Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Coca-Cola 600

While racing was supposed to be the focus at Charlotte, rain wound up being the headline. Since the Coca-Cola 600 was called short due to weather, the final standings were a jumbled mess of drivers who took a risk on the final pit stop to steal a good finish – leaving the fastest cars in the field scrambling for what little they could get.

With such a haphazard end to a Memorial Day race plagued by Mother Nature’s wrath, our voters seemed to be left unaffected by these random results. That left the Power Rankings mostly intact, although there were a few exceptions to the rule – in particular two drivers from mid-level teams who made some serious strides up the list. Who are they? Look below to find out, seeing if your driver stayed high and dry or wound up fighting a torrential downpour down the Power Rankings following Monday’s Coca-Cola 600.

Rank Driver (First-Place Votes) Votes Last Week
1 Tony Stewart (5) 195 1
Thank goodness FOX only has one more week covering races – otherwise, they would beat his “Billy Bad Butt” comment to a slow, agonizing death.
2 Jeff Gordon (2) 177 2
His bad back isn’t the only thing leading him to some agonizing finishes as of late.
3 Ryan Newman (3) 174 4
How great would it have been to see the Army car win on Memorial Day?
4 Kyle Busch 161 5
173 laps led and nothing to show for it… again? The only thing missing from Busch’s bad luck month of May was the Bad Boy temper tantrum that usually gets him double secret probation.
5 Jimmie Johnson 151 7
For the second week in a row, factors outside of their control sabotaged the No. 48 team. Three strikes and you’re out. Either that, or Chad Knaus starts to cheat.
6 Mark Martin 140 6
Mark Martin to Hendrick on Tuesday: “Dale Junior will get my crew chief when you pry him from my cold, dead hands.”
7 Kurt Busch 120 3
Not even torrential rains could clean the horrid paint scheme off Busch’s car – that’s when you know you’re doomed to fail.
8 Denny Hamlin 118 8
Started 13th, finished 11th, didn’t do anything spectacular or stupid. Sounds like a Denny Hamlin race to us.
9 Matt Kenseth 116 9
Roush may have lost its dominant grip on intermediate tracks, but Kenseth showed flashes of getting that loving feeling back.
10 David Reutimann 103 T-15
Well, it wasn’t like he was never going to win a race.
11 Carl Edwards 92 12
Should have known the car with a duck on it would do well on a day dominated by rain.
12 Juan Pablo Montoya 90 13
Sleeper pick for the Chase? Eh, probably not. Maybe he’ll get into a slap fight with Harvick again, though. That was fun.
13 Greg Biffle 83 11
Considering it was the site of his last win in September, the concrete of Dover’s Monster Mile can’t come soon enough for The Biff.
14 Jeff Burton 76 10
Last Fall, Burton ran circles around the competition at Lowe’s. This spring, everyone else simply ran circles around him. Need any more proof RCR is in a slump? No, we didn’t think so either.
15 Brian Vickers 62 NR
Needs to remind his pit crew there’s a big difference between drinking Red Bull and Red Bull Sugar Free before a stop.
Dropped Out: Joey Logano (14), Clint Bowyer (T-15)
Also Receiving Votes: Joey Logano (59), Kasey Kahne (47), Marcos Ambrose (22), Sam Hornish Jr. (22), Clint Bowyer (20), Martin Truex Jr. (15), Bill Elliott (13), Brad Keselowski (10), Robby Gordon (10), Bobby Labonte (8), Jamie McMurray (8), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (4), Kevin Harvick (3), Scott Speed (1)
Who Voted: Thomas Bowles, Ren Jonsin, Mike Neff, Tony Lumbis, Doug Turnbull, Matt Taliaferro, Vito Pugliese, Bryan Davis Keith, Phil Allaway and Kurt Smith


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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