NASCAR Power Rankings - Smoke still Tops

Road Race Means Nothing For Sprint Cup Power Rankings

When it comes to drivers winning or losing the Sprint Cup, the road races, like the Toyota Save Mart 350 this past weekend, rarely mean anything. 

Drivers can get a chance to improve their position in the Chase, or to even take a step closer to making the Chase, by doing well in the road races, but road racing rarely has an outcome as far as the Sprint Cup is concerned.  That’s because there isn’t a single road race in the Chase.

Let’s take a look at the Power Rankings for this week.

  1. Tony Stewart +300 - - Smoke continues to stay at the top of the Sprint Cup Standings and continues to be one of the favorites to win the Sprint Cup because even though he has only one victory so far this year, he keeps getting into the top ten.  Tony is a serious contender as a first year owner for a Sprint Cup Championship.  He, once again, is one of the top three drivers in NASCAR.


  1. Jeff Gordon +400 - - Gordon has cut Tony’s lead in the Sprint Cup Standings to 47 points.  He’s doing what he needs to right now to just keep himself in the top 5 before the Chase.  At odds of 4 to 1, Jeff is a slightly better wager than Tony or Jimmie in the sportsbook and his chances of winning the Cup might be just as good. 


  1. Jimmie Johnson +300 - - What’s interesting is that Jimmie hasn’t won a pole yet this year, but his two victories is second on the Hendrick Team and he has done well enough to keep himself in fourth place in the standings.  Gamblers must remember that three years in a row Jimmie has turned it on during the Chase.


  1. Kurt Busch +1000 - - Kurt switches places with Ryan Newman but the standing could change in a heartbeat.  What bettors need to remember about the elder Busch is that unlike in 2008, there’s no question that he makes the Chase and there’s no question that he’s driving better than younger brother Kyle.


  1. Ryan Newman +1000 - - He’s still a nice long shot and has kept himself in the top 6 by driving smart.  Newman could become a serious dark horse if he were to win a race or two before the Chase.


  1. Carl Edwards +700 - - Carl’s just been Mr. Steady so far in 2009.  The key to remember about Carl is that he really hasn’t had a Carl like year.  Roush Racing is hoping that Edwards gets hot at the right time of the year, during the Chase, instead of before it.  He needs to keep improving, though, because making the Chase gets difficult around 6 to 12.


  1. Greg Biffle +1000 - - Like his Roush Racing teammate, Biffle has just been steady while the Hendrick boys have been dominating and grabbing checkered flags almost every week.  That’s okay.  Making the Chase is the first thing to do.  Then, taking down the Hendrick boys and Tony Stewart is the next thing to do.


  1. Mark Martin +1000 - - Look who leads Hendrick Motorsports in victories?  Mark Martin who jumps from 13th place in the Sprint Cup Standings to 8th because of yet another victory.  The old man, as some are calling him, could be in line for another Sprint Cup Championship because he’s out dueling not only the rest of NASCAR but his other Hendrick teammates as well.


  1. Kyle Busch +600 - - Three wins looks good to gamblers and will always make Kyle one of the favorites, but he’s really not doing enough to give gamblers reason for betting him at 6 to 1 to win the Chase.  The Sprint Cup is awarded to a driver who’s consistent, not one who will do anything to win.  That means smart driving always means more than Kyle’s brand of “cowboy” driving.


  1. Denny Hamlin +1800 - - Hamlin jumps to 10th after being the cusp of not making the Chase because he’s finally gotten his crew and himself on the same page.  Denny has a way to go to challenge the top five drivers, but he’s getting there. 


  1. Matt Kenseth +1200 - - Things just haven’t been the same for Kenseth since that scintillating victory in the Daytona 500 followed up by a victory a week later.  But he’s not doing anything to hurt his chances to make the Chase.  Still, he needs to show more before bettors can really take him seriously as a challenger to Gordon, Stewart and Johnson.


  1. Jeff Burton +6000 - - Burton needs to just make the Chase.  If he does that, then he has a legitimate shot to win it as he finished 3rd in 2008.  Gamblers aren’t looking to make a wager on Burton just yet, but his ability to stay in races will make him a dangerous driver in the last ten weeks.  That is, if he does make the Chase.