Tuesday, February 13, 2007

NASCAR: Power Ratings

Alrightee, NASCAR season is approaching. I have to be honest, I have NEVER followed this " sport ". Once in awhile, I would watch a few lapse around the course. Even living in NASCAR nation for three years, did not prompt me to follow.

However, this year, I have decided to try to follow the season and figure out this fascination that some have with the sport.

So, the power ratings are out .. here they are. Once again, I am clueless, some of these names .. I never have heard of. I will see if I can follow .. my first two items .. know the names and understand the point system .. yeah ...

1. Jimmie Johnson No, he hasn't made a splash at Daytona yet this year (which Chad Knaus surely is happy about), but he's still the reigning Cup champ.

2. Tony Stewart His tear at the end of '06 leads to a Bud Shootout win in '07. Add in some complaining about Brian France, and Smoke's in midseason form.

3. Kevin Harvick Following-up a near-title effort won't necessarily be easy, but a plate track is a great place for Harvick and RCR to start.

4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Call this a futures bet. If he wins Sunday, the top spot is his. But with contract issues looming, now's not the time for a bad start.

5. Denny Hamlin The (greatly overblown) sophomore slump talk already has begun. Hamlin is fully capable of shutting that talk down very quickly.

6. Matt Kenseth After mostly outstanding season, shouldn't have anything to prove – but he does after late-season slump. As for his crew chief …

7. Kasey Kahne Patience, young padawan. If Kahne keeps it together and his engines go the distance, he could have a big year. As for his team director …

8. Ricky Rudd Two plate races from now and Rudd could vanish from here. But he's more likely to make a 500 splash than talented teammate David Gilliland.

9. Jeff Gordon The days of him being the obvious preseason championship favorite are over – which means he'll probably win it all this year.

10. Carl Edwards He and Kyle Busch were ranked at end of '06. One had to go. Big Sunday efforts from either Busch brother or the 31 could change our minds.

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