Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2012 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte

An endurance race in its own right, the Coca-Cola 600 tested all 43 drivers and ran them to their limits. Even with opinions of the race generally leaning towards the negative, the race was still fairly competitive with several different drivers spending time up front and wheeling cars capable of winning. It was Kasey Kahne who prevailed, but Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch all spent some time leading the race. 

But in the end, Kahne prevailed for his first win with Hendrick Motorsports, a sixth consecutive top-10 finish that’s sent him surging up the standings. Was Kahne’s midseason rebound enough to propel him to the top of our Power Rankings? Or did points leader Biffle’s dominant performance give him a needed boost this week? 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
1Greg Biffle (5)1744
Not very happy you only get one point for leading the most laps when it is over 200 of them. Mike Neff, Frontstretch
2Matt Kenseth (1)1522
Quietly doing what Kenseth does, collecting top-10 finishes and hanging them on the points tree. But is showcasing that type of consistency now a case of peaking too soon? Tom Bowles, Frontstretch
3Jimmie Johnson (2)1511
After a brief discussion with the No. 48 gas man, we have both come to the conclusion that the whole “removing equipment from the pit box’ needs to have an “or crew member” added to it. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch
4Dale Earnhardt Jr.1443
A winless champion would be OK with Junior Nation. Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com
5Denny Hamlin1415
Still think having a guy named Ford on the box for a Toyota was part of the problem for the No. 11. Mike Neff, Frontstretch
6Kyle Busch (1)1386
Put together a streak of four top-five finishes without so much as a peep on the radio, a bad bump or even an off-track speeding ticket. Welcome, America to Busch’s new personality, mirroring the image of Stroke, er Sprint Cup Racing 2012. What have we done? Tom Bowles, Frontstretch
7Brad Keselowski1258
The speed and level of his apology to Tony Stewart‘s team after wrecking them on pit road was on par with someone who just angered a member of the mafia. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch
8Kasey Kahne 12412
Though the Polish victory lap is a cherished tradition in racing, teammate Johnson was quick to remind Kahne post-race that driving Rick Hendrick around the track is much more fun than the checkered flag. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch
9Kevin Harvick1099
Really wishes they’d do the Grow One Save a Million campaign when the weather is cooler. Mike Neff, Frontstretch
10Martin Truex Jr.10010
This driver isn’t getting nearly the attention he deserves.  If only he had long black hair and neon pumps. Carolyn Brewster, NASCAR Illustrated
11Carl Edwards9411
Not as bad as it looks for Cousin Carl. Eventually, the luck bank will start to give back and it’s clear the Fusions have speed. But a win in the next month or so would sure ease the nerves, right? Tom Bowles, Frontstretch
12Tony Stewart 907
Whose turn is it in the traveling NASCAR media to ask Tony why there are so few wrecks in today’s NASCAR? Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com 
13Clint Bowyer7413
Perhaps if they took the disco ball out of the car Bowyer might have a little more success. Mike Neff, Frontstretch
14Jeff Gordon 55NR
Had to check before typing to make sure a meteorite didn’t hit Gordon in the last day or so after one week of actual good luck. I think we’re good … at least I hope so. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch
T-15Paul Menard47  14
Menard might not be known for his driving abilities, but he beat teammate Jeff Burton in last Sunday’s race and is higher in points. Who would have thought that “daddy’s money” Menard would be the second-best driver at RCR? Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch
T-15Ryan Newman47  15
Here’s a statement you haven’t heard in a long time: Finished 14th, two laps down. Mike Neff, Frontstretch
Dropped Out: None
Others Receiving Votes: Aric Almirola (21), Marcos Ambrose (21), Joey Logano (17), Jeff Burton (17), Regan Smith (15),  Juan Pablo Montoya (10), Mark Martin (9), Jamie McMurray (7), AJ Allmendinger (6), Landon Cassill (2)
Who Voted: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch; Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch; Tom Bowles, Frontstretch; Carolyn Brewster, NASCAR Illustrated; Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com; Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch; Dennis Michelsen, RaceTalkRadio.com; Mike Neff, Frontstretch; Matt Taliaferro, Athlon Sports

About the author

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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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