July 1, 2009

Week 27 Unified Power Rankings

Jenson Button and Tony Stewart kept their positions atop the Unified Power Rankings. Button's number one spot is unchanged because Formula 1 had the week off, but Stewart only enhanced his second-place position with a solid fifth-place finish at New Hampshire—his fifth consecutive result of seventh or better. These two drivers have redefined the concept of place-and-hold.

Mark Webber also jumped up the grid, improving his rank from 10th to third. How is that possible with the series going idle? The Power Ranking formula looks at the last 90 days for a snapshot of how drivers are performing right now, and that means that Webber's 12th-place finish in the ING Australian Grand Prix is no longer held against him. Since that race, he has posted five top-fives in seven races—including three runner-up results.

Dario Franchitti also climbed the charts from eighth to fourth on the strength of his solid second-place run on the short track in Richmond. In his last four Indy short track starts, that's his worst result after winning the other three. Chip Ganassi fans should be quite proud of the organization; last week they finished 1-2, and Scott Dixon—the winner of the SunTrust Indy Challenge—settled in right behind Franchitti in fifth.

It was a great weekend for Brad Keselowski. He competed in the Nationwide and Cup series and earned accolades in both. A third-place finish in the Camping World RV Sales 200 was his fifth consecutive top-five, which easily makes him the best Nationwide Regular in the game. He also finished sixth in Cup competition and while that may have been aided by rain, the points pay the same to fantasy owners.

Ron Hornaday Jr. is slowly making his way back up the grid. With back-to-back victories at Milwaukee and Memphis, he's improved 10 positions and lands 32nd on our chart. That may not seem like much, but only two weeks ago he was in danger of falling out of the top 50. Better still, he is in striking distance of the highest ranked Camping World Truck Series driver—Matt Crafton. In the last three months, Crafton has finished worse than seventh only once, and consistency is often more important than raw strength in fantasy games.

Unified Power Rankings
Top 50

RankDriverPointsLast week+/-
1Jenson Button106.7110
2Tony Stewart99.6220
3Mark Webber93.14107
4Dario Franchitti92.6384
5Scott Dixon88.13127
6Kurt Busch86.75137
7Brad Keselowski86.39147
8Rubens Barrichello86.2991
9Jimmie Johnson86.257-2
10Erik Darnell84.83166
11Joey Logano83.362716
12Helio Castroneves82.573-9
13Ryan Briscoe82.504-9
14Greg Biffle82.50228
15Kyle Busch82.44183
16Jeff Gordon82.25171
17Mark Martin82.155-12
18Jason Leffler81.776-12
19Danica Patrick81.7515-4
20Sebastian Vettel81.433212
21Carl Edwards80.96210
22Ryan Newman80.1311-11
23Matt Kenseth79.25252
24Juan Montoya78.17262
25Dan Wheldon78.0024-1
26Denny Hamlin77.0819-7
27Matt Crafton76.8620-7
28Kasey Kahne74.92313
29Timo Glock74.4323-6
30Nico Rosberg73.29300
31Stephen Leicht73.00
32Ron Hornaday Jr72.38408
33Jeff Burton70.8828-5
34Steve Wallace70.33373
35David Reutimann70.2933-2
36Brian Vickers69.18426
37Felipe Massa68.866326
38Marco Andretti68.3834-4
39Justin Allgaier68.0036-3
40Jason Keller67.9238-2
41Tayler Malsam67.71410
42Tony Kanaan67.6335-7
43Fernando Alonso67.0029-14
44Sam Hornish Jr67.00528
45Kimi Raikkonen66.715712
46Johnny Sauter66.575913
47Jamie McMurray66.5044-3
48Colin Braun65.717628
49Tomas Scheckter65.40
50Dale Earnhardt Jr65.1339-11

Previous Unified Power Rankings:

Week 26
Week 25
Week 24
Week 23
Week 22
Week 21
Week 20

Mayfield wins injunction

Jeremy Mayfield has prevailed in his request for a temporary injunction against NASCAR's indefinite suspension, according to a tweet from @DustinLong. He plans to try and qualify at Daytona for the Coke Zero 400.

