Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Food City 500 at Bristol

The fastest half-mile in the world at Bristol battered many of Cup’s top contenders and spit them out. Bad luck struck more than one competitor, most notably Greg Biffle, causing mechanical problems which dropped him out of the top 15 in our Power Rankings.

But every driver’s pain is someone else’s gain, and when the dust settled from Thunder Valley there were plenty of familiar faces still on top. Kyle Busch’s win moved him up three spots in the standings, but was it enough to knock Jeff Gordon off the top perch? Meanwhile, both men received a challenge from Jimmie Johnson, whose surprising third-place success at Bristol left him ready for an assault on the top five heading into a track at Martinsville he owns over the last few years.

So, which one of the three men above continues to remain on top of our rankings: Busch, Gordon or Johnson? Read on to find out, and see if your driver rode the new high groove to move up in the standings – or spun out off someone’s back bumper to move down in this week’s Power Rankings post-Bristol.

How the Rankings Are Calculated: Frontstretch does our power rankings somewhat similar to how the Associated Press does them for basketball or football – writers on 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 one batch of Power Rankings to serve to our fans.

Rank Driver (First-Place Votes) Votes Last Week
1 Jeff Gordon (6) 215 1
Has maintained Sprint Cup Series points lead over his three-time defending championship teammate – without having to grow an awkward, scruffy beard to do it.
2 Kyle Busch (4) 198 5
Wonder if he got a bill for having his car towed off the track on Saturday?
3 Clint Bowyer 191 4
Pretty sure nobody predicted this to happen. Makes you wonder what Bowyer could have done with either the No. 29 or No. 31 group the last couple of years.
4 Kurt Busch (1) 189 2
The Blues Brothers, they’re not; but the Busch Brothers are taking NASCAR by storm. No wonder why only two fans in the back row are applauding these days.
5 Carl Edwards 172 3
Perhaps he is taking the Jimmie Johnson/Chad Knaus approach to championship runs by laying low the first half, then clobbering the field when it counts.
6 Jimmie Johnson 140 10
Gillette Young Guns program firing blanks at that beard. Dude, seriously… it does not distract from your hair or the eyebrows. Shave already.
7 Matt Kenseth 136 6
Drew Blickensderfer… slipping back into sweet, sweet obscurity.
8 Tony Stewart 132 7
What is less gut wrenching? Dominating the race only to lose it in some whacked out manner… or just running kind of crappy all day long?
9 Kasey Kahne 129 12
Rollercoaster career appears to be on the upswing; now, rumors have it Budweiser may not return as a sponsor. That should signal the impending downturn.
10 Denny Hamlin 118 14
Is said to be upset that he only has a handful of wins at 28 years old. Well, at 28 years old, Mark Martin had zero wins. You only have 23 years to go, Denny.
11 David Reutimann 103 13
Let’s face it; good runs aren’t getting Reutimann camera time. He needs to emphasize that his father’s name is Buzzy and reap the exposure.
12 Brian Vickers 97 8
Coming home behind Scott Speed had to leave a bad taste in his mouth.
13 Kevin Harvick 97 9
Win on Saturday, run like Fido’s rear end on Sunday.
14 Jeff Burton 80 15
Struggling to find his new place in the pecking order after Bowyer stole his consistency tag away at RCR.
15 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 50 NR
Best answer to those who question his relationship with Tony Eury Jr.: “Why do you care? Shut up.”
Dropped Out: Greg Biffle (11)
Who Voted: Thomas Bowles, Ren Jonsin, Mike Neff, Tony Lumbis, Matt Taliaferro, Vito Pugliese, Bryan Davis Keith, Phil Allaway, Kurt Smith, Doug Turnbull and Danny Peters


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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