Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2008 Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta

Carl Edwards made good on the promise that he showed at the beginning of the spring Atlanta race by taking the win this past weekend. Overshadowed by that performance, however, was a banzai run by Jimmie Johnson from 11th to second in the last eight laps of the race. That strength solidified the points leader’s place at the top of the Power Rankings, where he swept all of the first-place votes again this week.

Behind him, positions continue to swap like hotcakes as drivers scrape and claw for every spot they can get on the racetrack. Read this week’s rankings to see if our writers thought your driver has had that extra incentive to wheel it to the front with only three races left – or if he’s been slip-sliding his way right out 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 the 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 (10) 200 1
Jimmie may be the one crowned champion, but Chad Knaus is a stinking genius.
2 Carl Edwards 184 3
Winner’s check for Atlanta? $357,800. Finding out your championship rival finished right behind you on national television? Priceless.
3 Greg Biffle 167 2
10th place might as well be 40th when Johnson is running away with the Chase like he is.
4 Jeff Burton 143 4
Ironic that it was Bill Davis’s Caterpillar Toyota that bulldozed any hope of Burton’s championship chances. Talk about getting the last laugh…
5 Jeff Gordon 143 5
Running like butt when the car he “owns” is running away with the championship – that has to sting.
6 Matt Kenseth 137 8
Four top 10s, three wrecks, ninth in points. Yup, sounds about like a normal Kenseth playoff run to us.
7 Kevin Harvick 132 6
At least he beat Casey… oh, no… wait… he didn’t, son of a…
8 David Ragan 124 10
For what it’s worth, he owns 13th place.
9 Denny Hamlin 123 11
Two top-five finishes have Hamlin thinking he might salvage a spot on the New York stage just yet.
10 Clint Bowyer 114 7
If the series didn’t run on 1.5-mile tracks, Bowyer would be second instead of Edwards.
11 Tony Stewart 102 9
Not just throwing in the towel – throwing in the Old Spice towel.
12 Kyle Busch 93 13
Knows what the rest of the drivers must have felt like earlier in the season as Johnson blew by him during the last five laps.
13 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 92 12
Seen rerunning the last eight laps on his DVR in the motorhome over and over for Tony Jr., apparently pointing out the importance of pit strategy.
14 Jamie McMurray 71 NR
Making a mockery of the phrase, “too little, too late” every year now.
15 Kurt Busch 66 NR
The new Penske engine seems to be agreeing with the blue deuce.
Dropped Out: Casey Mears (14), Martin Truex Jr. (15)
Also Receiving Votes: Casey Mears (46), Martin Truex Jr. (32), AJ Allmendinger (32), Mark Martin (25), Bobby Labonte (15), Brian Vickers (15), Elliott Sadler (13), Ryan Newman (9), Juan Pablo Montoya (9), Kasey Kahne (4), Paul Menard (3), Robby Gordon (2), Scott Riggs (2), Reed Sorenson (1), Travis Kvapil (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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