Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona

Daytona International Speedway once again played havoc with drivers over the Fourth of July weekend. As the action heated up late in the race, some couldn’t find help getting to the front, some couldn’t get out of their own way, and some simply couldn’t stomach 400 miles around the 2.5-mile superspeedway. Greg Biffle was one of those, pummeled in the standings after contact with Juan Pablo Montoya dropped him to a season-low 43rd-place finish.

But was that crash enough to knock Biffle out of this week’s Top 15 – or would Martin Truex Jr. be the odd man out following a 150-point penalty that all but eliminates him from the Chase? And then, there’s the small matter of Tony Stewart turning sickly; while JJ Yeley did an admirable job filling in, was a late-race wreck the final straw that took him outside our Power Rankings chart?

On the flip side, it’s no secret Kyle Busch further entrenched his hold on the top spot in our voting. But in a frantic finish at Daytona, what other wheelmen drafted up well enough to move up closer behind him? To find out more about where drivers stood once our writers took the plates off, read on for this week’s Power Rankings.

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 (8) 195 1
Superspeedways, Road courses, short tracks… but can Busch conquer a Figure-8? That’s what I want to know…
2 Carl Edwards (1) 187 2
Edwards has three second-place finishes to go along with his three wins. Why isn’t he leading the points with stats like that? The answer’s simple: all three of those seconds were to Busch.
3 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 177 4
True story: Junior hasn’t won a points-paying restrictor-plate race since the fall of 2004 at Talladega. Ouch.
4 Jeff Burton 162 3
Lost the race for being involved in the most caution flags by one to Ryan Newman.
5 Matt Kenseth (1) 156 6
Followed Busch instead of Edwards for the win? Treason! Traitor! A Benedict Arnold! Or, was the 2003 champ just simply trying not to wreck the entire field by weaving all over the racetrack? That’s more like Kenseth… although not quite the Hollywood plot we were all hoping for.
6 Jeff Gordon 146 5
Was overheard ordering duck for dinner Saturday night after the race.
7 Jimmie Johnson 128 7
Want the finishes for the No. 48 and No. 24 at Daytona this year? Daytona 500: 27th & 23rd. Saturday night: 39th & 30th. Man, even Scott Riggs thinks that’s whack.
8 Kasey Kahne 123 10
Hoping his luck at Chicago can turn around like the season has for him.
9 Brian Vickers 93 12
Just 112 points out of the top 12, but he better start stepping on the gas if he wants Cinderella to make it to the ball.
10 Tony Stewart 90 8
How sick did Stewart have to be to get out of his car when it was that good? After all, we’re talking about a man who soiled himself at Watkins Glen and still stuck with it.
11 Denny Hamlin 82 11
The FedEx Office paint scheme needs to be shelved if Hamlin wants to make the Chase – at least Newman’s already trying hard to make sure that gets done.
12 Clint Bowyer 81 T-15
As up and down as he’s been this year, Bowyer’s only 90 points out of sixth place.
13 David Ragan 78 T-15
Very glad that he didn’t have the Bill Buckner paint scheme this week during the frantic finish at Daytona.
14 Kurt Busch 71 NR
Helped his ex-teammate instead of his brother – while his ex-teammate’s current teammate was pushing Kurt’s younger brother instead of his teammate. Get that? Actually, it kind of sounds like NASCAR’s version of a Jerry Springer episode.
15 Greg Biffle 70 9
Good thing the Biff signed that contract extension just before the luck meter swung back to the bad side.
Dropped Out: Martin Truex Jr. (13), Kevin Harvick (14)
Also Receiving Votes: Kevin Harvick (60), Martin Truex Jr. (55), Bobby Labonte (30), Mark Martin (28), Ryan Newman (22), Travis Kvapil (19), Dave Blaney (13),David Gilliland (12), Casey Mears (6), Jamie McMurray (4), Robby Gordon (4), Paul Menard (3), Michael Waltrip (3), David Reutimann (2)
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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