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NASCAR Sprint Cup Power Rankings: Top 15 After Texas-2

Frontstretch Power Rankings
A tight election and a tight championship. Is 2012 just the year for photo finishes? Perhaps, but we still have a ways to go yet in the Sprint Cup Series championship that's now down to 812 miles of competition. Jimmie Johnson all but staked his claim as the next Sprint Cup Series titlist, though Brad Keselowski is certainly holding his own during a Texas twister that didn't get decided until the final restart. While, unlike the election, you may not get to vote on the next champ, you certainly should exercise your right … to tune in! 

So do our writers think Keselowski even has a chance, down seven points with two races left? Will the "swing states" of Arizona and Florida determine the championship or is it already in the bag? 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 (8) 160 1
No, you can't fill that sixth display case yet. But rest assured Chandra's cleaned the house, readjusted the living room and has one on backorder. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
2 Brad Keselowski 152 2
Underdog, spoiler, or first loser? Carolyn Brewster, NASCAR Illustrated
3 Clint Bowyer 134 3
A far cry from once calling boss Michael Waltrip "the worst driver in NASCAR," Clint Bowyer and MWR have had a banner year, silencing the naysayers. Amanda Ebersole, SkirtsandScuffs.com
4 Matt Kenseth 126 7
Kenseth is a "lame duck" driver and he's still outperforming his teammates. Either he's going to bring a whole new level of competitiveness to Joe Gibbs Racing or he's leaving behind a ton of new potential. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com
5 Jeff Gordon 109 5
Remember all the years when Gordon caught all the breaks in the world? Getting even, luck-wise just happened in the span of less than nine months. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
6 Kyle Busch 108 8
He's having one of the best Chases in his career. Too bad he's not actually in the Chase and it means nothing. Kelly Crandall, Frontstretch.com
7 Tony Stewart 96 11
Tony was some kind of sorcerer on Sunday. Spent much of the day trying to stay in the top 20, then, all of a sudden he's in the top 5. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com
8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 93 12
He admitted that had he been leading the Chase, he probably wouldn't have said anything about his concussion. I think this is the first time that mediocrity has ever been truly celebrated. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com
9 Kasey Kahne 92 4
Ended his chances the same way his season started: by hitting the wall. But in between, we had what has to be one of the Comeback Stories of 2012. How often is it where you see two men, in their first seasons driving in new rides both finish inside the top 5 in points. Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
10 Greg Biffle 91 9
What happened to this guy? He leads a good chunk of the regular season and completely falls off the map in the Chase. Heck, neither him nor his teammates have anything to do with the championship. Chase or no Chase, it's completely shocking to see a championship contender running so poorly. Oh, wait, I forgot about Hamlin…  Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com
11 Martin Truex, Jr. 88 10
NA-NA-NA-NAPA No wins, NAPA No Wins. Not good. (Especially when 2012 has been a once-in-a-blue moon experience). Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
12 Denny Hamlin 80 6
See this video. Hamlin prior to Martinsville was like the club in Road Rash 1. On Sunday, he was like the Road Rash 2. Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com
13  Kevin Harvick 68  NR 
What is it going to take to get RCR back on track in 2013? Amanda Ebersole, SkirtsandScuffs.com
14  Carl Edwards 44  NR 
Perhaps not running the Nationwide Series season wasn't such a bad idea after all. Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com
15  Joey Logano 43  NR 
Well since JGR is going to trash these cars anyway at the end of the season, might as well drive the wheels off them before they hit the junkyard, right? If only Logano had flashed this type of consistency two years ago… Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com
Dropped Out: Brian Vickers (13), Paul Menard (14), Ryan Newman (15).
Others Receiving Votes: Ryan Newman (41), Mark Martin (32), Aric Almirola (32), Kurt Busch (26), Paul Menard (17), Regan Smith (12), Jeff Burton (8), Sam Hornish, Jr. (8), Brian Vickers (7), Marcos Ambrose (5), Jamie McMurray (4), Casey Mears (2), Bobby Labonte (1), Danica Patrick (1). 
Who Voted: Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.comKelly Crandall, SpeedwayMedia.com; Summer Bedgood, Frontstretch.com; Tom Bowles, Frontstretch.com; Carolyn Brewster, NASCAR Illustrated; Amanda Ebersole, SkirtsandScuffs.com; Dustin Long, Athlon Sports; Matt Taliaferro, Athlon Sports.

Contact Summer Bedgood

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