Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2010 Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta

The No. 2 car of Kurt Busch managed to win a race, but it was two other stories that stole the show this weekend at Atlanta. Carl Edwards made payback on superspeedways an acceptable behavior, while Goodyear once again brought a tire to the track that failed to perform as expected for nearly one-third of the field. The tire problems and the melee during the first green/white/checkered finish managed to jumble up the field, making life hard on our experts to settle on a solid order this week.

Fortunately for Busch, the one thing our poll voters agreed on was his win deserved a reward – causing a higher-than-normal bump in the standings. Just how far up the ladder did Busch climb? How far did the RCR trio fall after an awful week? And did Jimmie Johnson give up his spot atop the poll after a 12th-place finish? Check out this week’s Power Rankings to see if your driver made the right moves or fell victim to some bad skins.

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 (7) 209 1
Even when the entire Hendrick organization has bad luck, Johnson still has that four-leaf clover attached to his hip.
2 Kevin Harvick (4) 200 2
For someone whose nickname is Happy, check out his driver photo on NASCAR.com. It’s the most annoying look we’ve ever seen for a guy who’s leading the points in both the Cup and Nationwide series.
3 Matt Kenseth 178 4
From diaper training to hard liquor 101 – Kenseth seen taking Edwards into his hauler for some primary sponsor sampling after Atlanta.
4 Greg Biffle 158 8
Four top-10 finishes in four races and still no one’s talking about him. Looks like he’s going to have to flip a driver, fire a crew chief or both to get noticed at Roush.
T-5 Mark Martin 142 3
Suffered two blown tires and restarted in 32nd twice, then drove it back up into the top 10 only to get plowed into and stuffed head on into the wall with three to go. Kenseth had his old-school paint scheme – Martin had his old-school luck back.
T-5 Kurt Busch 142 12
In typical big brother fashion, Kurt can now brag to Kyle that Steve likes him better.
7 Clint Bowyer 134 5
Proving once again his car runs faster on Cheerios.
8 Jeff Burton 126 7
Out of everyone inside the sport, we’re positive he’d have handled the Brad Keselowski situation a little bit differently.
9 Tony Stewart 125 9
Wonders why Carl didn’t just slap a reporter to take out his frustration.
10 Jeff Gordon 119 6
His fans this week will have to stop burning Steve Letarte effigies – time to take after their role model and burn up their own set of Goodyear tires instead.
11 Juan Pablo Montoya 97 NR
Secret, never-before-seen Tweet after Juan saw the Carl-Brad fracas: “Crazy Americans!!!”
12 Kasey Kahne 84 NR
Can’t believe he finished fourth and only gained 10 points on Paul Menard.
13 Joey Logano 77 10
Can’t finish in the top 10 EVERY race… geesh, who does this teenager think he is? Jeff Gordon?
14 Paul Menard 75 NR
Running considerably better since he had whatever that was on his chin removed.
15 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 70 NR
Actually salvaged a good day out of a bad one for a change. Small steps.
Dropped Out: Carl Edwards (11), Kyle Busch (13), David Reutimann (14), Jamie McMurray (15)
Also Receiving Votes: Carl Edwards (67), Kyle Busch (66), Scott Speed (65), David Reutimann (34), Jamie McMurray (25), AJ Allmendinger (24), Ryan Newman (21), Brian Vickers (19), Marcos Ambrose (18), Brad Keselowski (14), Denny Hamlin (13), Sam Hornish Jr. (4), Martin Truex Jr. (1), Regan Smith (1), David Gilliland (1), Bill Elliott (1)
Writer Voting Panel: Phil Allaway, Brock Beard, Thomas Bowles, Bryan Davis Keith, Tony Lumbis, Mike Neff, John Potts, Vito Pugliese, Mike Ravesi, Kurt Smith and Matt Taliaferro


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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