Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 Pepsi 500 at Fontana

California is a wide-open track with plenty of room to run. The drivers had to struggle with the sun as it was going down and ultimately struggled with making their cars handle as the track cooled off. The end result was Jimmie Johnson won the race and moved up two spots in the rankings this week as did Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer. But the biggest mover was Greg Biffle, climbing three spots from ninth to sixth. Tony Stewart was the biggest loser this week, dropping four spots while Dale Earnhardt Jr. slid three. To see if your driver was chillin’ in the sun or burnt by the California heat, check out the results 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) Points Last Week
1 Carl Edwards (6) 192 1
Want to know who is going to win the championship? We suggest you go “right to the source and ask the horse, he’ll give you the answer that you endorse…”
2 Kyle Busch (3) 189 2
Uncompetitive all night, yet still finishes seventh right behind his closest competitor. Now THAT’s what championships are made of.
3 Jimmie Johnson (1) 178 5
It’s September, which means the leaves start changing, football season officially begins – and Johnson starts to catch fire.
4 Kevin Harvick  161 4
People are talking about him as a title contender? Um… no.
5 Matt Kenseth 154 6
Speaking of title contenders, could Kenseth throw the NASCAR world out of whack again by winning a championship with… gasp… NO wins!!!???
6 Greg Biffle 152 9
One Doritos bag short of a win.
7 Tony Stewart 132 3
Summer is almost gone, and so are Tony’s title hopes.
8 Denny Hamlin 125 10
Things are on the upswing since Hamlin ditched the FedEx Office paint scheme.
9 David Ragan 115 8
Cali could have been better, and because of it, Richmond will spell the death knell for Ragan’s title hopes.
10 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 103 7
Starting to feel like a true Hendrick driver as he slips into Johnson’s shadow.
11 Clint Bowyer 97 13
Everyone is thinking Richmond is a no-brainer for Bowyer, which could very well cause him to come up snake eyes for the Chase.
12 Jeff Gordon 91 11
What are the chances of something unforeseen happening at Richmond, denying Gordon a spot in the Chase in the last race before it starts? With the way he has been running lately, probably pretty good.
13 Jeff Burton 80 12
Short of those Holiday Inn commercials, we’re not sure the last time we saw Burton on television.
14 Kasey Kahne 68 15
In true election year spirit, Kahne has been lobbying NASCAR to allow a “Fan Vote” into the Chase.
15 Brian Vickers 67 NR
This year has been a miraculous one for Vickers; now, if he can only win a race to make up for not sneaking into the Chase this year.

Dropping out: Jamie McMurray

Also receiving votes: Jamie McMurray (50), Ryan Newman (49), Martin Truex Jr. (26), David Reutimann (15), AJ Allmendinger (14), Mark Martin (10), Aric Almirola (8), Kurt Busch (6), Juan Pablo Montoya (5), Elliott Sadler (3), Bobby Labonte (3), Patrick Carpentier (3), Tony Raines (2), Ken Schrader (1), Regan Smith (1)

Writers voting this week: Ren Jonsin, Kim DeHaven, Cami Starr, Mike Neff, 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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