NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Doug Turnbull

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Lifelock 400 at Michigan

Frontstretch Power Rankings
The 2-mile oval in the Irish Hills of Michigan brought us a fuel mileage race for the second straight week on the Cup tour. In the end, it was Mark Martin who had a little extra gas in his tank ... but was it enough to move all the way to the top of our chart? Meanwhile, Michigan's reputation as a Blue Oval speedway took one heck of a hit, as none of the Roush cars finished higher than fourth. How much did our experts penalize them for their surprising slump? Read on to find out in this week's version of the Frontstretch Top 15.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Lifelock 400 at Michigan Edition

“Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire,” may very well have been the lyrics Jimmie Johnson was banging his head to as his dominant No. 48 Chevy sputtered to the finish of Sunday’s LifeLock 400. The three-time champ absolutely dominated at Michigan, only surrendering the …

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Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Pocono 500

The tricky triangle in Pocono threw everything at the drivers but the kitchen sink. There was rain, a new double-file restart procedure, and even a late-race fuel-mileage gamble thrown in for good measure. As you might expect, with that many variables the final running order was turned upside down after 500 miles of competition. But the one place where stability held was at the top; and after Tony Stewart's first win as an owner/driver, he did his best to solidify his reign atop our NASCAR Power Rankings.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Pocono 500 Edition

Sunday was a long day in Long Pond, Pa., as only a few teams really had their cars hooked up to handle the tricky triangle that is Pocono Raceway. While positive storylines like the implementation of double-file restarts and Tony Stewart’s march from the back of the pack to win his first race as an owner permeated the day, the same old song of single-file racing at the front of the pack was set to loop. The only chance for some teams to find success at Pocono was by gambling on fuel mileage, which garnered top-10 finishes for Marcos Ambrose and Juan Pablo Montoya. Unfortunately, teams high in the points that are not worried about falling out of Chase contention, like Stewart’s, Carl Edwards’s and Jeff Gordon’s also tried the same strategy and came out on top. Here are the HOT, WARM and COLD teams after the conclusion of the Pocono 500.

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Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Autism Speaks 400 at Dover

While Jimmie Johnson was completely dominant at Dover, he wasn't the only one with a stellar Sunday at the Monster Mile. Our experts actually rewarded a different driver with the top spot this week, keeping the three-time champ from assuming the throne he'll so desperately seek by Homestead. At the same time, some people who had less than Heluva! Good weekends saw their fortunes turn South in the rankings - including last week's trendy pick at Lowe's before David Reutimann upstaged him just one week ago. Who are the two drivers of which we speak? You'll have to read on to find out in this week's version of the Frontstretch Power Rankings.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: 2009 Autism Speaks 400 at Dover Edition

Race number 13 in the 2009 season was an unlucky one for Goodyear, as periodic rains in Dover washed the track of rubber after both the Friday race sessions and the Saturday races. With entries in both the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series having right front tire issues, Sprint Cup teams knew that tire conservation during Sunday’s race would be the only way to increase the chance of avoiding the damning blown tire punctures. Despite a competition caution and other precautions, several teams suffered tire failures and many others’ days were ruined by a caution that came out during a green flag pit sequence that John Andretti’s blown right front and subsequent brushing with the wall brought out. These factors combined with a barn-burner finish, determined this week’s *HOT*, *WARM*, and *COLD* drivers for the week.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not in Sprint Cup Heading To Dover After the 2009 Coca-Cola 600

The conclusion of the Anti-Climatic 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Monday leaves the NASCAR fanbase wondering exactly which driver should have won. Since the race began in the middle of the day on Monday instead of early in the evening on Sunday, drivers did not have to encounter as many changes in track conditions as expected, throwing possible contenders a curve some never recovered from. As the race wore on, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers proved to have the fastest cars - but would all three of these drivers have remained the ones to beat had the race gone the distance? Since the rainy conditions and subsequent pit strategies shuffled up the entire running order and many teams mid-pack were likely biding their time before making a run for the front, this week is yet another tough time to determine the current HOT, WARM and COLD drivers. Nevertheless, here they are as we prepare to head to Delaware for racing at the Monster Mile....

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Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Coca-Cola 600

While racing was supposed to be the focus at Charlotte, rain wound up being the headline. Since the 600-miler was called short due to weather, the final standings were a jumbled mess of drivers who took a risk on the final pit stop to steal a good finish - leaving the fastest cars in the field scrambling for what little they could get. With such a haphazard end to a Memorial Day race plagued by Mother Nature's wrath, our voters seemed to be left unaffected by these random results. That left the Power Rankings mostly intact, although there were a few exceptions to the rule - in particular two drivers from mid-level teams who made some serious strides up the list. Who are they? Look below to find out, seeing if your driver stayed high and dry or wound up fighting a torrential downpour down the Power Rankings following Monday's Coca-Cola 600.

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The Big 6: Questions Answered After the 2009 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte

David Reutimann won Monday’s Coke 600, despite scratching up the right side of the No. 00 Aaron’s Toyota. Crew chief Rodney Childers’s call for the 'Franchise' to stay out instead of pitting before the race’s final caution flag put the Michael Waltrip Racing driver in the lead ahead of Ryan Newman, Robby Gordon and Carl Edwards. The crew chiefs of all of these entries deserve three thumbs up for playing the Mother Nature card and snagging top-five finishes.

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Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 Heading Into the 2009 Coca-Cola 600

The All-Star Race is supposed to feature the cream of the crop, a chance for Sprint Cup's top tier to go head-to-head in a battle royale with nothing but money and pride on the line. And after a tame beginning, this race featuring a Who's Who of stock car stardom refused to disappoint, with drivers continuing to beat and bang throughout the last 10 laps of the 25th annual shootout. When the Smoke cleared, it was Smoke himself taking his first trophy as an owner/driver in the series, a move which easily solidified his hold atop our weekly list. But while Tony Stewart leads the pack, how did the rest of your favorite stars fare heading into the Coca-Cola 600? Read on to see if your driver made the most of his All-Star appearance Saturday night to move up our Power Rankings ladder.

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