Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2010 Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 at Pocono

They call it the Tricky Triangle for a reason, and a serious last-lap melee involving eight cars was the latest Pocono pitfall that knocked out a number of top contenders late. Among those taking hits on the track and in the Power Rankings included Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Kasey Kahne and Martin Truex Jr., creating a long line of crumpled machines and hurt feelings at the end of Sunday’s 500-mile marathon.

Steering clear of those issues and a Twilight Zone-style ending, Denny Hamlin once again showed his skills on a flat track by scoring his fourth win of the year and the fourth of his career in the Pocono Mountains. Was assuming the series lead in wins enough to edge him into the lead in this week’s Power Rankings? Or was Kyle Busch’s best finish ever at Pocono, runner-up, enough for him to hold first place in the poll?

There’s also the small matter of their tough-talking teammate, Joey Logano. After an on-track brouhaha turned off-track shouting match with Kevin Harvick, does he get extra votes for showing the fire that burns deep inside after the end of the race? Read this week’s Power Rankings to see if our experts gave the Gibbs boys their just reward after a wacky final few miles up in northeast Pennsylvania.

Rank Driver (First-Place Votes) Votes Last Week
1 Kyle Busch (4) 189 1
Not only had a great day at Pocono, but wasn’t the JGR driver pointing fingers and yelling obscenities after the checkered flag. New Kyle Busch, anyone?
2 Denny Hamlin (1) 180 4
No wonder he struggles in the Chase. He’s used to winning on tracks with three turns instead of four.
3 Kurt Busch (2) 179 2
So out to lunch at Pocono, he took a detour to central Jersey before coming back just in time to score a sixth-place finish. That’s how you contend for a championship.
4 Kevin Harvick (2) 173 3
Bet that wasn’t the first time Kevin has been reminded that DeLana wears the firesuit in the family.
5 Jimmie Johnson (1) 143 7
Yep, Jimmie’s really struggling alright – and he’s got the wins and top-five finishes to prove it.
6 Matt Kenseth 136 6
Following the new Ford slogan to a T: Sell on Monday, Suck on Sunday.
7 Jeff Gordon 127 5
If he’d been running worth a crap, he wouldn’t have been apologizing to Kahne for running into him at the end of the Big One.
8 Jeff Burton 116 8
So happy that Kim doesn’t wear a firesuit.
9 Clint Bowyer 90 14
Logano wasn’t the only person Harvick shook up on Sunday. Quoth Bowyer on the radio: “What are teammates for?” after letting the No. 29 mess up his rhythm, and his chance at a shocking upset evaporated when he hit the wall moments later.
10 Tony Stewart 81 NR
Don’t look now, but summer is almost here; and where there’s summer, there’s Smoke.
11 Mark Martin 78 10
2012 can’t get here soon enough.
12 Joey Logano 76 NR
After 20 years of being pre-programmed to say the right thing, it had to feel good to turn into an R-Rated movie-turned-heavyweight fighter all at once. All we were missing was one scary moment of nudity and Logano would have suddenly turned NC-17.
13 Ryan Newman 74 12
Phillips 66 sign on American Pickers: $500. Tearing up your car on the last lap at Pocono: $50,000. Making it to the finish rim-riding the wall with no steering: Priceless.
T-14 Jamie McMurray 73 9
Every time the Chase discussion starts to come about, he mails in another stinker.
T-14 David Reutimann 73 11
Every Michael Waltrip Racing car spun at least once on Sunday. That’s not the track record you want to set at the tricky triangle.
Dropped Out: Martin Truex Jr. (13), Greg Biffle (15)
Also Receiving Votes: Martin Truex Jr. (71), Carl Edwards (69), Greg Biffle (48), Paul Menard (33), Juan Pablo Montoya (33), AJ Allmendinger (26), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (10), Kasey Kahne (9), Brad Keselowski (5), Regan Smith (5), Sam Hornish Jr. (2), David Stremme (1)
Writer Voting Panel: Phil Allaway, Brock Beard, Thomas Bowles, Bryan Davis Keith, Tony Lumbis, Mike Neff, 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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