NASCAR Power Poll: Edwards on Top
Apr 14, 2011
Despite a loose-handling racecar and issues with his mother's cooking, Carl Edwards finished third Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway, propelling him to the forefront of the Sprint Cup standings and earning him first place in this week's Sporting News Power Poll.
Matt Kenseth, who won Saturday night's Samsung Mobile 500, is second to his Roush Fenway Racing teammate in the poll, marking the first time this year two drivers from the same organization have been 1-2 in the poll, which is a weekly collaboration of Sporting News, SceneDaily.com, Rowdy.com and NASCAR Illustrated.
1. Carl Edwards (last week: 4th) Edwards was third at Texas with a loose car and a sour stomach. Could have been a lot worse.
2. Matt Kenseth (6th) Kenseth suddenly is a sleeper in the championship hunt after his dominating victory and streak of top finishes.
3. Kyle Busch (2nd) A loose wheel took its toll at Texas and knocked Busch out of the points lead.
4. Jimmie Johnson (3rd) Johnsonís eighth-place run made him the best of the Hendrick bunch, albeit one spot better than Junior. With their two teams separated by two spots in points, perhaps parity is being realized at HMS.
5. Kevin Harvick (1st) Harvick cooled to a 20th-place run after two straight wins. But heíll be a favorite this week at Talladega.
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (8th) Junior surely has the consistency he has been lacking for nearly three years. And one of his best tracks, Talladega, is coming up.
7. Clint Bowyer (11th) Bowyer ran up front for a second straight race, and this time he finished second. Perhaps better yet, thatís three straight top 10s.
8. Ryan Newman (5th) Newman toughed it out for a somewhat respectable 14th-place finish. He said it could have been a lot worse.
9. Kurt Busch (10th) Busch used fuel mileage to salvage a top-10 at Texas, but Kurt is not a happy camper these days.
10. Juan Pablo Montoya (9th) Montoya didnít make a lot of noise but finished 13th. That cost him one spot in the points, though, as he drops to eighth.
11. Greg Biffle (18th) The Biff didnít get the win he wanted at Texas, but he did get the top five he needed.
12. Tony Stewart (13th) At Texas he ran into Dave Blaney on pit road, got nabbed for a speeding penalty and ran out of gas. This weekend he sets up house in the belly of a whale.
13. Paul Menard (16th) With his second top five of 2011óthe first time he has scored more than one in a seasonóMenard continued to prove doubters wrong.
14. Jeff Gordon (7th) Gordon has now finished off the lead lap in three of the first seven races. In 2010, it took him 31 races to rack up three finishes off the lead lap.
15. David Ragan (20th) Ragan sat on the pole, led 11 laps and finished seventh (but behind all three of his teammates). Banner weekend for the fourth and sometimes forgotten driver in the Roush stable.
16. Denny Hamlin (15th) Hamlin won both races at Texas last year but looked lost Saturday night. How long before panic sets in?
17. Kasey Kahne (14th) 1.5-mile tracks used to be right in Kahneís wheelhouse. An undistinguished run does not bode well for the No. 4.
18. AJ Allmendinger (17th) The Dinger is hanging on in the Chase derby, but he canít afford too many more mediocre runs.
19. Marcos Ambrose (NR) With his sixth-place run at Texas, Ambrose has scored top 10s in two of this seasonís three downforce races.
20. Mark Martin (12th) Victimized in the only real incident at Texas, Martin limped home 36th. Fifteenth in points, and one position behind Jeff Gordon, proving parity comes in different forms at Hendrick Motorsports.
21. Jeff Burton (25th) Burton knocked on the door of his first top 10, but he came up one spot short.
22. Jamie McMurray (19th) The fact McMurray is now 24th in points has to be frustrating. That teammate Montoya is eighth makes McMurrayís season downright perplexing.
23. Brad Keselowski (NR) Led 32 laps at Texas, his most ever for one race.
24. Martin Truex Jr. (21st) The hits just keep on coming for Truex. For the second straight week, he ended his day on the back of a wrecker.
25. Joey Logano (24th) Just when Logano thought this season couldnít get any worse, he gets in a pit-road accident with David Reutimann.
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