Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2011 5-hour Energy 500 at Pocono

The tricky triangle in the Pocono Mountains threw the competitors some curveballs this spring, the unique three-turn track paired with the return of shifting for the first time in several years. In the end, Jeff Gordon notched his second win of the season, moving into a tie with Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip on the all-time win list in the Cup Series.

The Busch brothers chased Gordon to the checkered flag, finishing second and third, although Kyle’s third-place finish was diminished by a post-race technical violation which cost him six points. Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five, only leading one lap between the two of them while points leader Carl Edwards had an engine problem that relegated him to the 37th finishing spot.

Will Edwards’s engine troubles and poor finish cost him the top spot in the rankings? If Edwards loses the top spot, will Johnson or Harvick overtake him? How much did Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s charge back to sixth place sway the pollsters’ decisions? Check out this week’s Power Rankings to see if your favorite driver made some ground towards the top of the rankings through the three distinct corners at Pocono or if they spent the weekend in a heart-shaped hot tub in the honeymoon capital of the world.

Rank Driver (First-Place Votes) Votes Last Week
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (3) 113 2
Turning into Jeff Burton before our eyes: becoming the king of the top-10 finish.
2 Carl Edwards (2) 111 1
Replaced a valve and got back in the race, is that even legal?
3 Jimmie Johnson (1) 109 3
There are a ton of drivers who would like to be in a “slump” like Johnson is right now.
4 Kevin Harvick 104 4
Things must be getting tight at RCR after the big fine; Harvick couldn’t even get a driver’s suit to match his car.
5 Jeff Gordon 86 T-10
Starting to look like a weekly threat to win for the first time this season and guess what? He’s already done it twice.
6 Kyle Busch 82 8
New Kyle or old, hard to believe he didn’t wreck Harvick after that little stunt on the front straight.
7 Kurt Busch 79 9
Don’t look now, but that’s two good runs in a row… about time for another epic meltdown at Michigan.
8 Matt Kenseth 78 5
Some people consider being a Kenseth fan an “Affliction.”
9 Denny Hamlin 55 7
Last year, Hamlin lost the championship at Homestead. This year, he lost it… at Pocono? In June? What a difference a year makes.
10 Greg Biffle 52 6
Michigan couldn’t come at a better time.
11 Ryan Newman 50 NR
Beginning to look like Biffle with his up-and-down finishes.
12 Tony Stewart 48 T-10
Note to Smoke: It is time to start picking up the pace.
13 Clint Bowyer 43 13
How long before Bowyer dumps Kyle Busch to fit in with the rest of the RCR group?
14 Kasey Kahne 42 15
Kahne has to be wondering how much longer it will be before he gets to hang out with the cool kids.
15 Juan Pablo Montoya 54 NR
After a call from his lawyer, we’ve decided to graciously let Mr. Montoya back into the top 15. Hope there are no hard feelings?
Dropped Out: Brad Keselowski (12), David Ragan (14)
Others Receiving Votes: Martin Truex Jr. (33), Brad Keselowski (29), David Ragan (28), Joey Logano (18), AJ Allmendinger (12), Regan Smith (12), Mark Martin (12), Paul Menard (11), David Reutimann (11), Marcos Ambrose (6), Brian Vickers (1), Landon Cassill (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.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Share via