With their bumping and banging for the lead on Sunday, Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson were able to make big gains up the Power Rankings ladder. But were they enough to push Jeff Gordon off the top spot? Meanwhile, Matt Kenseth and Jeff Burton were among those who took it on the chin at this short track. Read on to see how far they slid – and which new drivers drove their way up the list – in this week’s edition of the Frontstretch Power Rankings.
Clint Bowyer, the pride of Emporia, Kans., was on virtually nobody’s preseason list of “drivers most likely to win the 2009 Sprint Cup championship.” But five weeks into the season, the top-performing driver with RCR – on its newest team, no less – finds himself as one of the top contenders in this year’s points Chase. And why wouldn’t he be? After all, Bowyer has finished in the top five in points each of the previous two years on the circuit.
The fastest half-mile in the world at Bristol battered many of Cup’s top contenders and spit them out. Bad luck struck more than one competitor, most notably Greg Biffle, causing mechanical problems which dropped him out of the top 15 in our Power Rankings. So, which one of the three men above continues to remain on top of our rankings: Busch, Gordon or Johnson? Read on to find out, and see if your driver rode the new high groove to move up in the standings – or spun out off someone’s back bumper to move down in this week’s Power Rankings post-Bristol.
The label of future Sprint Cup champion is liberally dispensed — but rarely achieved. In the 60 years of NASCAR competition, only 28 drivers have attained the hallowed crown – and it’s a pretty excusive club. 12 drivers have won a solitary championship, while another eight have won two titles. Five men – Jimmie Johnson, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, David Pearson and Lee Petty – have won three; Jeff Gordon owns four, while both the King and the Intimidator won a record seven apiece. I’m going to pick a number of current drivers and analyze their chances of winning a Sprint Cup championship at some point in the near (or far) future.
The Sprint Cup Series returns to its roots this weekend with the first short-track race of the 2009 season. Since it was resurfaced, Bristol Motor Speedway has gone from a one lane bullring to a multi-groove, high-banked, high-speed oval unlike any other track on the Sprint Cup circuit. Even with the new surface, Bristol is still home to a lot of beating and banging, and the Frontstretch Fantasy Insiders are going to make sure your fantasy shelves are stocked with talent for this weekend’s Food City 500.
Four weeks into the season, the top of the Sprint Cup standings are still a long way from getting sorted out. But after everyone got a chance to take a deep breath this past weekend, it’s easy to notice a few trends starting to take shape. Once again, the multi-car giants of Roush, Hendrick and Gibbs sit atop the standings, preparing to be the heavyweights ready to duel once more for the Sprint Cup title. But the drivers leading the charge from each organization aren’t necessarily the ones you would have expected a month ago. Jeff Gordon looks like the Wonderboy of old, Matt Kenseth has the magic of Blickensderfer, while Kyle Busch is getting a push… from his brother? Such has been the rather strange beginning to the 2009 Cup season. To see where your driver sits on the Power Rankings ladder, read on as our experts try and sort out the contenders from the pretenders.
As the 2009 season wears on, some of the teams that have had early success are finding themselves in a point standings freefall. As they disappear from view, the composition of the top 12 is starting to take form, with annual contenders slowly creeping towards and into that coveted threshold. The season may be early and the beginning of the Chase months away, but these men are proving they will be threats nearly every week. At the other end of the points are heavily-funded teams that find themselves one bad race away from beginning Martinsville, the first race that uses 2009 owner points, without the comfort of being locked in via the Top-35 rule. For them, the upcoming week off will be filled with little sleep and lots of worry, their very futures hanging in the balance on the high-banks of Bristol in two weeks.
Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Sprint Cup race, capturing the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find: the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members and car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The Jewel in the Desert offered up some fast and furious competition on Sunday, with the Shelby 427 perhaps taking its place as the most competitive racing yet out in Las Vegas. In the end, the 1.5-mile oval took a rather unexpected toll on some motors, a more expected one on some nerves, and turned the Power Rankings into chaos with a ton of late-race wrecks and pit strategy. Once the smoke cleared and the gambling stopped, our experts had clearly finished major surgery just three weeks into our Power Rankings season. Matt Kenseth’s last-place finish was enough to catapult him from the top spot in the poll; but was Kyle Busch’s victory enough to put him number one? Or, did Jeff Gordon’s consistency allow him to swipe the top spot along with the Sprint Cup points lead? Read on to find out these answers and more, as the experts sort out if your driver hit the jackpot or rolled snake eyes in this week’s Top 15 rankings.
21, as many of you will know, is a lucky number in Las Vegas. So, here are exactly that many questions, observations, and thoughts – in no particular order – on the season so far as the series leaves Sin City to head back east.