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Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma

The twists and turns of Sonoma, Calif. resulted in several twists to our rankings. One twist that got even tighter once again was Tony Stewart’s death grip on the top spot in our Power Rankings. This week’s winner was one of the three big movers up this week in the rankings, actually moving into the top 10 from outside the top 15. Running off of the asphalt not only hurt the fortunes of several competitors this week, but they also stubbed their splitters in our rankings. Check out our Power Rankings to see if your driver scored a vintage bottle full of points or a jug of vinegar during his trip to Wine Country in California. 

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 (10) 200 1
  Heating up more and more as the summer gets here. Hope he doesn’t flame out when the Chase gets here.
2 Jimmie Johnson  185 2
  Figures Johnson will master road racing about the time NASCAR decides to put one in the Chase.
3 Jeff Gordon 176 3
  The new car and Jeff Gordon are not meshing very well on road courses, but he’s still sold more wine than Stewart has BBQ sauce.
4 Carl Edwards 146 5
  It was a road course, what did you want? Backflips?
5 Mark Martin 138 4
  Winning is the worst thing for this team in 2009. They have followed up their three wins with 43rd-, 17th- and 35th-place finishes at Talladega, Charlotte and Sonoma respectively.
6 Juan Pablo Montoya 135 11
  He’ll never be this high in the rankings again, but it’s a hell of a few good races here for the best Colombian in NASCAR.
7 Kurt Busch 130 8
  Would have loved to see what would have happened if Busch started ripping Johnson a new you know what in his TNT interview while Jimmie quietly lurked in the background.
8 Denny Hamlin 125 13
  JGR just might have something figured out with these new cars and road courses when Eeyore is leading a road race
9 Ryan Newman 117 6
  So maybe Newman isn’t as good of a road racer as we were all led to believe.
9 Kasey Kahne 117 NR
  Gas prices are high, tensions are high overseas and Richard Petty is in victory lane. Holy crap, how did it get to be the early 1970s again???
11 Greg Biffle 112 7
  Only one more road race left this season and that’s one too many for Biffle.
12 Matt Kenseth 87 10
  Matt Kenseth is to road courses as Martin is to restrictor-plate racing.
13 Kyle Busch 78 9
  Busch’s car looked like one of the Transformers after a long, drawn-out fight.
14 Marcos Ambrose 57 NR
  This guy could catch lightning in a bottle and squeak into the Chase.
15 Clint Bowyer 55 14
  Jump starting his season after hearing that Childress could be down to two teams next year.    

Falling out: David Reutimann, Jeff Burton 

Also receiving votes: Brian Vickers (51), David Reutimann (46), Jamie McMurray (42), Jeff Burton (35), Elliott Sadler (17), Joey Logano (12), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (11), AJ Allmendinger (11), Martin Truex Jr. (8), Sam Hornish Jr. (4), David Ragan (2), Max Papis (1), Patrick Carpentier (1), Kevin Harvick (1)

Writers voting this week: Thomas Bowles, Ren Jonsin, Mike Neff, Tony Lumbis, Matt Taliafero, Kurt Smith, Bryan Davis Keith, Vito Pugliese, Doug Turnbull 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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