Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 Sharpie 500 at Bristol

Bristol’s new variable banking has given drivers the option to pass without having to wreck a guy on the racetrack. But as Carl Edwards showed us Saturday night, the bump and run can still be the only option if the car in front is just good enough to keep you behind. Ensuring that move remains alive and well, Edwards’s shove of Kyle Busch was enough to move him into the top spot in our Power Rankings this week, displacing Busch for the first time since Richmond in May.

But while Edwards was singing Bristol’s praises, other drivers were riding their own bumps and bruises all the way down the list. This week, we saw two drivers fell out while two more slipped in – with one Chase hopeful working his way back to the top 10 for the first time in weeks. Who is he? You’ll have to read below to find out in this week’s edition of our 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 Carl Edwards (6) 196 2
Edwards sure knew how to bump – but he better know how to run away from Busch in the final 12 races to come.
2 Kyle Busch (4) 193 1
Love or hate the Busch Brothers, they are as quick with a word and wit as they are with a wheel. How great was that “Mr. Ed” rip on Edwards after Bristol on Saturday night? Almost as good as Kurt’s, “That decrepit old has been… I guess never was been is more appropriate” blast on Jimmy Spencer.
3 Tony Stewart 166 4
Reminding the world Joey Logano hasn’t inherited the Home Depot ride just yet.
4 Kevin Harvick 156 5
Hard to imagine Harvick contending for a title, but his four top 10s in August have left him impossible to ignore.
5 Jimmie Johnson 149 3
If California doesn’t go well, his position as a frontrunner for the Chase may suddenly be on shaky ground once again.
6 Matt Kenseth 143 8
Offered Busch $50 to kick Carl’s ass for him.
7 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 129 6
Apparently wanted to prove to Junior Nation that Tony Eury isn’t the only one who can do stupid things at the racetrack.
8 David Ragan 121 9
Surprising top 10 at Bristol leaves him in position for perhaps the biggest surprise Chase bid in five years.
9 Greg Biffle 116 7
If it wasn’t for Jamie McMurray, he’d be the runt dog on the Roush porch – despite being seventh in the standings.
10 Denny Hamlin 110 T – 12
May be singing Kum Ba Yah with the team this week, but after California he could be on suicide watch once again.
11 Jeff Gordon 107 10
Jealous that Edwards’s bump-and-run looked much smoother than his own previous efforts at Bristol.
12 Jeff Burton 86 11
Looking more like Ward Burton than Jeff as of late.
13 Clint Bowyer 71 NR
Who knew messing up the right-front fender was all this team would need to fix their handling problems this year?
14 Jamie McMurray 68 NR
Still the worst driver at Roush… and soon to be the worst driver at Yates.
15 Kasey Kahne 55 12
Kasey, we’re super sorry about your championship hopes going down the toilet. However, we did predict this would happen about a month ago.
Dropped Out: Martin Truex Jr. (14), Brian Vickers (15)
Also Receiving Votes: Brian Vickers (53), Ryan Newman (44), Elliott Sadler (39), Martin Truex Jr. (34), Mark Martin (28), Aric Almirola (11), Kurt Busch (9), AJ Allmendinger (5), Juan Pablo Montoya (3), Bobby Labonte (2), Ken Schrader (2), Tony Raines (2), Travis Kvapil (1), Regan Smith (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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