Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 Amp Energy 500 at Talladega

Blown tires, Big Ones, passes below the yellow line… Talladega had it all this fall. No question about it, the race routinely regarded as the biggest wild card of the Chase lived up to all its expectations, with more than half the title contenders caught up in accidents – some of their own making.

But one driver in particular made it through the carnage unscathed; and despite running like he was towing an anchor at the finish, Jimmie Johnson did what he had to do to put a third title firmly within his grasp. It also increased his lead in the Frontstretch Power Rankings, making him a clear favorite to end the year on top.

Behind him, the shuffling was as fast and furious as the Talladega draft – and two drivers got left behind. Read on to see if your driver made the slingshot move towards the front of our list, or if his fortunes were swept up by disaster in this week’s Power Rankings.

P.S. – Voter and Frontstretch Assistant Editor Bryan Davis Keith wanted to make it known that Regan Smith was wronged by NASCAR; as a result, he voted him first in his list this week. It wasn’t enough to get Smith in the top 15, but hey, at least someone tried to give him a trophy!

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
As Carl Edwards spun out, replays showed the championship trophy popping out of his car and right into Johnson’s lap.
2 Greg Biffle 175 3
Writing a nice little reminder about not bumping in the corners on a 3M Post-It note to stick on Carl’s dash.
3 Carl Edwards 173 2
Triggered the Big One by bump drafting in the middle of the corner. Johnson used to have that same problem; oh well, at least he’s in good company.
4 Kevin Harvick 160 4
Kept his DNF streak alive against the odds. His title hopes? Not so much.
5 Jeff Burton 150 6
Guy finishes fourth and is now less than 100 points out of first. Bet you actually had to look that up, because nobody ever shows him on TV.
6 Tony Stewart 143 11
Easily confused with a jar of pickles in that awful racing suit this weekend.
7 Clint Bowyer 133 8
Having reached his high water mark in the Chase, the intermediate tracks will crush Bowyer’s hopes from here on out.
8 Matt Kenseth 125 5
So much for hiring Kimbo Slice to kick Carl’s ass.
9 Jeff Gordon 106 7
Just having a year where he’s in the wrong place at the wrong time… with the wrong car.
10 David Ragan 104 13
Continues to confound the pundits with his plate-racing skills.
11 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 100 9
Experiment with turbo boost rocket engines in the trunk was not such a good idea after all.
12 Denny Hamlin 88 10
That hit hurt a lot worse than trying to cut his hand off horsing around at the Charlotte tire test.
13 Kyle Busch (1) 84 12
When your best race of the Chase is finishing with a car in pieces, you know your season has quickly turned sour.
14 Elliott Sadler 42 NR
The start/finish line at ‘Dega sure looks a lot better on all four wheels.
15 Casey Mears 33 NR
At least he didn’t dump his teammate this weekend.
Dropped Out: David Reutimann (14), AJ Allmendinger (15)
Also Receiving Votes: Mark Martin (31), Bobby Labonte (31), David Reutimann (30), Regan Smith (1) (27), Paul Menard (25), Kasey Kahne (21), Brian Vickers (16), Martin Truex Jr. (15), Ryan Newman (15), Aric Almirola (14), Kenny Wallace (13), AJ Allmendinger (8), Robby Gordon (7), Kurt Busch (6), Juan Pablo Montoya (6), Travis Kvapil (4), Ken Schrader (4), Scott Riggs (3)
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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