Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2012 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma

Sonoma was vindication for those who said that Clint Bowyer‘s move from superteam Richard Childress Racing to largely unsuccessful Michael Waltrip Racing was the worst thing he could do for his career. However, MWR has been outperforming RCR by leaps and bounds this year, along with other largely competitive teams. 

The big storyline was, however, Kurt Busch‘s behavior. Not only did he decide not to wreck Bowyer when he certainly had the opportunity, but he gave a very professional post-race interview and press conference following a tough loss.

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
1Jimmie Johnson (3)1273
Lookie there! Five-time is back at the top. It’s hard to imagine someone as accomplished as Johnson being “quiet,” yet that’s exactly what he’s been for the past few weeks. Of course, the same could be said at this point for his championship season. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch
2Tony Stewart (1)1225
Stewart tends to rain on the parades of drivers who break winless streaks. Except Bowyer – he certainly celebrated like it was a national holiday. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch
3Matt Kenseth (1)1192
Looks at road courses like most other drivers look at superspeedways: merely surviving is a successful day and Kenseth did just that on Sunday (June 24). Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch
4Clint Bowyer (2)1177
Bowyer to MWR is starting to look like the best move of the offseason. Wonder how many people were thinking that last October. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch
5Greg Biffle1124
Easily rebounded from his engine failure at Michigan with back-to-back top-10 finishes to rejoin teammate Kenseth in the top two in points. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch
6Dale Earnhardt Jr.1001
Might want to consider pulling off his Michigan magic in August, when he can keep the momentum up at Bristol, Atlanta and Richmond afterwards, some of his better tracks as opposed to Sonoma. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch
7Kevin Harvick846
His 11.2 average finish so far in 2012 is the second best of his career. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch
8Martin Truex Jr. 8111
Once again, Truex ran strong and was in the top 5 late in the race only to have Joey Logano cut his tire and drop him to 22nd after leading 15 laps. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch
9Brad Keselowski7610
Ran just well enough to stay out of trouble but wasn’t all that impressive. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch
10Jeff Gordon7012
His 18.9 average finish is the worst of his career. Apparently it IS better to be lucky than good sometimes. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch
11Joey Logano6415
Making a lot of enemies on his way into Chase contention. Will that come back to bite him later in the season? Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch
12Denny Hamlin 619
His accident streak is starting to look like his teammates’ blown engine streak. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch
13Marcos Ambrose5113
Needs at least two wins to grab a wildcard. With only one road course left, do his chances still add up? Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch
14Kasey Kahne5014
Inconsistency continues to dog him like a bloodhound. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch
15Carl Edwards468
The runner-up hangover continues. Somebody get this guy an Egg McMuffin with extra bacon Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch
Dropped Out: None
Others Receiving Votes: Kyle Busch (41), Kurt Busch (32), Paul Menard (26), Ryan Newman (23), Brian Vickers (20), AJ Allmendinger (14), Jeff Burton (14), Juan Pablo Montoya (12), Mark Martin (4), Jamie McMurray (3), Casey Mears (1)
Who Voted: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch; Summer Bedgood, FrontstretchCarolyn Brewster, NASCAR Illustrated; Amanda Ebersole, SkirtsandScuffs.com; Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch; Dustin Long, Athlon Sports; Mike Neff, Frontstretch; Matt Taliaferro, Athlon Sports

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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