Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 Pocono 500

The tricky triangle in Pennsylvania had several twists and turns for the Cup drivers this past weekend. Who left the track climbing up the Pocono mountains? Kasey Kahne, for one; he’s making believers out of our staff with his second win in three starts, and even secured a first-place vote again this week. And while Matt Kenseth isn’t in the top 12 in driver points, he remains within the top 12 of our poll.

But how about who’s sliding down the slopes? Kyle Busch‘s spin and subsequent last-place finish certainly took a few votes away… but was it enough to knock him out of the top spot? And what RCR driver’s recent on track travails have caused him to drop completely out of our Top 15? Read on to find out in the latest edition of our Power Rankings, and see if you agree or disagree with the choices of your favorite Frontstretch writers.

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) Votes Last Week
1 Kyle Busch (6) 189 1
First driver in NASCAR history to claim three crappy finishes in three different states on the same weekend.
2 Jeff Burton 181 3
Good thing he swerved at David Ragan on pit road and was in the same shot with Junior. Otherwise, you probably would have never seen him… even though he’s 21 points out of the championship lead!
3 Carl Edwards (3) 179 2
Should’ve consulted the duck about pit strategy; he’d have probably been better off.
4 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 172 4
The best car in the Hendrick stable… and people are suggesting Tony Eury Jr. should go. Guess they should be replacing Chad Knaus in short order as well.
5 Kasey Kahne (1) 147 9
Say what you will about the Bud-Kahne partnership, but no one can deny he’s given them more wins in one month than Junior did in three years.
6 Greg Biffle 137 5
Wonder how much his pit crew ridiculed him for screwing up on pit road.
7 Jeff Gordon 133 6
Apparently, this racing stuff really is harder than Gordon has made it look all of these years.
8 Jimmie Johnson 125 7
Chad the magician couldn’t pull a rabbit out of his hat this time – his road-course pit strategy wound up way off-course.
9 Matt Kenseth 121 10
That sound you hear is not an oncoming train; it’s the No. 17 team continuing to gain momentum.
10 Denny Hamlin 119 8
Apparently, the new car isn’t too temperamental if you crush the right-front fender.
11 Tony Stewart 75 11
On the verge of repeating Dale Jr.’s 2007 season – which means we should hear something on his future this week.
12 Brian Vickers 75 NR
If that stupid wheel stayed on at Lowe’s during the Coke 600, he’s looking at making the Chase right about now.
13 David Ragan 66 12
Pocono was a bit of a setback, but this team should start contending for wins once we get to tracks for the second time this summer.
14 Kevin Harvick 57 NR
If you look up the words “Chase vulnerability” in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of Harvick’s car for 2008.
15 Mark Martin 48 NR
Hoping if Michael Waltrip Racing can fit a recliner into a car, DEI can fit a rocking chair into his.
Dropped Out: Clint Bowyer (13), Martin Truex Jr. (14), Travis Kvapil (15)
Also Receiving Votes: Martin Truex Jr. (46), Travis Kvapil (40), Bobby Labonte (38), Kurt Busch (38), Clint Bowyer (36), Ryan Newman (32), Dave Blaney (27), David Reutimann (8), Jamie McMurray (4), David Gilliland (4), Juan Pablo Montoya (2), AJ Allmendinger (1)
Who Voted: Ren Jonsin, Tom Bowles, Cami Starr, Mike Neff, Kim DeHaven, Tony Lumbis, Matt Taliaferro, Vito Pugliese, Bryan Davis Keith and Doug Turnbull


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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