Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 Brickyard 400

And the winner of the first annual Indianapolis Heat Race is… Jimmie Johnson! OK, so maybe it was the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, but the way in which the race was controlled by NASCAR – with competition cautions held every 10 laps – they might as well have renamed it the Allstate 25. With so many stops and starts, it was difficult to gauge the worthiness of driver rankings after both the off week and the debacle that was Goodyeargate 2008. However, your dedicated staff at Frontstretch did their best to see through the cords and rubber dust and give you the best rankings they could possibly compile.

No matter what the circumstances, there’s no denying Brian Vickers and Kevin Harvick were two notable exceptions on Sunday, unfortunate recipients of poor finishes not related to tire failures at Indy. As a result, both tumbled precipitously in the rankings and in real life – both are on the outside looking in on the Chase. In the meantime, playoff contenders Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin used good finishes to claw their way back into our own Power Rankings system.

But just how far up did those two men climb? And would a 15th-place finish in his No. 18 Toyota be enough to cement Kyle Busch‘s hold on the top spot? To find out, simply read on below for this week’s rankings from Frontstretch.

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 (9) 198 1
His season of good fortune continues after missing three great opportunities to wreck on Sunday.
2 Carl Edwards 179 3
Would have won the race if there had simply been any way to run more than seven laps at the finish.
3 Jimmie Johnson (1) 176 5
Johnson and Chad Knaus won the race because Goodyear only shared the top-secret mysterious tire setup with the No. 48 team and nobody else. At least that’s what Jack Roush told us, anyway.
4 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 165 2
That early pit strategy by Tony Eury Jr. and resulting competition yellows were the undoing of what could have been a top-five finish.
5 Matt Kenseth 157 4
Dude, where’s my car?!
6 Tony Stewart 131 6
Good thing he got AJ Foyt’s car number for his new team this weekend; for after slapping officials and pushing guys around on Thursday, Stewart lived up to his hero’s legend in more ways than one.
7 Jeff Gordon 128 7
Second fiddle to Busch, second fiddle to Junior, second fiddle to Johnson. That’s not good for the Drive For Five.
8 Jeff Burton 122 8
Had he not Randy Johnsoned that bird on the frontstretch, you may have never seen him on TV this Sunday.
9 Kasey Kahne 110 11
Kahne’s post-race Indy PR quote: “I’m super sorry about the awful race this weekend.”
10 Greg Biffle 106 13
His Dish Network logo should have been changed from “Never Miss Everything” to “Go Ahead, Change the Channel!”
11 David Ragan 99 12
Crown Royal will look great on his car next year after Jamie Mac hits the bricks instead of kissing them.
12 Brian Vickers 98 9
Red Bull may give you wings, but it can’t give you bottom end bearings.
13 Denny Hamlin 78 NR
The brand new spokesperson for the SPEED show Wrecked – because nobody could have towed the company line better regarding the tire debacle at Indy.
14 Kevin Harvick 72 10
Harvick’s no longer the only man to win from the pole at Indy – nor is he the only driver to get wrecked by Kurt Busch.
15 Ryan Newman 51 NR
News flash, Ryan: Rusty Wallace still hates you.
Dropped Out: Clint Bowyer (14), Martin Truex Jr. (15)
Also Receiving Votes: Clint Bowyer (48), Elliott Sadler (41), Martin Truex Jr. (36), Mark Martin (29), Bobby Labonte (23), Kurt Busch (22), AJ Allmendinger (17), Jamie McMurray (6), Robby Gordon (3), Patrick Carpentier (2), David Gilliland (1), Juan Pablo Montoya (1), Casey Mears (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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