Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2011 Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas

Big hats, a trophy with giant boots, fireballs in victory lane and an overestimated crowd are just par for the course down in Fort Worth since everything is bigger in Texas. The win for Matt Kenseth was really big, too, considering it snapped a 76-race victory drought that had lasted since late Feb. 2009.

A dominating performance – he led 169 of 334 laps – has people talking about Ford’s dominance overall, although Clint Bowyer might have had something to say about that had he not run into a backmarker while leading. On the championship side of things, Carl Edwards turned stomach problems into third-place motivation while Kyle Busch had a loose wheel, which let Cousin Carl back into the top spot in the points standings.

So was Kenseth able to ride the momentum from his first win in two years to the number one slot in the Power Rankings? How much was Mr. Where Did He Come From Kevin Harvick dinged for being Mr. Where The Heck Is He This Week? And what happened to Tony Stewart’s poll position after another week of pit road miscues? Check out this week’s Power Rankings to see how your favorite driver sits after making his primetime debut down in the Lone Star State.

Rank Driver (First-Place Votes) Votes Last Week
1 Carl Edwards (3) 117 6
If an upset stomach gets you third place, can Edwards’s mom cook a little something up for us, too?
2 Matt Kenseth (2) 108 T-4
OK, Robbie Reiser. It’s been three-and-a-half years, but I think this week Kenseth may finally stop asking you to come back.
3 Jimmie Johnson 104 3
Looks like the No. 48 team is going to invert the season this year; they’ll just win all of their races during the final 10.
4 Kyle Busch 97 2
Tire problems always suck, Kyle, but look on the bright side: at least you pitted in time so we wouldn’t be subjected to DW singing, “You found a fine time to leave me, loose wheel.”
5 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 96 T-4
The governor of Alabama better have those State of Emergency papers handy; a Dale Jr. win at Talladega might cause a riot all the way through Birmingham.
6 Clint Bowyer 85 T-10
Don’t look now, but after a slow start Bowyer has three straight top-10 finishes as we head to Talladega, where he happens to be the most recent winner.
7 Kevin Harvick (1) 83 1
His crew should put cheese in the car every week to go with his whine.
8 Kurt Busch 75 T-10
Speaking of, Kurt is officially waiting for the Most Whining Driver voting to begin to see if he can beat out Harvick. It’s gonna be close!
9 Juan Pablo Montoya 64 7
Remember when Jamie Mac was the EGR driver to watch this year?
10 Paul Menard 62 NR
He already has as many top fives this year as he did his entire career – two. Think moving to RCR was the right decision?
11 Greg Biffle 61 NR
See what the Biff can do when he gets a full tank of fuel to work with? Betcha that’s making him a little extra in contract negotiations.
12 Tony Stewart 56 13
It’s going to be fun to see which volcano will erupt first this season: Mt. Smoke Filled With Frustration or Mt. Old Kyle In Disguise.
13 Ryan Newman 50 9
The Department of Defense budget wasn’t slashed on Capitol Hill. So why is this team running on seven cylinders all of a sudden?
14 David Ragan 47 NR
Nice weekend at Texas BUT… if he doesn’t win at least once this year, he still won’t keep his job whether he’s winning poles or not.
15 Marcos Ambrose 35 NR
Panning for gold in the Cup series is paying off as well as it does in Kannapolis.
Dropped Out: Jeff Gordon (8), Mark Martin (12), AJ Allmendinger (14), Jamie McMurray (15)
Also Receiving Votes: Jeff Gordon (25), AJ Allmendinger (23), Denny Hamlin (21), Jeff Burton (17), Kasey Kahne (13), Trevor Bayne (9), Brad Keselowski (6), Mark Martin (3), Martin Truex Jr. (1), Joey Logano (1), Casey Mears (1)
Writer Voters Include: Phil Allaway, Bryan Davis Keith, Tom Bowles, Tony Lumbis, Mike Neff and Garrett Horton

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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