Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega

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.

Talladega was clearly not the parade that everyone saw last fall when the new car design hit the superspeedway for the very first time. There were 52 lead changes recorded at the start/finish line Sunday and a multitude more on the track as the Car of Tomorrow seemed to come into its own. As usual, large wrecks did play a role in who finished and who didn’t, while the art of the draft was key to drivers maintaining success up front.

But when push does come to shove, a lot of how Talladega turns out is pretty much a crapshoot more than anything else. So, while putting together the top 15 this week, some staff voters gave drivers credit for their efforts on the plate track… while others seemed to discount the luck involved in finishing up front.

Read on to see if you agree or disagree with their latest choices in the Frontstretch Power Rankings below.

Rank Driver (First-Place Votes) Points Last Week
1 Jeff Burton (1) 166 1
Survived the Talladega carnage for a top-12 finish to retain the points lead.
2 Kyle Busch (4) 165 4
The most talented driver in NASCAR across the board. Don’t believe it? Check the scoreboards.
3 Denny Hamlin (2) 159 6
Could have pushed Ms. Daisy to the front on Sunday.
4 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 145 4
At some point, not winning is going to bother Junior. Trust us… it will.
5 Jimmie Johnson 142 3
A rare moment for Johnson at Talladega; he didn’t win OR cause a wreck!
6 Clint Bowyer 132 8
Seventh in points, yet third on his own team; who said life was fair?
7 Tony Stewart (1) 131 7
Should’ve been carrying a Home Depot tape measure to measure that spot he went for in the late stages of the race.
7 Carl Edwards (1) 131 2
Just happy to still be walking after getting up close and personal with Kevin Lepage.
9 Kevin Harvick 92 9
Starting to look like the Harvick of old as of late; unfortunately for him, that is not a good thing.
10 Juan Pablo Montoya 84 13
New key found to Montoya’s success; pair him up with a crew chief with an accent, so neither one can understand each other!
11 Greg Biffle 80 10
Biffle hates restrictor plates, but he’d better learn to like them; you’ll never win a championship if you can’t finish four races on the schedule.
12 Jeff Gordon 75 11
A Pepsi paint scheme can’t even get him to victory lane; at this point, what will?
13 Ryan Newman 70 15
If only Daytona and Talladega came 36 times a year…
14 David Ragan 58 NR
The sophomore seems more comfortable each week with the guidance of crew chief Jimmy Fennig.
15 Brian Vickers 43 NR
From borderline qualifier to Chase contender, all in just 12 short months!

Falling Out of the Rankings: Matt Kenseth (12), Martin Truex Jr. (14)

Also Receiving Votes: David Gilliland (39), Matt Kenseth (31), Casey Mears (30), Martin Truex Jr. (26), Kasey Kahne (24), Paul Menard (16), Jamie McMurray (14), Mark Martin (11), Travis Kvapil (11), Kurt Busch (8), Bobby Labonte (6), Robby Gordon (1)

Writers Voting This Week: Tom Bowles, Cami Starr, Mike Neff, Tony Lumbis, 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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