Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2011 Good Sam RV Insurance 500 at Pocono

Pocono Raceway gave all of the teams a real challenge on Sunday (Aug. 7), between dealing with three unique turns and ever-changing weather conditions. But when all was said and done, it was Brad Keselowski who aced the biggest test of all, becoming the latest version of NASCAR’s “iron man” in nursing a broken ankle all the way to victory lane.

His second win of his season, he’s now got the inside track to making the Chase as a wildcard; while for Pocono phenom Denny Hamlin, a loose lug nut leaves him on the verge of dropping out. Behind Keselowski, former Cup champions Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson traded paint on the way to the checkered flag and exchanged barbs on pit lane afterwards which might lead to further dust-ups down the road.

Keselowski’s win may have him set for the postseason, but did it give him a push into the top half of the Power Rankings? Was Jeff Gordon able to hold onto the top spot with his steady sixth-place finish? And did Hamlin even garner any votes after his ugly ending? Read the Power Rankings after Pocono to find out if your favorite driver was able to dodge the raindrops and keep their position in the poll intact.

Rank Driver (First-Place Votes) Votes Last Week
1 Kyle Busch (3) 115 2
Finishing second on his worst track, recovering from a spin is Kyle Busch 2011. Kyle Busch 2008? Someone would have been punched, he’d call his girlfriend by the wrong name and the crew chief would need therapy for weeks.
2 Carl Edwards (2) 111 3
Carl signed on the dotted line so now, if he loses the championship, there’s no one to blame but himself.
3 Jeff Gordon 105 1
Won title number four at 30 years old. Is it time for title number five at age 40?
4 Jimmie Johnson (1) 103 4
Shouldn’t Johnson be beyond that irritable over lack of sleep from a new baby stage by now?
T-5 Ryan Newman 89 7
Quietly caught fire over the course of early August, one month before he slips to fifth out of five Hendrick chassis in the Chase. Maybe Danica Patrick and sponsorship had something to do with it?
T-5 Kurt Busch 89 9
By the looks of it, Kurt has gotten under Johnson’s skin like that spider in the spam on Facebook.
7 Brad Keselowski 72 NR
Let’s not forget, through 21 races in 2010 Keselowski had yet to score a top-10 finish with Penske Racing, let alone two wins. Can a Nationwide Series reigning champ be a candidate for Comeback Driver of the Year?
8 Tony Stewart 68 8
Smoke might need to capitalize on his chance this weekend at Watkins Glen; otherwise, without a win could the Chase slip away?
T-9 Kevin Harvick 67 5
Another week of Mr. Where Did He Come From turning into Mr. Where Did He Go.
T-9 Matt Kenseth 67 6
Let’s see. If Roush doesn’t have sponsorship signed for Carl yet, and now they spent all this money, where the heck does that leave Kenseth? Forget paying for the boss’s lunch, it’s time to start bringing bag lunches to work.
T-9 Paul Menard 67 11
Did Menard really go from also ran to in-race reporter in one week?
12 Greg Biffle 57 NR
Puccia, Puccia, Puccia! Not exactly Marcia from The Brady Bunch, is it? Biffle has back-to-back top-10 finishes for the first time in months with his new crew chief, but is it too little, too late?
13 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 55 NR
The stars are still lining up for Earnhardt to win the title without winning a race.
14 Denny Hamlin 35 12
Hamlin in 2011: If he didn’t have bad luck, he’d have no luck at all. And if he didn’t have track position, well… wait, what are we talking about? He never has track position when it matters.
15 Mark Martin 30 NR
The Martin Wins a Title to Cap Off His Career Tour is winding down to an unceremonious end.
Dropped Out: Kasey Kahne (10), David Ragan (13), Joey Logano (T-14), Clint Bowyer (T-14)
Others Receiving Votes: Joey Logano (28), Kasey Kahne (26), Clint Bowyer (24), AJ Allmendinger (15), David Ragan (13), Martin Truex Jr. (13), Jeff Burton (3), Jamie McMurray (2), Regan Smith (2), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2), Marcos Ambrose (1), David Gilliland (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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