Sandbagging?! There’s no sandbagging in NASCAR! Or is there? Jimmie Johnson says yes and used it to his advantage in Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race (May 19). The win was his third career All-Star victory and came just a week removed from Hendrick Motorsports’ 200th victory at Darlington and just days after his team won the Sprint Pit Crew Challenge. Suffice it to say, Johnson is on a roll.
Don’t count out the other all-stars though. Fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. didn’t need the fan vote after all, transferring from the Sprint Showdown and laying down some fast lap times in the main event. He eventually finished fifth.
Did Johnson’s strong week propel him to the top of our Power Rankings? Did Earnhardt’s strong run impress our writers? 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: MAY 23, 2012|
|Rank||Driver (First-Place Votes)||Votes||Last Week|
|1||Jimmie Johnson (5)||152||2|
|The extra seat JJ installed for Rick Hendrick may pose issues during inspection forcing him to a backup car. Carolyn Brewster, NASCAR Illustrated|
|2||Matt Kenseth (1)||142||3|
|Number one on the hate list of Junior nation for this week. Mike Neff, Frontstretch|
|3||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||140||7|
|Though happy to see their favorite driver in the All-Star Race, Junior Nation was left cussing and spitting after having wasted countless hours re-submitting votes to get Earnhardt into the race via the Fan Vote. Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch|
|4||Greg Biffle (2)||138||1|
|The most consistent driver from week one he would love being the first driver to win championships in all three of NASCAR’s top divisions. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com|
|Yes, Denny was in the All-Star race, although you might have only seen him when they were panning back to show the segment winners sandbagging. Mike Neff, Frontstretch|
|After the first 20 or so laps, we didn’t see much of Busch. Sort of like the eventual race winner. Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch|
|Defending champion has been cranking up the snarky early this year so he is already in championship form. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com|
|Ron Hornaday might not be high on Bad Brad’s Christmas card list. Mike Neff, Frontstretch|
|Hearing rumors that Harvick wishes to remove Indianapolis from the schedule, after contact with Paul Menard — who was eligible to be in the All-Star Race because of his win there last year — ruined Harvick’s night. Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch|
|10||Martin Truex Jr.||79||8|
|Betting the old boss offered him a little something to lag back at the start of the Showdown. Mike Neff, Frontstretch|
|Nothing could top Edwards’s victorious yet botched spin through the grass in last year’s All-Star Race … until Johnson gave team owner Rick Hendrick a ride around the track last Saturday night. Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch|
|Wishes they would put the start/finish line down by turn 1 like they do at Talladega. Mike Neff, Frontstretch|
|Bowyer won the Burnout Challenge. That is all. Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch|
|First trip to the All-Star main event was not exactly impressive. Mike Neff, Frontstretch|
|No truth to the rumor that Ryan is considering breast implants to keep his ride at Stewart-Haas. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com|
|Dropped Out: None.|
|Others Receiving Votes: Marcos Ambrose (44), Ryan Newman (42), AJ Allmendinger (37), Joey Logano (19), Mark Martin (14), Jeff Gordon (14), Kurt Busch (14), Jeff Burton (13), Bobby Labonte (7), Trevor Bayne (6), Juan Pablo Montoya (4), Jamie McMurray (2), Regan Smith (4)|
|Who Voted: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch; Carolyn Brewster, NASCAR Illustrated; Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com; Summer Dreyer, Frontstretch; Dustin Long, Athlon Sports; Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com; Mike Neff, Frontstretch; Matt Taliaferro, Athlon Sports|
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