Total chaos on the double-file restarts. Jeff Burton visibly mad. And Mark Martin actually experiencing good luck! Chicago had more than its share of strange moments late in the race, ones that resulted in quite a shakeup in the rankings.
Despite finishing fourth, Tony Stewart’s impenetrable hold on the top spot actually slipped; but who is it that made a dent in his armor? Meanwhile, Martin’s assault on the AARP recordbook in NASCAR gave him a boost in this week’s poll, but just how high did he rise? Check this week’s rankings from our experts to find out which drivers escaped the melees to gain ground, along with which ones were blown right out of the Power Rankings by their struggles in the Windy City.
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.
|FRONTSTRETCH TOP-15 POWER RANKINGS: JULY 15, 2009|
|Rank||Driver (First-Place Votes)||Votes||Last Week|
|1||Tony Stewart (9)||197||1|
|Is owning his own team really so hard that he’s whoring himself out to Danica Patrick?|
|2||Jimmie Johnson (1)||187||2|
|Firmly believes that Jeff Gordon is the reason he slid into Kurt Busch. Note he also believes in the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and that the Zapruder film indicts Oswald.|
|Appears to be playing second fiddle to Martin after doing so to Johnson the last three years.|
|Continuing to write the book in how to get snakebit for a victory in every way possible.|
|You’d think the AARP would have put him on the cover of at least ONE of their issues by now, right?|
|Good thing Stewart left Home Depot, otherwise we don’t know where the heck Busch would be shopping for home improvement stuff in the off week.|
|7||Juan Pablo Montoya||135||6|
|How do you say Lucky Dog in Spanish?|
|Y’know the Allstate girls were happy to see Kahne run well in their home city.|
|Cousin Carl is halfway to a winless season. Is that even remotely a possibility?|
|Still knocking at the door for a win, but his team owner won’t let him to the front of the line.|
|Competing for the “next driver to be Ken Schrader” award. Maybe he fit in with the old No. 25 car better than he thought.|
|Perhaps RCR’s only hope for the Chase at this point as the rest of the organization crumbles without him.|
|Imagine how Kyle feels knowing that the guy who just passed him for most wins in 2009 is more than twice his age and drives the car he could not wait to vacate.|
|14||Marcos Ambrose||71||T – 15|
|Your next first-time winner in Sprint Cup at Watkins Glen next month. You heard it here first.|
|Waiting for rumors to begin blaming new daughter Kaylin as the reason for his slowing season, much like the ones Gordon endured last year.|
|Dropped Out: Greg Biffle (11), David Reutimann (14), Joey Logano (T-15)|
|Also Receiving Votes: David Reutimann (62), Greg Biffle (51), Joey Logano (41), Jeff Burton (22), Elliott Sadler (14), AJ Allmendinger (13), Jamie McMurray (12), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (10), Martin Truex Jr. (7), Regan Smith (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.