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Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: 2012 Daytona 500 Edition

Well, file this one away into the “now I’ve seen everything” cabinet. From exploding jet dryers to drivers tweeting on the backstretch, the Daytona 500 — or rather, the 48 Hours at Daytona — was one of those races no one will ever forget. Who would have thought that Danica Patrick would be the last of everyone’s concerns at the end of the night?

Even though the actual on-track action was far overshadowed by the delays, Matt Kenseth was able to pull through and win his second Daytona 500 with teammate Greg Biffle right in tow. Where are they ranked in this week’s Power Rankings and how did the bizarre chain of events impact your favorite driver? Continue reading below to find out.

How the Rankings are Calculated: Frontstretch does our power rankings somewhat similar to how the Associated Press does them for basketball or football – our expert stable of NASCAR writers, both on staff and from other major publications will vote for the top 20 on a 20-19-18-17-16-15 … 3-2-1 basis, giving 20 points to their first-place driver, 19 for their second and so on. In the end, Summer Dreyer calculates the points, adds some funny one-liners and … here you go!

RankDriver (First-Place Votes)VotesLast Week
1Matt Kenseth (5)13812
He’s no Trevor Bayne, but something about the Daytona 500 brings out the “are you kidding me?!” in all of us. – Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch
2Greg Biffle1217
Ironic that Biffle’s first Cup race win was a plate race and yet he still looks inept when it comes to late-race moves on plate tracks. – Mike Neff, Frontstretch
3Denny Hamlin11013
Remember when Hamlin was the king of social networking? Now this is all we get from him: “Awesome run for our FedEx team today. Proud of our effort. So close.” I wonder how long it will be before NASCAR silences Brad Keselowski, too.
– Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch
4Dale Earnhardt Jr.109T-5
He could almost taste another Daytona 500 trophy, but those pesky team orders — er, teamwork — got in the way. – Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch
5Jeff Burton104NR
Speaking of teamwork, Burton and teammate Kevin Harvick did everything they could to make the high line move forward. It didn’t work, but they were able to finish inside the top 10. Three of the four Hendrick Motorsports cars couldn’t even say that. – Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch
T-6Kevin Harvick103T-5
After the race ran past midnight and into Tuesday morning, Harvick wound up racing on his 11-year anniversary. 11 years? With Kevin? Get DeLana a trophy of her own! – Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch
T-6Carl Edwards (1)1032
Even after his much-celebrated pole, Edwards still failed to lead a lap in the Daytona 500. That makes this Missouri native 0-for-8. That’s right! The driver who tied for the championship last year has never led a lap in the series’ biggest event. Where’s Biffle when you need him?! – Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch
8Tony Stewart (1)901
One of these days, Stewart is going to drive through all of the smoke and torn up sheetmetal to win his first Daytona 500. Until then, there is always the chance for more fireworks in July (no pun intended). – Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch
9Paul Menard68NR
He was pretty quiet all night, but Menard survived a rather tumultuous race. Childress may not be keeping him for his talent, but his ability to bring home a clean racecar can’t hurt. – Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch
10Martin Truex Jr.64NR
The only noise Truex made all race was when he won the $200,000 bonus for leading at the halfway point. Then he went back to lip-syncing in front of Michael Waltrip’s ass. Or at least, I’m assuming so. – Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch
11Clint Bowyer60NR
Doing his best to rival his boss for most annoying NASCAR commercial of the year. – Mike Neff, Frontstretch
12Marcos Ambrose56T-10
I wouldn’t be surprised if Ambrose’s next Cup Series win came on a restrictor-plate track. He wasn’t great in the 500, but he outlasted some strong racecars and sometimes that’s all it takes. – Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch
13Kyle Busch523
No chance for any remarkable saves during the 500, but did throw most of the field under the bus for the lap 2 wreck. – Mike Neff, Frontstretch
14Joey Logano50NR
Logano tweeted after the race that he had several “close calls” at the end of the Daytona 500. I bet there are a half-dozen or so drivers who would disagree. – Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch
T-15Brad Keselowski348
Granted, Brad would be No. 1 if this were a Twitter ranking. Unfortunately, tripling your follower count in one night doesn’t help you in the Power Rankings. You wrecked. Therefore, you get pwned. – Phil Allaway, Frontstretch
T-15Dave Blaney34NR
Apparently, Dave’s daughter Emma’s going to force him to join Twitter after Monday’s events. Good luck with that. – Phil Allaway, Frontstretch
Dropped Out: Jeff Gordon (4), Jimmie Johnson (9), Ryan Newman (T-10), Kasey Kahne (T-14), Kurt Busch (T-14)
Others Receiving Votes: Mark Martin (32), Ryan Newman (29), Jimmie Johnson (22), Jeff Gordon (22), Regan Smith (18), Kasey Kahne (14), Bobby Labonte (10), Casey Mears (9), AJ Allmendinger (7), Terry Labonte (4), Danica Patrick (2), Juan Pablo Montoya (2), Tony Raines (2), Landon Cassill (1)
Who Voted: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch; Kelly Crandall, Speedwaymedia.com; Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch; Amanda Ebersole, Skirtsandscuffs.com; Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch; Dustin Long, Athlon Sports; Mike Neff, Frontstretch

About the author

The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.

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