Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 NASCAR Banking 500 at Charlotte

NASCAR came home for the only night race of the playoffs Saturday, overseeing a coronation of the Lowe’s Motor Speedway “King” for the first time in four years. Dominating for a second straight week in the Chase, Jimmie Johnson once again took the checkered flag at the track with his sponsor’s name to solidify his hold on the championship. Johnson’s victory also sealed his stamp on the Power Rankings, giving him all of the first place votes as well as a second and third from one contributor who feels the No. 48 team is running so well right now, they’re that far ahead of the competition.

But what about the chaos behind our points leader? Unlike last week, only three drivers maintained the same position in our poll as the underdogs ruled at Lowe’s – in fact, just four Chasers finished the night in the top 10 while many top contenders fell flat on their face. Were any of the one-week wonders able to crack inside our Power Rankings? Read our latest edition below to find out.

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 Jimmie Johnson (9) 217 1
It’s not over until the fat la… wait, what’s that? Chad Knaus already made her sing? Never mind. It’s over.
2 Jeff Gordon 166 4
Waiting for the Gordon “Behind The Wheel” special where he’s filmed looking at a picture of Johnson, staring at an empty trophy case, and downing a bottle of scotch every night. It’s coming.
3 Mark Martin 158 2
Saturday night wasn’t a total choke, but there was definitely a severe cough.
4 Tony Stewart 141 5
After complaints from fellow drivers, Stewart will be hooked up to polygraph machines this week to see if he really likes Old Spice Deodorant.
5 Kurt Busch 138 6
An admirable showing so far with an MIA crew chief and a manufacturer that doesn’t even know its status for 2010.
6 Juan Pablo Montoya 136 3
Who knew Juan Pablo’s Kryptonite would be a Count with a chocolate fetish?
7 Kasey Kahne 118 12
Restarted like the Anti-Hornaday Saturday night.
8 Ryan Newman 100 10
So the good Transformer lost to the bad Transformer. Guess cartoons really aren’t real!
 T-9 Greg Biffle 95 8
If Todd Bodine‘s the “Cue Ball,” can we start calling Biffle “The Pinball?” Pretty please?
T-9 Matt Kenseth 95 11
Matt doesn’t agree, but missing the Chase could be the best thing that ever happened to wake up this team.
11 Denny Hamlin 80 7
Just give up and quit. It’s too hard.
12 Kyle Busch 76 T-13
Pink M&M’s are tasty but not fast.
13 Clint Bowyer 75 T-13
Screw Cheerios! Looks like Bowyer’s found his extra special formula to gain extra speed: Marshmallows.
14 Carl Edwards 67 9
Not only was the No. 99 out to lunch at Lowe’s, it was a full seven-course affair.
15 Casey Mears 59 T-15
If this racing thing doesn’t work out, he’ll do well in corporate America. After all, he always does just enough not to get fired.
Dropped Out: Brian Vickers (T-15)
Also Receiving Votes: David Reutimann (36), Joey Logano (31), Brian Vickers (29), Kevin Harvick (23), Marcos Ambrose (18), Brad Keselowski (11), Martin Truex Jr. (9), Jeff Burton (8), David Ragan (3), David Stremme (2)
Who Voted: Thomas Bowles, Mike Neff, Tony Lumbis, Doug Turnbull, Matt Taliaferro, Vito Pugliese, Bryan 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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