Things at Texas happen fast these days, leaving the margin of error slim to none on what’s become the sport’s speediest track. From Kyle Busch cutting a tire to Carl Edwards having trouble on pit road, too many of the sport’s biggest superstars discovered that answer too little, too late.
The end result was a major shakeup in our poll this week, with our experts dropping no less than three drivers right out of the rankings. Luckily for Jeff Gordon, he already knew the dangers – 0-for-16 for his career in the Lone Star State entering Sunday – and was finally able to put the bad karma behind him in streaking to his first victory of 2009.
But was Gordon’s come from behind win enough to leave him on top of our list? Read on to find out in the latest edition of our Top 15.
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.
|FRONTSTRETCH TOP-15 POWER RANKINGS: APRIL 8, 2009|
|Rank||Driver (First-Place Votes)||Votes||Last Week|
|1||Jeff Gordon (10)||219||1|
|Rick Hendrick wasn’t at the race Sunday and his phone call to Gordon broke up in victory lane. I bet he wishes Jeff didn’t have Sprint.|
|Now up to second in points after finishing second in the rankings to Gordon on Sunday. Johnson is still a substantial amount behind his teammate, but coming on strong – just like he did in the last 10 laps on Sunday.|
|You know, if you include Stewart, you could say Dale Earnhardt Jr. is fifth on the Hendrick totem pole. How’s THAT to infuriate Junior Nation?|
|4||Kurt Busch (1)||169||7|
|If we all talked to our boss here at Frontstretch the way Busch did to Roger Penske on the radio last week at Martinsville, well, let’s just say we wouldn’t get a paycheck.|
|Wanted! Replacements for Edwards’s injured pit crew members. Ability not to buckle under pressure a MUST.|
|When RCR gets to cookie cutters, man does their cookie crumble.|
|Kyle had contact with John Andretti, cutting a tire in the process. It was a weird incident – almost like it was intentional.|
|When’s the next short-track race?|
|When’s he’s good, he’s good. When he’s bad, run for cover.|
|If Reutimann only played four square as a kid, he’d have figured out how to park that car within the white lines. We guarantee it.|
|Hey, look! Jeff Burton scored a top 15. What a surprise.|
|Looked like the Biffle of old this weekend… and so did his team on pit road.|
|Dear Mr. Gillett, can we please start using the new Dodge motor? XOXO, BFF Kasey.|
|Everything in Texas is big; but to Martin’s dedicated bunch of loyalists across the country, a fifth Annual Fan Appreciation day in Arkansas will wind up being far bigger this week.|
|He was running at the finish – that’s about all you can say for this past weekend.|
|T-15||Juan Pablo Montoya||65||NR|
|Making the Chase as a one-car team? The way things are going, Montoya might be trying to do that come September.|
|Dropped Out: AJ Allmendinger (12), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (13), Ryan Newman (14)|
|Also Receiving Votes: Brian Vickers (60), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (45), Ryan Newman (42), AJ Allmendinger (19), Jamie McMurray (14), David Stremme (11), Michael Waltrip (9), Martin Truex Jr. (7), Marcos Ambrose (6), Bobby Labonte (3), Paul Menard (2), David Ragan (1)|
|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.