Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Southern 500

The Track Too Tough to Tame may have a new surface, but she’s that same old fickle girl. The rankings may not have taken a DNF at Darlington, but they certainly earned their stripe with the list all scrambled after 500 miles there Saturday night. Former champions are hogging the top of the charts, but as you’ll see this week, our experts didn’t ignore a promising rookie who survived the Lady in Black.

Read on to see if your driver stayed off of the wall or ended up in the minnow pond this weekend during the Southern 500.

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) Points

Previous Week

1 Tony Stewart (4) 154


  For perhaps the first time ever, nobody has asked him if he wishes he was somewhere else during the month of May.
2 Jeff Gordon (1) 149


  Collecting so many loose lug nuts as of late you would think he was Greg Biffle.
3 Jimmie Johnson 129


  Talk all you want about cracks in their armor, this team is still the one to beat – and last weekend proved it.
4 Mark Martin (2) 126


  Two wins in the last four races, with his best tracks of Lowe’s and Dover coming up. To quote Admiral Yamamoto – “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant. Who is 5’6.”  
5 Kurt Busch  126


  Turns out the Lady In Black is a wine drinker – ’cause all the beer cars got crumpled up and spit out.
6 Ryan Newman 121


  Top-five cars, fishing and representing the U.S. Army every weekend. They may want to add Old Milwaukee as a sponsor, because it doesn’t get any better than this.
7 Jeff Burton  109


  79 points out of fourth place in points, but we’re pretty sure the only time we’ve seen him on TV this year is in those Holiday Inn commercials.
8 Denny Hamlin 105


  The prime candidate for Farm Bureau Insurance the way bad luck seems to gravitate to the side of his Toyota.
9 Kyle Busch (1)



  Funny how you couldn’t beat the wall down with the car and still win this year like last year.
10 Matt Kenseth 84


  Remember when Drew Blickensderfer was the talk of the town? Now he’s just some doofy guy leading Kenseth’s career down the tubes.
11 Greg Biffle 82


  May have to use the “You wouldn’t hit a guy with braces, would you?” line with Carl during the next team meeting after getting into him at Darlington.
12 Carl Edwards 48


  At least he didn’t get suspended this weekend.
13 Juan Pablo Montoya 47


  He may not have gained any spots in the standings, but he didn’t lose any while those around him did.
14 Brad Keselowski 41


  Welcome to Hendrick, son. You may have finished seventh but you’re still fourth on the team.
15 Clint Bowyer 40


  Chances that you see Clint at some dirt track playing with some toy racecars in the sand this weekend, convinced he’s racing at Charlotte after that hit at Darlington: 78%.




Dropped Out: Marcos Ambrose (15)

Also Receiving Votes: David Reutimann (36), Martin Truex Jr. (34), Joey Logano (34), Brian Vickers (26), Marcos Ambrose (24), Kasey Kahne (18), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (13), Kevin Harvick (8), Sam Hornish Jr. (6), Bobby Labonte (4), Jamie McMurray (4), Reed Sorenson (4), AJ Allmendinger (2), Elliott Sadler (2), Paul Menard (1)

Who Voted: Tom Bowles, Mike Neff, Tony Lumbis, Kurt Smith, Bryan Davis Keith, Doug Turnbull, Vito Pugliese and Phil Allaway.


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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