Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 Samsung 500 at Texas

The Texas Motor Speedway was a fickle lady this past weekend. Past champions couldn’t keep their car on the lead lap, the polesitter lost the handle late in the race, and three drivers who were rookies just last season finished in the top 20. The people who vote in the Frontstretch poll have spoken following the madness, and the movement in the poll may surprise you. Read on to see this week’s changes below, and see if you agree with our staff’s opinions… or if you think they’ve completely spun out of control.

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 Jeff Burton (5) 172 2
  That steady plodding you hear is Burton marching towards his first championship.
2 Carl Edwards (3) 160 9
  Can’t wait for Bristol, Martinsville, New Hampshire, Phoenix, Dover, Richmond, Sonoma and Watkins Glen to be dropped from the schedule.
3 Kyle Busch 146 7
  Actually heard complaining on the radio that his car was too loose. We really didn’t think that was possible.
4 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 143 1
  Enough near-misses now that he’s getting to the point where “exceeding expectations” is clashing with “almost isn’t good enough.”
4 Tony Stewart (1) 143 6
  Still winless, but it’s still April; we’re about a month away from when this team takes the season seriously.
6 Denny Hamlin 138 5
  If we ran over Clint Bowyer in the Midwest and lived to tell about it, Iwed faint on pit road, too.
7 Kevin Harvick 129 3
  Has anyone noticed that Happy is second in points?
8 Jimmie Johnson 122 10
  That’s right, the two-time champ is getting back to the front on the intermediate tracks. That light at the end of the tunnel just might be a train.
9 Clint Bowyer 110 11
  Crashed across the line again; but this time, at least he was on his wheels.
10 Matt Kenseth 88 13
  All good cars and nothing to show for it makes this champ a crabby, crabby man; especially when he’s looking like the third-best car at Roush Fenway these days.
11 Greg Biffle  85 8
  An untimely engine failure makes a timely rebound at Phoenix critical to keep the Biff from being a one-month wonder.
12 Ryan Newman 82 14
  Still on the post-Daytona 500 hangover after failing post-race inspection at Texas.
13 Jeff Gordon 61 4
  Hey, everyone finishes 43rd once in a while. Sometimes it’s just twice in 15 years.
14 David Ragan 58 NR
  Continuing to prove it isn’t the equipment that makes Jamie McMurray bad.
15 Kasey Kahne 56 12
  Dodge has led just 11 laps since the Daytona 500; Kahne has led two of them. Don’t be fooled.

Falling out of the rankings: Martin Truex Jr. (15)

Also receiving votes: Juan Pablo Montoya (34), Brian Vickers (32), Martin Truex Jr. (25), Kurt Busch (25), Jamie McMurray (23), Mark Martin (17), Casey Mears (13), Travis Kvapil (10), David Gilliland (7), Paul Menard (5), Bobby Labonte (4), Elliott Sadler (2)

Writers voting this week: Ren Jonsin, Tom Bowles, Cami Starr, Kim DeHaven, 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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