Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 Goody’s Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville

After another session of good ol’ rubbin’ and racin’ at Martinsville, the votes are in on where the Frontstretch staffers feel the drivers fall in the hierarchy of the current Power Rankings. The results may surprise you: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has scaled the mountain even though he hasn’t won a race yet, while teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are inching back up the list. On the flip side, Ryan Newman continues to slide down after continuing to fail to back up his Daytona 500 victory. Want to know where, exactly, he stacks up? Read the rankings below and see if you agree with our staff’s opinions.

How The Rankings Are Calculated: Frontstretch does their power rankings somewhat similar to how the Associated Press does them for basketball or football – writers on our staff will vote for the top 20 on a 20-19-18-17-16-15… 3-2-1 basis, giving 20 points to their first-place driver, 19 for their second, and so on. In the end, Mike Neff calculates the points, adds some funny one-liners, and… voila! You have the Power Rankings from our dedicated staff.

Rank Driver (First Place Votes) Points Last Week
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (3) 170 4
  Junior No. 1 in the power rankings after just six weeks? Talk about the quickest rise to power in modern history…
2 Jeff Burton (4) 169 5
  For those who aren’t paying really close attention, Burton is your points leader.
3 Kevin Harvick 139 2
  Harvick had a problem with Michael McDowell, too, but they usually don’t interview the 12th-place finisher.
4 Jeff Gordon  132 10
  You know you’re the man when you finish second and that nearly worsens your average finish at a track over your last eight starts.
5 Denny Hamlin (1) 131 14
  “I owe this win to TRD. The new sway bars were excellent today.”
6 Tony Stewart (1) 129 6
  Ever think he’d be the only JGR car without a win so far this season?
7 Kyle Busch 125 1
  When he’s good, he’s very, very good. When he’s bad, he makes life difficult for everyone.
8 Greg Biffle 122 3
  Who knew you could punt someone AND get the Free Pass? You learn something new every day.
9 Carl Edwards 104 7
  If it’s not a blown engine, it’s a dry gas tank. If it’s neither, you can find him in victory lane.
10 Clint Bowyer 101 11
  Finished 10th at Martinsville and dropped three spots in the standings. Life’s tough at the top.
10 Jimmie Johnson 101 NR
  Fourth place this week was less work than his previous two “bottom of the top 20” finishes.
12 Kasey Kahne 92 9
  Better than last year, but still not looking like a threat to win.
13 Matt Kenseth 68 8
  His FICO score suddenly took a nosedive on FreeCreditReport.com.
14 Ryan Newman 49 12
  His rise, or fall, to mediocrity continues with another low top 20 finish.
15 Martin Truex Jr. 45 15
  Obviously taking notes from Stewart on how to handle media questions concerning contract negotiations.

Falling out of the rankings: Kurt Busch (13)

Also receiving votes: David Ragan (43), Juan Pablo Montoya (41), Kurt Busch (36), Casey Mears (23), Jamie McMurray (19), Brian Vickers (18), Elliott Sadler (18), Travis Kvapil (8), Bobby Labonte (3), David Gilliland (3), Aric Almirola (1)

Writers voting this week: Tom Bowles, Cami Starr, Kim DeHaven, Tony Lumbis, Mike Neff, Vito Pugliese, Matt Taliaferro and Bryan Davis Keith

About the author

What is it that Mike Neff doesn’t do? The writer, radio contributor and racetrack announcer coordinates the site’s local short track coverage, hitting up Saturday Night Specials across the country while tracking the sport’s future racing stars. The writer for our signature Cup post-race column, Thinkin’ Out Loud (Mondays) also sits down with Cup crew chiefs to talk shop every Friday with Tech Talk. Mike announces several shows each year for the Good Guys Rod and Custom Association. He also pops up everywhere from PRN Pit Reporters and the Press Box with Alan Smothers to SIRIUS XM Radio. He has announced at tracks all over the Southeast, starting at Millbridge Speedway. He's also announced at East Lincoln Speedway, Concord Speedway, Tri-County Speedway, Caraway Speedway, and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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