Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2011 Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansa

The Sprint Cup Series just wrapped up with the Jimmie Johnson Casino 400. OK, so that race name isn’t quite accurate, but it should have been, because Johnson owned the race this weekend, leading 197 laps on the way to an easy victory. Kasey Kahne gave Johnson a run for his money but wound up second, while both Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick pulled off miracle comebacks to wind up fifth and sixth.

With his 1-2 finishes the last two weeks, is Johnson finally going to slide back into the top spot in the Power Rankings? How much credit did the pollsters give to Edwards’s past performance over his terrible weekend in Kansas – and was it enough to stay in the number one position? Further back, another poor finish for Jeff Gordon has probably signaled the death knell for his title hopes, but did that knock him out of our poll?

Check the Power Rankings this week to see where your favorite driver resides with six races left.

Rank Driver (First-Place Votes) Votes Last Week
1 Carl Edwards (2) 114 1
Making so many furious, late-race comebacks he’s on the verge of stealing that “Closer” nickname from Harvick. But you can only come from behind so many times…
2 Kevin Harvick 110 2
Chase wins this season: zero. Top-five finishes: one in four races. Laps led: 11. Points Position: second. Now explain that one to us again?
3 Jimmie Johnson (3) 101 4
Rumor has it the 2011 Chase trophy was already sent to be engraved for Homestead. The blacksmith was offering a 35% early discount on Groupon.
4 Brad Keselowski 98 6
Remember Scrappy Doo? That’s kind of like Brad so far in this Chase. Came in really late in the Scooby Doo Series, had his moments but no one was ever quite sure what to make of him. We just knew he wasn’t going to end up the main character on the show.
5 Tony Stewart (1) 87 3
There’s no sliding in NASCAR! Only baseball … but in both sports, when you make a bad one it’s embarrassing, you’re out by a mile and there’s no turning back. Signed, Stewart’s 2011 Chase for the Cup.
6 Kyle Busch 84 8
If you thought a speeding ticket was something special, wait until you see what happens once Busch gets officially knocked out of Chase contention. We see it coming at Charlotte this weekend, so stay tuned … and other drivers, stay aware.
7 Matt Kenseth 78 9
Cousin Carl got all of the pre-race pub, but Kenseth was the first Roushketeer across the finish line.
T-8 Jeff Gordon 76 5
Patiently waiting his turn for Rick Hendrick to return the No. 24 to proper glory with A+ equipment. It’ll be a while … Johnson’s not even on title six of eight straight.
T-8 Kurt Busch 76 7
Another couple of weeks before we have primates practicing intercourse with swine hide sports implements on the No. 22 radio again.
10 Kasey Kahne 65 10
Got a nice thank you card and little box of candy from owner Rick Hendrick for that final restart. Had a nice little P.S., too: “Don’t worry, Kasey. I’ll let you win a race sometime during the regular season in 2013. Just wait your turn!”
T-11 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 55 11
Pretty much out of the picture now. Time to focus on the win at Talladega.
T-11 Clint Bowyer 55 12
The way this team is running, Bowyer should have put on that lame-duck hat, told his team to screw off and professed his 2012 love for Michael Waltrip three months ago. They’d be fighting for the championship right now!
T-13 Ryan Newman 35 14
Quietly fading away into Chase obscurity … as everyone pretty much expected from day one.
T-13 Marcos Ambrose 35 NR
Like Australia, where summertime is in December, Ambrose needs to wait until September to start heating up.
T-13 Greg Biffle 35 NR
Not sure when Biffle is going to go on a winning spree again, but it can’t happen soon enough.
Dropped Out: AJ Allmendinger (13), Brian Vickers (15)
Others Receiving Votes: Brian Vickers (28), AJ Allmendinger (23), David Ragan (21), Paul Menard (11), Regan Smith (9), Juan Pablo Montoya (8), Jeff Burton (8), Martin Truex Jr. (4), Joey Logano (3), Landon Cassill (2)
Writer Voters Include: Phil Allaway, Tom Bowles, Bryan Davis Keith, 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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