Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2012 Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas

Picking up right where he left off after November 2011, cashing in on a victory at Las Vegas you would think defending champion Tony Stewart would be atop the Sprint Cup standings based upon his early performance. However, Biffle’s consistency – a string of third-place finishes in the first three races – has him leading the charge for the first time since 2005.

Was Stewart’s Sin City success enough to impress our writers and put him atop our Power Rankings? Or is the power of three still good enough for the Biff? Keep reading 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!

FRONTSTRETCH TOP-15 POWER RANKINGS: MARCH 14, 2012
RankDriver (First-Place Votes)VotesLast Week
1Greg Biffle (5)1733
If Biffle can average a third-place finish all year, the only thing that will beat him is Stewart winning half of them. Mike Neff, Frontstretch
2Tony Stewart (3)15913
I guess Darian Grubb winning last week made Tony a bit jealous! Sorry Tony, but Denny and Darian did it first! Amanda Ebersole, SkirtsandScuffs.com
3Kevin Harvick1532
Harvick is quietly hanging out in second place in the points standings, just 10 markers behind leader Biffle. Matt Kenseth is usually known to be more of the “silent assassin,” but I think it’s high time Harvick took over that role. Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch
4Matt Kenseth1395
If Carl Edwards is to be believed, he felt “terrible” about the issue with teammate Kenseth at the end of the race. If Kenseth is to be believed … well, we don’t know. Kenseth left the track before the two were able to speak. Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch
5Carl Edwards (1)13410
Wanted to see Kenseth come up to Edwards during the post-race interview and fake a punch. Mike Neff, Frontstretch
6Jimmie Johnson13311
Not sure how well he’ll do this Sunday after Chad Knaus spent all week writing love notes to a certain National Stock Car Racing Commissioner. Those flowers in the shape of a C-Post were sure hard to find. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch
7Dale Earnhardt Jr.1299
He was strong at the beginning, and faded slowly throughout the race. Haven’t we seen this movie before? Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch
8Denny Hamlin961
Fans needed a FedEx tracking code in order to locate Denny at the track on Sunday. He was hardly seen or heard from all day, more like what we’re used to seeing from him at this point in the season. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch
9Ryan Newman91NR
Newman’s fourth-place finish meant a free Bloomin’ Onion appetizer at Outback Steakhouse on Monday. Rumor has it that Newman’s owner Stewart ate them all before anyone else had a chance. Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch
10Paul Menard81NR
Running well during the first half of the season; where have we seen this before from Menard? Mike Neff, Frontstretch
11Mark Martin806
Earned extra points this week for actually getting mad at someone trying to run him over. Happens about once a decade; but for a guy who looked washed up last year, that’s a very good sign. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch
12Martin Truex Jr.717
Clint Bowyer is into karaoke and Truex is lip-syncing about NAPA. Martin had better get out while he can before MWR forces him to sing the National Anthem during pre-race. Though, of course, with the “performers” we’ve seen lately, how bad could he really be? Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch
13Jeff Gordon6914
Three races, two yawn-inducing performances, one blown engine. Not exactly the type of resume four-time looks to build if he’s going to make the Chase, let alone be taken seriously as a title contender once again. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch
14Kyle Busch634
No one was happier to be leaving Las Vegas than Busch. On the flip side, no one is looking forward to Bristol more than he is either. Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch
15Joey Logano6212
Been there, done that. Logano has had short bursts of relevance throughout his career. Now it’s time to make it last or JGR and his sponsors might cut the “learning curve” a few years short. Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch
Dropped Out: Brad Keselowski (8), Jeff Burton (15)
Others Receiving Votes: Clint Bowyer (59), Jeff Burton (47), Marcos Ambrose (33), Jamie McMurray (28), Brad Keselowski (24), Regan Smith (20), Trevor Bayne (19), Kasey Kahne (14), Bobby Labonte (8), Dave Blaney (3), A.J. Allmendinger (2).
Who Voted: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch; Tom Bowles, Frontstretch; Carolyn Brewster, SceneDaily.com; 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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