach 400 miles around the 2.5-mile superspeedway. Was that crash enough to knock Greg Biffle out of this week’s Top 15 — or would Martin Truex Jr. be the odd man out following a 150-point penalty that all but eliminates him from the Chase? And then, there’s the small matter of Tony Stewart turning sickly; while JJ Yeley did an admirable job filling in, was a late-race wreck the final straw that took him outside our Power Rankings chart?
The LENOX Industrial Tools 301 was billed as a race that went “the extra mile,” but it’s actually all the miles that didn’t happen which led to a major jumble in both the race — and our power rankings. With rain wreaking havoc on the final running order, you had Kurt Busch, Michael Waltrip, and JJ Yeley as the top three finishers with just 284 laps completed — a wild conclusion to a wacky finish at the Magic Mile of the Northeast. But could any of the weekend’s big surprises gain enough momentum to enter the top 15 in our exclusive list? Read on to find the answers you seek, and see if you agree with how the Frontstretch writers voted this week.
It was Kyle Busch who reestablished himself firmly atop the rankings this week, coming off his series high fifth victory of the season. Behind him, main rival Dale Earnhardt Jr. slipped from first to third after failing to execute a successful fuel mileage strategy two weeks in a row. Around them, it was pure mayhem as several drivers moved up and down on the basis of their road-course expertise. On the other end of the spectrum, Kevin Harvick’s bonsai dive into the hairpin that ended the victory chances of Tony Stewart and Jamie McMurray cost him his spot in the Chase; but did it cost him a spot in our Top 15? Read on to find the answers and see if you agree with how the Frontstretch writers voted this week.
The Irish Hills of Michigan once again produced a fuel mileage finish that will have people buzzing for weeks. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s strategic win — one that came packaged with a little luck — was enough to move him up the rankings. But did he knock off rival Kyle Busch? We’ll tell you this much; for the first time in months, Busch is not alone atop the charts. Who were those surprises, and which Penske Racing driver is just barely receiving votes these days? Read on to see if you agree or disagree with the latest choices by the Frontstretch writers.
The tricky triangle in Pennsylvania had several twists and turns for the Cup drivers this past weekend. Who left the track climbing up the Pocono mountains? Read on to find out in the latest edition of our Power Rankings, and see if you agree or disagree with the choices of your favorite Frontstretch writers.
The Monster Mile wasn’t as much of a monster as it’s been in the past — that is, after an early race melee involved six of the top 12 drivers in the point standings. But while the rest of the day may have put you to sleep, it did allow for some decisive moves in the rankings this week. The Roush Fenway brigade all climbed up in the order except for David Ragan, while Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, and Clint Bowyer were among those who took big hits in the poll this week. Behind them, what underdog driver received enough love to move back into the top 15 — kicking out someone who’s spent nearly all year cruising along in the top 12 in points? Read on to find out, and see if you agree or disagree with the latest choices by our Frontstretch writers.
The Coca-Cola 600 is the longest race on the NASCAR schedule, and the twists and turns that take place over those four-and-a-half hours of racing led to plenty of opportunities for writers to change their votes in the rankings. As you might expect, Kasey Kahne made a leap from unranked to well inside the top 15, while Denny Hamlin’s blown tire cost him more than a few positions at the end of Sunday’s race; he tumbled from third to well down the bottom half of our list. Where did Hamlin, Kahne, and the rest of your favorite drivers wind up? Read on below to find out, and be sure to comment and let us know if you agree or disagree with the latest rankings by our Frontstretch experts.