Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega

The wildcard that is restrictor-plate racing at Talladega certainly mixed up our rankings as much as it mixed up the standings. The Big Ones led to big changes for our experts, as multiple drivers received first-place votes and just two of 15 stayed in the same position that they occupied last week. The race ended with a first-time winner in victory lane this weekend… and when the dust settled on this week’s poll, there was a first-time member on our list, too.

Read on to see if your driver survived Sunday’s rollercoaster ride, landing firmly in this week’s edition of the Frontstretch Power Rankings.

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 Kurt Busch (5) 189 4
With little fanfare and only one victory to date, the blue deuce returns to the top of the standings.
2 Jeff Gordon (2) 169 1
At least Darrell finished more than seven laps in 1983 without wrecking. Might want to rethink the throwback paint scheme next time.
3 Tony Stewart (1) 165 2
Maybe he’s saving that first win for a little later down the schedule at some flat track there in Indiana.
4 Jimmie Johnson 164 3
Had dodged so many wrecks at Talladega, we thought the bank had offered him unlimited ATM withdrawals before finally getting smashed to pieces on lap 179.
5 Carl Edwards 153 7
Forget the backflips; no matter what Edwards does this year or the rest of his career, he will forever be defined by that wreck on Sunday.
6 Denny Hamlin 149 6
Given the race’s “Mr. Nice Guy” Award after helping to push several drivers to the front.
7 Greg Biffle 123 11
Hit or miss on plate tracks, this weekend was a hit for the Biff.
8 Kyle Busch 110 5
Rule #73: Don’t piss off Jeff Burton.
9 Jeff Burton 106 13
Captain Safety is doing his part to prevent blocking from becoming accepted in NASCAR.
10 Mark Martin 101 10
Could not be more appropriate that the champion of poor luck follows up a win with a last-place finish.
11 Clint Bowyer 87 8
Continued his streak of no DNFs, but after putt-putting around on the white-flag lap, should it come with an asterisk attached?
12 David Reutimann 84 10
Didn’t beat the boss, didn’t beat Marcos Ambrose; but hey, he didn’t try and tear down the catchfence, either.
13 Ryan Newman 80 NR
“Hey Carl, is that a 12 bolt rear end?”
14 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 71 NR
Can second place at a track he dominates give this team the momentum it needs? Find out Saturday night in the latest edition of “As The Junior Turns…”
T-15 Matt Kenseth 58 14
Just happy he finished right side up on all four tires Sunday.
T-15 Brad Keselowski (1) 58 NR
If it was hard for Keselowski to believe he won a Sprint Cup race, just think how excited he’ll feel when finding out he made the Frontstretch rankings.
Dropped Out: Kasey Kahne (12), Brian Vickers (15)
Also Receiving Votes: Marcos Ambrose (53), Juan Pablo Montoya (44), Brian Vickers (44), Kasey Kahne (38), Kevin Harvick (31), Martin Truex Jr. (9), AJ Allmendinger (7), Jamie McMurray (6), Reed Sorenson (5), Sam Hornish Jr. (3), Bobby Labonte (2), Michael Waltrip (2), David Stremme (2), Joey Logano (2), David Ragan (1), Scott Speed (1)
Who Voted: Thomas Bowles, Ren Jonsin, Mike Neff, Tony Lumbis, Matt Taliaferro, Vito Pugliese, Bryan Davis Keith, Phil Allaway, Kurt Smith 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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