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NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Watkins Glen

Frontstretch Power Rankings

The caution never flew, but the oil did, and it made for one hell of a race. Whether or not Kyle Busch "deserved" that race doesn't matter, because Marcos Ambrose was able to last through the chaos and make it to Victory Lane for the second time in his career. Meanwhile, the rest of us were left blue in the face after having held our breath the entire last lap. Oh, but it was so worth it!

So what about our Power Rankings? Did Ambrose's victory move him up our rankings or did the voters have another driver in mind? 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 Bedgood calculates the points, adds some funny one-liners, and … here you go!

Rank Driver (First Place Votes) Votes Last Week
1 Jimmie Johnson (4) 118 1
Through all the calamity that took place the final two laps and the fact that it was on a road course, Johnson came home with a third-place finish and the point lead. It's no longer possible to deny that team 48 is in the championship driver's seat and right on track for title No. 6. Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com
2 Brad Keselowski (1) 109 3
His do or die attitude on the racetrack is about as old school as you can get in the field today. Combine that with his articulate persona on Twitter, and you have the perfect mix of then and now. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com
3  Greg Biffle (1) 94 
Once again nearing the points lead for the second time this year and still fans everywhere are asking "How did that happen?" Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
4  Matt Kenseth 93 
The man who prompted NASCAR to invent the Chase may end up winning it if he keeps up this quiet consistency. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com
5  Dale Earnhardt, Jr.  90 
The bad news – Jr. has had two consecutive finishes outside the top 25. The good news, the 88 team is still solidly in the Chase and Michigan is next. Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com
6  Tony Stewart 83 
A five-time Watkins Glen winner spinning out by himself? Quite simply, "Well that [expletive] sucks." Kelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com
7  Clint Bowyer 78  11 
Following a win in Sonoma, Bowyer followed up with a fourth-place finish in Watkins Glen. So Bowyer has nailed down short tracks, restrictor plates, and road courses as good tracks for him. Too bad they are in the minority on the schedule. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com
8  Martin Truex, Jr. 75 
He's good, not great. But you have to learn to crawl before you learn to walk, and Truex is performing leaps and bounds ahead of what most expected of him this season. A "good" performance in 2012 could lend itself to a "great" season in 2013. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com
9  Jeff Gordon 68 
Ah yes, now that is the Gordon luck we've all come to expect in 2012. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com
10  Kyle Busch 67 NR 
I have proof that Kyle Busch has been hanging out with Carl Edwards. That fake punch he threw at a TV camera last Sunday? Eerily similar to that thrown by Edwards at teammate Matt Kenseth a few years ago. It's just SCIENCE! Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com 
11  Kasey Kahne 59 
 He keeps bouncing in and out of the wild card spot, but that's beside the point. The fact that he, and teammate Jeff Gordon for that matter, are in the running at all is nothing short of a miracle. All because of a trip to Victory Lane. Some may hate it, but I for one love how important wins are this late in the season. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com
12  Marcos Ambrose 52  NR 
It's a shame we don't see more of Ambrose. His wily spirit is certainly refreshing, but without another road course on the schedule for the rest of the year, we likely won't see much of him again until 2013. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com
13  Carl Edwards 48  14 
Hey look! Carl Edwards finally won a race! …In the Nationwide Series. Oh how the mighty have fallen and apparently are in need of an ego-boost. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com
14  Ryan Newman 47  12 
SHR continues to insist that they want Newman there, but it's really not about what SHR wants. It's about what potential sponsors want. The Army backing out was a huge blow to that team, and the fact that they are flying well under the radar this season makes it even worse. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com 
15  Denny Hamlin 44  10 
Even with a slide down the standings recently, Hamln will still likely be inside the Chase. If he continues this afterwards, though … well at least he'll be in good company with his teammates. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com
Dropped Out: Paul Menard. 
Others Receiving Votes:  Kevin Harvick (38), Paul Menard (27), Regan Smith (20), Sam Hornish Jr. (17), Kurt Busch (14), Joey Logano (10), Juan Pablo Montoya (3), Jamie McMurray (2), Aric Almirola (2), Jeff Burton (1), Casey Mears (1). 
Who Voted: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.comKelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com; Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com; Carolyn Brewster, NASCAR Illustrated; Dustin Long, Athlon Sports; Tony Lumbis, Frontstretch.com

Contact Summer Bedgood

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