Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2012 Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville

Ryan Newman may not have been on everyone’s mind heading into Martinsville, but sometimes just surviving is all it takes at a track like the small little paperclip. Clint Bowyer and him make a pretty nice tag team, as we saw in the frantic final few laps although Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson might slightly disagree.

Meanwhile, fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. snuck out of the speedway with a solid finish and now sits second in points behind the new “Mr. Consistency” Greg Biffle.

Was Newman’s win enough to vault him to the top of our Power Rankings? Was Biffle’s consistency enough to impress our writers? Or did NASCAR’s Mr. Popular trump them both? Continue 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!

RankDriver (First-Place Votes)VotesLast Week
1Dale Earnhardt Jr. (3)1814
That’s right; Junior’s number one in a voting survey that doesn’t involve the words “Most Popular Driver” or “Overrated.” It’s been a long time coming. Now, the question is whether he can earn the “No. 1 label” that he’s been seeking for the last four years and drive into victory lane. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch
2Tony Stewart (4)1741
FUN FACT: Stewart-Haas Racing has won eight of the past 16 races in Sprint Cup Series competition, a testament to momentum if there ever was one. Maybe Carl Edwards and Mark Martin have it all wrong. Maybe not having a thorough workout regimen is what counts. Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch
3Greg Biffle (2)1602
Finished ahead of the guy who led 328 laps, for what that’s worth. Mike Neff, Frontstretch
4Jimmie Johnson (1)1565
This guy can’t catch a break. With his current luck, the Easter Bunny will hop right past his house on Sunday. Carolyn Brewster, NASCAR Illustrated
5Matt Kenseth1526
Can’t help but to think that Kenseth had a little smile on his face seeing the No. 24 get wrecked during a GWC, after suffering the same fate from Gordon’s bumper a few years back in 2010. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch
6Martin Truex Jr.141T-8
Hard to vote against the guy who makes MWR look viable. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com
7Denny Hamlin138T-8
Martinsville is his home, he has more clocks then I can count on one hand yet a sixth-place finish was the best Hamlin could do thanks to a new setup. Amanda Ebersole, SkirtsandScuffs.com
8Ryan Newman13412
Hello, Newman indeed. But goodbye Newman from the Bowyer and Hendrick Motorsports Christmas card list. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com
9Kevin Harvick1223
Should’ve raced the Truck in the Cup race.  Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch
10Clint Bowyer11411
Lost any chance of winning the race with a bold move on the next-to-last restart, then his beloved Jayhawks lost in the NCAA basketball championship the next night. This off week couldn’t have come at a better time for Bowyer. Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch
11Carl Edwards977
Pretty sure Cousin Carl would not miss a wink of sleep if they announced Martinsville was coming off of the schedule. Mike Neff, Frontstretch
12Brad Keselowski9613
Insert random Twitter joke here since Keselowski hasn’t done anything impressive in the past couple of weeks. Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch
13Jeff Gordon86NR
Gordon says, “How can you not like Bowyer?” Um, I can think of a few reasons why… and 21st in driver points? Who would have thunk it, and considering Texas is next up on the schedule – one of this veteran’s least favorite tracks – it doesn’t get any easier anytime soon. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch
14AJ Allmendinger82NR
Easier to vote against a guy who is still winless. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com
15Aric Almirola50NR
Found out early that racing for the King doesn’t exactly mean top-10 finishes roll off the red carpet. But he’s learning. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch
Dropped Out: Kyle Busch (T-8), Paul Menard (14), Mark Martin (15)
Others Receiving Votes: Jeff Burton (37), Kyle Busch (33), Regan Smith (30), Marcos Ambrose (26), Paul Menard (20), Joey Logano (19), Mark Martin (16), Kasey Kahne (12), Brian Vickers (9), Juan Pablo Montoya (9), Bobby Labonte (6)
Who Voted: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch; Tom Bowles, Frontstretch; Carolyn Brewster, NASCAR Illustrated; Kelly Crandall, Speedwaymedia.com; Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch; Amanda Ebersole, Skirtsandscuffs.com; Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch; Dustin Long, Athlon Sports; Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com; 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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