Our View: If he makes the show, expect him to try and run as long as he can. Anything can happen on a restrictor-plate superspeedway, which means he has as great a chance to finish in the top 20 as anyone else.

More Cup Series Newsbreakers

Newman a busy man at Bristol

When the NASCAR Cup series rolls into Bristol Motor Speedway this August, Ryan Newman is going to be a very busy man.

During the wildly popular August race week at the World's Fastest Half-Mile, Newman will start his marathon with the UNOH Perfect Storm 150 Whelen Modified race and the O'Reilly 200 Camping World Truck Series event Wednesday, Aug. 19. On Friday, Aug. 21 he will compete in the Food City 250 Nationwide Series event and run the final leg, the Sharpie 500 Sprint Cup Series race, Saturday, Aug. 22, according to his Website.

Our View: Apparently his crash in the Modifieds last week at New Hampshire has not dulled his enthusiasm any. Those pocket rockets on the high banks should put on one heck of a show.

Petty weighs in on Patrick

Richard Petty has added his two cents on Danica Patrick's potential move to NASCAR, saying this is no sport for a woman, according to Don Coble. He's quoted as saying, "It's good for them to come in. It gives us a lot of publicity. It gives them publicity. But as far as being a real true racer, making a living out of it, it's kind of tough."

Our View: On second thought, that opinion is not worth two cents. It's another form of bigotry that is not needed in NASCAR.

More Cup Series Newsbreakers
More Indy Racing League Newsbreakers

Kenseth 2nd, Stewart 5th at Madison

With a few days off, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart traveled to Madison, Wis. And took on the local stock car drivers. Kenseth led until lap 90, but ultimately fell to Chris Wimmer. Stewart finished fifth.

Our View: With so few short tracks on the NASCAR circuit, it's nice to see these guys keep their skills sharp.

Complete story and results

More Cup Series Newsbreakers

Logano making ground

Joey Logano is making huge strides in the Cup series, according to SceneDaily.com.

Our View: Last week's victory in the rain-shortened Lenox Industrial Tools 301 may have been a gift, but he is perhaps the most improved driver in NASCAR. His first eight races this season netted an average finish of 29.1; his last nine races have improved to 14.3—an advance of 14.8 positions.

More Cup Series Newsbreakers

Chevy at Daytona International Speedway

Highlights from a GM Press Release

Team Chevy drivers have won 37 of the 124 points-paying races at Daytona International Speedway (DIS)-more than any other manufacturer

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS, leads all active drivers with six (6) Daytona wins;

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 National Guard “Serving America”/AMP Energy Impala SS, has two (2) DIS victories

Tony Stewart, No. 14 Burger King Impala SS has two (2) DIS wins

Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Impala SS, has one (1) DIS victory

Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Pennzoil Platinum Impala SS, has won once (1) at DIS

Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s/KOBALT Tools Impala SS, has one (1) DIS win

Ryan Newman, No. 39 US Army/Haas Automation Impala SS, has won once (1) at DIS

Dodge at Daytona International Speedway

Highlights from a Dodge Press Release

• Dodge Motorsports has 15 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins at Daytona International Speedway.

• Dodge placed four drivers inside the top 10 at this year’s Daytona 500. AJ Allmendinger (third), Elliott Sadler (fifth), Reed Sorenson (ninth) and Kurt Busch (10th).

• Dodge Motorsports finished 1-2 at the 2008 Daytona 500 – Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch.

• Dodge returned to NASCAR’s premier series in 2001 after an absence of more than 20 years (Dodge exited after the 1978 season). Bill Elliott and Evernham Motorsports made it an impressive return by claiming the pole for the season-opening Daytona 500.

• Dodge has five wins in the July race (A.J. Foyt, Sam McQuagg, Bobby Isaac and Richard Petty-2) at Daytona.