Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix

Phoenix International Raceway lived up to its billing as the track of compromise. Drivers were able to make it through one end better than the other all race long, while the tricky corners bit some of the biggest names in the sport. Some drivers moved up and some drivers moved down this week in the rankings as a result; however, three of the top-four slots stayed the same to bring some stability into NASCAR’s second off-week.

The people who vote in the Frontstretch poll have spoken; read the rankings below, and see if you agree with our staff’s opinions – or if you think they are completely spun out.

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 (6) 175 1
  Oil, spinout… nothing seems to stop Burton from sneaking his way to the front these days.
2 Carl Edwards (2) 153 2
  The duck feathers didn’t block the view of his competitors as much as previous weeks.
3 Jimmie Johnson 147 8
  The most masterful job of strategy over speed since the tortoise beat the hare.
3 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 147 4
  Handling doesn’t matter at Talladega; the streak should end next week.
5 Kyle Busch  144 3
  Call me crazy, but I think it’s a given Busch won’t be winning a race on pit strategy anytime soon.
6 Denny Hamlin (1) 142 6
  March of Dimes crusade coinciding well with his march to the front of the pack.
7 Tony Stewart  133 5
  Ever since Stewart’s aligned himself with Subway, Jared’s started gaining weight again. Coincidence? You decide.
8 Clint Bowyer 125 9
  His fuel gamble paid off, too; just not with a win.
9 Kevin Harvick 116 7
  Would Shell out plenty of cash for just a little more Sunoco Saturday night.
10 Greg Biffle  84 11
  Somewhere, Biffle lost his momentum, and it seemed like even a top-10 finish wasn’t enough to get it back.
11 Jeff Gordon 77 13
  Worst finish at Phoenix in 10 years, and still moved up in points.
12 Matt Kenseth  54 10
  Apparently walked under Biffle at some point before the season started.
13 Juan Pablo Montoya 51 NR
  The Big Red Colombian marches on.
14 Martin Truex Jr. 47 NR
  Got the parting gift from Earnhardt Jr. he never wanted to take: all those faulty engines.
14 Ryan Newman 47 12
  The rise to mediocrity continues for the Daytona 500 winner.

Falling out of the rankings: David Ragan (14), Kasey Kahne (15)

Also receiving votes: Mark Martin (44), Kasey Kahne (39), David Ragan (39), David Gilliland (27), Casey Mears (19), Kurt Busch (17), Jamie McMurray (16), Brian Vickers (15), Bobby Labonte (15), Travis Kvapil (5), Paul Menard (1)

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