Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2010 Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville

Fans had to wait an extra day for one of the most exciting finishes in a while, but it was definitely worth it. Denny Hamlin was once again victorious in his home state, good enough to move him back into the Power Rankings just before he goes under the knife for a torn ACL.

Back in the garage, Kevin Harvick’s burnt up brakes cost him the lead in the points while an old familiar name assumed that spot. But with a shocking ninth-place finish at Martinsville (after winning five of the last eight races there), did Jimmie Johnson do enough for our experts to vote him number one on our list?

That’s just one of many questions after a crazy 500-lapper, with blown tires, bad brakes (and breaks), along with a wild ending shaking up both the Sprint Cup standings and our poll. Read below to find out which drivers were able to push their way through the field to the top of our Power Rankings, and which ones fell victim to the madness of Martinsville’s Monday matinee.

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 (10) 217 1
Chad Knaus instructed his driver not to worry about speeding, since he couldn’t get caught in the sector near his pit box. Makes you wonder what else is on the No. 48 that can’t get caught.
2 Matt Kenseth 191 4
18th in the race, but number one in the Jeff Gordon hater club.
3 Kevin Harvick 180 2
Luck hasn’t been the same at Martinsville ever since his styrofoam caught on fire.
4 Greg Biffle 161 5
Top 10s coming out like a Pez dispenser for the No. 16.
5 Jeff Gordon 159 T-10
Gordon might feel bad about slamming into Kenseth after he looks at the tape and sees Hamlin tagged the No. 17. That, or he might just shove him with his helmet on again like he did at Bristol in ’06.
6 Kurt Busch (1) 156 3
There’s just something about rural Virginia that seems to turn Kurt back into the whiny little brat he used to be.
7 Jeff Burton 154 7
Flat tire while running second with less than 10 laps to go? The perfect step in his training routine to be NASCAR’s next “Mark Martin” once Mark retires.
8 Clint Bowyer 121 14
Bowyer’s the equivalent of this year’s “Forgotten Man;” no one ever mentions him, but there he is finishing in the top 10 every week. Is that why he’s suddenly forgotten to cut his hair, too?
9 Tony Stewart 114 6
The No. 14 at Martinsville reminded many of the old saying, “Couldn’t find his ass with both hands.”
10 Mark Martin 89 T-12
Spoilers not the only throwback from a bygone era that’s returned. Martin’s horrific luck is center stage, and exploding temporal vein poised to make comeback as well.
11 Carl Edwards 88 T-12
Left Martinsville without threatening to punch someone – a good day for his second race on double-secret probation.
12 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 87 8
McGrew seen coming out of Barnes and Noble after the Martinsville race with “Top-100 Insults” book after failing to motivate Earnhardt to the top 10 this weekend.
13 Joey Logano 84 NR
Being the most recent driver in the field to have actually played “Follow the Leader” actually paid off this weekend.
14 Paul Menard 82 T-10
Found out the best way to stick inside the Chase is to knock all the drivers in front of him out of the way. It’s a very effective strategy until you realize they’re your own teammates.
15 Denny Hamlin 71 NR
Why did he drive like a madman on Monday? When Casey Mears is going to be your sub, you know to collect as many points as possible before going under the knife.
Dropped Out: Kyle Busch (9), Jamie McMurray (15)
Also Receiving Votes: Kyle Busch (62), Brian Vickers (42), Martin Truex Jr. (41), Ryan Newman (39), Brad Keselowski (36), Juan Pablo Montoya (32), Jamie McMurray (29), Kasey Kahne (18), Marcos Ambrose (16), Scott Speed (14), Sam Hornish Jr. (11), David Reutimann (8), AJ Allmendinger (3), David Gilliland (2), Casey Mears (2), Terry Cook (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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