NASCAR Power Rankings - Hamlin and Harvick Appear to be Legitimate NASCAR

Denny Hamlin won his 3rd race of 2010 when he took home the trophy for the Showtime Southern 500 this past Saturday.  Hamlin was one of the favorites in the NASCAR sportsbook to win the Showtime Southern 500 and proved, once again, that an injury (this time to his knee) wasn’t going to hamper his driving ability.

With the victory, Hamlin moved up a spot to 6th in the Sprint Cup rankings.  I moved him all the way up to #3, behind Jimmie Johnson, who crashed out of the race halfway through, and Kevin Harvick, who secured another Top 10 finish and increased his lead over JJ in the Sprint Cup standings.

Jeff Gordon moved up 2 places in the Sprint Cup Standings to 4th even though he failed to secure a victory at Darlington.  Gordo is sitting on a win and must be considered one of the NASCAR betting favorites this weekend to notch his first victory of 2010.

NASCAR Power Rankings

** NASCAR odds listed in sportsbook are current odds to win Sprint Cup Championship as of this writing.

1.  Kevin Harvick +1200 - - Harvick increased his lead over JJ in the Sprint Cup Standings by clocking in 6th at Darlington.  There hasn’t been a more consistent driver on the Sprint Cup Circuit so far in 2010.

2.  Jimmie Johnson +300 - - JJ’s odds rise this week to 3 to 1 after his crash with A.J. Almendinger sent him to the sidelines at Darlington.  Those NASCAR betting odds are awfully nice considering that JJ’s won 4 Sprint Cup Championships in a row.  He’ll bounce back soon.

3.  Denny Hamlin +450 - - Along with Kyle Busch, Hamlin is making sure that folks don’t forget how powerful Joe Gibbs Racing really is.  Note to Tony Stewart:  uh…yep, it was the ownership.

4.  Jeff Gordon +500 - - His NASCAR odds to win the Sprint Cup dropped even though he blew the win at Darlington.  Gordon made a stupid mistake, driving past the orange cone on his way to the pit area, that cost him the Showtime Southern 500 victory but he did so well to finish 4th that he moved 2 spots up in the Sprint Cup Standings.

5.  Kyle Busch +450 - - Kyle followed up his victory two weeks ago with a 7th place finish at Darlington.  No matter what his teammate Denny Hamlin said, Kyle has matured this season.
6.  Matt Kenseth +2000 - - His 13th place finish at Darlington wasn’t flashy, but so what?  He’s still in the Top 5 in the Sprint Cup Standings.

7.  Kurt Busch +1500 - - After a week away from my power rankings, Big Brother Kurt is back.  Kurt’s 3rd place finish at Darlington could be a sign of good things to come.

8.  Juan Pablo Montoya +3500 - - His NASCAR wagering odds dropped from 40 to 1 to 35 to 1.  He’s a great bet because he’s starting to really get into a groove with two Top 5 and one Top 10 finish in the last 3 weeks.  He’s yet to crack the Top 12 in the Sprint Cup Standings, but that could all change in the next few weeks.

9.  Jeff Burton +1200 - - Burton debuts in the power rankings after securing an 8th place finish at Darlington.  He’s 9th in the Sprint Cup standings and put a run in for the Chase title in 2008.  That makes him an interesting NASCAR betting option in the sportsbook at double-digit odds.

10.  Carl Edwards +1500 - - Rising odds are a sign that Carl hasn’t been doing very well lately.  Based on reputation, I sort of have to keep him in the power rankings even though my gut tells me that he’s probably not going to do much the rest of this year.  It just doesn’t look like he’s driving with a lot of conviction. 

Dropped-out:  Clint Bowyer +2500, Mark Martin +1800

Clint dropped 3 spots in the Sprint Cup Standings after his 32nd place finish.  Martin finished 16th at Darlington, but he’s definitely been relegated to the 3rd, maybe even 4th, best NASCAR wagering option driving for Hendrick Motorsports.

On the Verge:  Dale Earnhardt Jr. +2500

Dale Jr. made the Top 12 in the Sprint Cup Standings after gaining a position.  If Edwards finishes out of the Top 10 again, I might have put Jr. back into the rankings.

This week, drivers head to Dover International Speedway for the Autsim Speaks 400.  Log onto the NASCAR sportsbook and check out the racing odds on the driver you like to win the Autism Speaks 400!

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