Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 Sylvania 300 at Loudon

Now that the Chase is officially underway, the standings are becoming chock full of playoff contenders – and they don’t want to move much of anywhere. In fact, the first 12 drivers in this week’s rankings are all the ones eligible to win this year’s championship. However, just because the Chasers are filling the top of the charts doesn’t mean they aren’t moving around amongst themselves. As you might expect, Greg Biffle made the biggest jump after a surprising win at Loudon – climbing up a total of four spots. But just how close did the Biff come to placing number one? You’ll have to read below to find that out.

On the flip side, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth were the big losers this week – but how far did they fall down the list? And which driver came oh-so-close to landing themselves a postseason bid – but came up just short and slid out of the Frontstretch Power Rankings in the matter of just two weeks?

To find out the answers to all these pressing questions, check out the results of our Power Rankings poll after the Magic Mile at Loudon.

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 Jimmie Johnson (8) 194 1
It’s just like Pavlov and his dogs. As soon as the Chase comes around, Jimmie starts drooling and he’s ready to dominate.
2 Carl Edwards (1) 187 3
He’s never been happier to finish third; but at Dover, he’ll need to finish first.
3 Kevin Harvick 157 4
Trying really hard to make people care about him again and so far, it’s working.
4 Greg Biffle 154 8
“The horse rode today?” Biffle has undoubtedly been spending time at DW’s School of Irreverent Sayings. Next up – “That dog can hunt.”
5 Kyle Busch (1) 151 2
Two weeks ago, he had a lead of 208 points. Now, he’s 74 in arrears. Let’s ask Kyle what he thinks of the current Chase format. Kyle… Kyle?
6 Tony Stewart 148 6
Not heard over the radio on Sunday: “Way to go guy, that’s another one we lost in the driver’s seat this year. Good job.”
7 Denny Hamlin 147 5
Hamlin’s confidence should come with a FedEx label: “Handle with care.”
8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 146 7
Don’t you hate it when two good people are stuck in a bad marriage?
9 Jeff Burton 126 10
The darkhorse pick that has made a career out of top five-ing and top 10-ing the field to death made quite a statement on Sunday. This is one guy you can’t count out until he’s mathematically eliminated.
10 Clint Bowyer 106 11
Grew out of his Cinderella slipper this year.
11 Jeff Gordon 100 12
2007 Gordon during the beginning of the race on Sunday – but 2008 Gordon at the end.
12 Matt Kenseth 91 9
It doesn’t matter how bad your car is – if you get in a crash, you aren’t going to win.
13 David Ragan 66 13
Didn’t make the Chase; now, dropping like a stone.
14 David Reutimann 65 15
Seems to do better without the pressure of having to impress UPS for next year.
15 Martin Truex Jr. 55 NR
Still can’t understand why his “home” track is not in New Jersey. Oh well.
Dropped Out: Kasey Kahne (14)
Also Receiving Votes: Kurt Busch (54), Kahne (53), Mark Martin (24), Brian Vickers (16), Bobby Labonte (14), Travis Kvapil (12), Juan Pablo Montoya (11), Jamie McMurray (9), Casey Mears (8), Ryan Newman (6)
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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