Race Weekend Central

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

The tricky triangle in Pocono threw everything at the drivers but the kitchen sink. There was rain, a new double-file restart procedure and even a late-race fuel-mileage gamble thrown in for good measure. As you might expect, with that many variables the final running order was turned upside down after 500 miles of competition. But the one place where stability held was at the top; and after Tony Stewart‘s first win as an owner/driver, he did his best to solidify his reign atop our NASCAR Power Rankings.

But just how much of a lead did Stewart build over his competitors, and did any of the other fuel-mileage losers see an empty tank slow down their momentum? Read on to see if your driver’s stint in the Pennsylvania mountains was good enough to see him rise up in our Power Rankings this week.

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 Tony Stewart (10) 200 1
Leading the points and winning races before the official start of summer – which means the rest of the field is really in trouble.
2 Jimmie Johnson 187 2
“Whatcha doing, Jimmie?” “Saving fuel, Chad.” Apparently, it wasn’t enough….
3 Ryan Newman 176 3
Being the number two guy at Stewart-Haas seems to be working a whole lot better than being the number two guy at Penske.
4 Jeff Gordon 145 6
Replay of violent 2006 wreck at Pocono aired during the race telecast last Sunday. In case you’re wondering why his back is hurting him, there’s your answer.
5 Carl Edwards 142 9
Finally showing some signs of life, although his crew is heading towards the AFLAC Trivia Question of, “What team cost its driver the most wins throughout the course of a season?”
6 Greg Biffle 132 8
Going winless until September worked last year, so I guess you can’t blame the Biff for trying it all over again.
7 Mark Martin 127 5
Had a top-three car at Dover and finished ninth with it; had a top-five car at Pocono and ended up 19th. Pretty sure we know where Tony Eury Jr. ended up.
8 Kurt Busch 123 4
You know Dodge isn’t giving the money they used to when a water pump seizes up. We had that happen to us once… on a 1992 Pontiac Grand Prix with 140,000 miles on it.
9 Kyle Busch 121 10
Pete Townshend is in no danger of losing his day job.
10 Matt Kenseth 119 7
Who would have thought after going 2-for-2 to start the season, four months later Kenseth would be holding both of Roush Fenway’s only wins?
11 David Reutimann 108 11
Using creative ways to make 2009 a “Dream Season.”
12 Kasey Kahne 75 12
Last year’s winner, this year’s 15th-place finisher at Pocono… and thus concludes today’s lecture of “How far Kahne has fallen.” Any questions?
13 Juan Pablo Montoya 66 NR
Sailing the ship at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing even while everyone else is jumping off.
14 Denny Hamlin 58 13
We would have scored him lower, but that would just be mean after last weekend.
15 Jeff Burton 53 14
Finally didn’t run like a Caterpillar earth mover this past weekend.
Dropped Out: Joey Logano (15)
Also Receiving Votes: Sam Hornish Jr. (46), Marcos Ambrose (45), Clint Bowyer (31), Brian Vickers (31), Joey Logano (23), Martin Truex Jr. (18), Jamie McMurray (15), Casey Mears (13), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (11), Reed Sorenson (10), Robby Gordon (7), Joe Nemechek (5), Kevin Harvick (4), Tony Raines (3), AJ Allmendinger (2), David Ragan (2), Scott Riggs (2)
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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