Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2011 Brickyard 400

Surprisingly the Brickyard 400 was contested in front of a house that was roughly half full which was a surprise for many who thought the stands would be far more vacant. The crowd that was on hand witnessed a first time Indianapolis victory for not only Paul Menard, but also his father John, who had been trying to win at the “Racing Capital of the World” for some 35 years.

It looked like Jeff Gordon was going to run Menard down in the closing laps of the event but the four time Brickyard winner used up his equipment catching up to the leader and had to settle for a second-place finish. Regan Smith was another surprise, coming home third and nearly taking the win in two of the sports biggest races on the schedule.

Did Gordon’s win not only establish him as a threat to win the title but also push him to the top of the Power Rankings? Was Carl Edwards‘s lackluster showing at the Brickyard harmful to his hold on the top spot in the Top 15? Will Menard make it into the Top 15 after his unlikely win for himself and his family at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway? Check out the Power Rankings after the Brickyard 400 to find out if your favorite driver had enough gas in the tank to move up the list or if he was stuck coasting around to the finish as he slid down the poll.

Rank Driver (First-Place Votes) Votes Last Week
1 Jeff Gordon (2) 114 4
After some struggles in the early part of the season, Gordon looks like the one who might finally put a stop to the No. 48 reign.
2 Kyle Busch (1) 109 2
Has a nasty habit of hitting both concrete and other cars which could come back to bite him in the Chase.
3 Carl Edwards (1) 103 1
It may be a three-ring circus around the No. 99 right now, everyone waiting on Carl’s decision but let’s not forget – they’re still leading the points.
4 Jimmie Johnson (1) 90 3
Seemed like Johnson led a bunch of laps Sunday until we checked the box score and realized it was a grand total of one.
5 Kevin Harvick 85 7
Jimmy John’s delivers food really fast but they failed to deliver a top five for Harvick for the first time this season.
6 Matt Kenseth (1) 84 8
Were it not for rival Gordon, people would be talking about Kenseth as the guy who should have won at Indy.
7 Ryan Newman 83 6
As Danica Patrick quietly gears up for a role at Stewart-Haas Racing, Ryan sits and wonders whether they’ll be enough money left for him.
8 Tony Stewart 80 10
Looked like he might steal a win on fuel mileage and then nearly came back and won it while everyone else was worrying about it.
9 Kurt Busch 70 5
Kyle is doing quite a bit of public service work around his speeding ticket – maybe Kurt should do some work in the anger management field.
10 Kasey Kahne 64 11
Led a whole bunch of laps before he decided to go off-roading.
11 Paul Menard 55 NR
He didn’t thumb his nose at his haters after the race on Sunday, but no one would have blamed him if he did.
12 Denny Hamlin 45 9
That thud you heard during the Brickyard was Hamlin’s championship hopes officially bottoming out.
13 David Ragan 37 T-12
Props to Ragan for the extremely cool yet very basic paint scheme honoring Ned Jarrett at the Brickyard this year.
T-14 Joey Logano 35 T-12
Hope he has a whole lot of Nationwide starts during the second half because the way things are going, that’s where “Sliced Bread” will be trying to save his career come 2012.
T-14 Clint Bowyer 35 14
Staring down a sponsorless 2012 if he can’t find a way to victory lane… and fast.
Dropped Out: Marcos Ambrose (15)
Others Receiving Votes: Greg Biffle (31), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (27), Regan Smith (25), Brad Keselowski (22), AJ Allmendinger (16), Jamie McMurray (15), Marcos Ambrose (10), Mark Martin (8), Martin Truex Jr. (5), Bobby Labonte (4), Jeff Burton (3), Juan Pablo Montoya (2), David Reutimann (1), Landon Cassill (1), JJ Yeley (1)
Writer Voters Include: Phil Allaway, Tom Bowles, Bryan Davis Keith, Tony Lumbis, Vito Pugliese, 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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