The fifth edition of NASCAR’s Chase has three clear favorites: Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, and Jimmie Johnson. But in a system where 12 drivers are separated by just 80 points, anyone could come out on top in a playoff race that seldom goes according to plan. With so many drivers and so much at stake, how do you sort out the mess? Well, your Frontstretch favorites have given you a head start. All your favorite experts have submitted their Chase picks, giving you their take on the good, the bad, and the ugly for the next 10 weeks.
Which one of the top three seeds — Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, or Kyle Busch — has Frontstretch voted number one to begin this 10-race stretch? And which three “darkhorse” contenders moved up three spots on the list, positioning themselves for a run at this year’s version of Chase Cinderella? To see who’s ready to rumble and who’s ready to flop in the playoffs — as well as which non-Chasers deserve their spot in the limelight — check out the results of our Top 15 Power Rankings below.
California is a wide-open track with plenty of room to run. The drivers had to struggle with the sun as it was going down and ultimately struggled with making their cars handle as the track cooled off. The end result was Jimmie Johnson won the race and moved up two spots in the rankings this week as did Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer. To see if your driver was chillin’ in the sun or burnt by the California heat, check out the results of our Top 15 rankings.
Bristol’s new variable banking has given drivers the option to pass without having to wreck a guy on the racetrack. But as Carl Edwards showed us Saturday night, the bump-and-run can still be the only option if the car in front is just good enough to keep you behind. Ensuring that move remains alive and well, Edwards’s shove of Kyle Busch was enough to move him into the top spot in our Power Rankings this week, displacing Busch for the first time since Richmond in May. This week, we saw two drivers fell out while two more slipped in – with one Chase hopeful working his way back to the top 10 for the first time in weeks. Who is he? You’ll have to read below to find out in this week’s edition of our Power Rankings.
Four wide-open grooves of racing at Michigan gave the drivers a lot of options Sunday — giving the faster cars a great chance to work their way forward. But for Denny Hamlin and Kasey Kahne, the only racing line they were able to handle was the one that led straight to the garage. Both saw their engines go up in smoke well before 400 miles were complete; and as a result, they slid multiple spots in the points and in our latest power rankings chart. Was Carl Edwards’ second win in three races enough to finally knock Kyle Busch off his perch at the top of our list? To see if your favorite driver kept his ranking intact after 400 miles in the Irish Hills, check out the latest results of our weekly Top 15 poll.
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.
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.