Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch NASCAR Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2012 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona

To tandem or not to tandem – that is the question. Right now, the answer seems to be tandem, with a rather dull race up until the final few laps Saturday night (July 7) in Daytona. Don’t tell Matt Kenseth, though, as his dominant run – yes, dominant at Daytona! – had him up front for 89 circuits of the 160-lap race.

But when the “Smoke” cleared during a wild green-white-checkered finish, it was Tony Stewart who wound up in victory lane. Yes, that Tony Stewart, the man who is still advocating for those infamous figure-eight tracks instead of riding around with the plates stuck on those engines. And he came from the back of the field – 42nd place – to do it! 

Was Stewart’s victory-lane vitriol worth a few first-place votes? Or did Kenseth’s dominant 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 Bedgood calculates the points, adds some funny one-liners and … here you go!

RankDriver (First-Place Votes)VotesLast Week
1Matt Kenseth (6)1391
Meet the new Mr. Restrictor Plate. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com
2Tony Stewart12612
Stewart put on quite a show Saturday night, coming from 42nd to the win on the last lap. Just another victory at Daytona that continues to come in the wrong month. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com
2Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1)12612
Someone with the last name “Earnhardt” said he didn’t like the current rules package at Daytona. In other words, back to the drawing board! Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch
4Greg Biffle1116
“The Biff” and Kenseth were a great combo. Too bad they hung their teammate out to dry in the process! Amanda Ebersole, SkirtsandScuffs.com
5Brad Keselowski1024
Looking once again like he is going to go “Stewart” on the field once again this summer. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch
6Carl Edwards8514
David Ragan doesn’t sound like such a bad idea now, does he? Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch
7Kasey Kahne807
Top finisher among the Hendrick brigade, for what it was worth. Mike Neff, Frontstretch
8Jimmie Johnson742
Part of the job of being a championship driver is to ensure the SAFER barriers are installed correctly for the safety of others. See: Charlotte last year and both Daytona races this year. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch
9Joey Logano73NR
If Logano could run like this at track others than restrictor plates and … Pocono, he might not be attempting to save his own hide. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch
10Kevin Harvick728
Even though he crashed on both Friday and Saturday, Harvick didn’t have too much time to dwell on it. Sunday morning, wife DeLana gave birth to their son Keelan. Unfortunately, after months of everyone being used to “Baby Otis” no one had any idea what Harvick meant when he said Keelan had arrived. Kelly Crandall, Speedwaymedia.com
11Denny Hamlin655
Won’t be long before his affinity for golf is blamed for his back. Mike Neff, Frontstretch  
12Ryan Newman63NR
The US Army has withdrawn their sponsorship for Newman for 2013, throwing yet another monkey wrench into Silly Season. Will that be the one that also loosens Newman’s ties with SHR … for good? Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch
13Jeff Gordon6210
The folks at Pepsi had to be disappointed that they didn’t win the Coke Zero 400. Mike Neff, Frontstretch  
14Clint Bowyer558
Want to know how competitive this series can be? Bowyer went from victory lane to Chase bubble in a matter of three weeks. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch
15Martin Truex Jr.4911
Truex’s season has had everything except for … oh, gosh, I forget. What was it again? Well whatever it was, I know it will put him at a disadvantage once the points are reset. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch
Dropped Out: AJ Allmendinger, Kyle Busch
Others Receiving Votes: Kyle Busch (40), Paul Menard (33), Jeff Burton (26), Jamie McMurray (22), Marcos Ambrose (21), Michael Waltrip (13), Bobby Labonte (12), Kurt Busch (8), Dave Blaney (5), David Reutimann (5), Juan Pablo Montoya (2), Aric Almirola (1)
Who VotedKelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com; Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch; Amanda Ebersole, SkirtsandScuffs.com; Dustin Long, Athlon Sports; Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch; Matt Taliaferro, 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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