There are some strange spots in the standings

June, 12, 2009

Tony Stewart's leading the standings in mid-June is the obvious big surprise this season, but 2009 has presented plenty of other little quirks no sane person could have seen coming.

For example: Sam Hornish Jr. ranks three spots ahead of Kevin Harvick in the standings.

A few Hornish fans might have predicted he would improve and rank as high as 23rd in the points, but for Harvick to be stuck in the 26th spot is a shocker.

And how about Marcos Ambrose ranking ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr.?

Anyone making that prediction in January would have needed a psychological evaluation. But Ambrose ranks an impressive 18th in his first full Sprint Cup season, two spots higher than the struggling Earnhardt.

Yes, there's more. AJ Allmendinger has more points than David Ragan, a man who almost made the Chase last season.

Allmendinger has coaxed a week-by-week fourth car at Richard Petty Motorsports to 29th in the standings. Ragan is 31st.

How can anyone driving Roush Fenway Racing equipment rank 31st? Especially on a team that ranked 13th at the end of last season?

The standings are full of oddities heading into this weekend's race at Michigan. Take Mark Martin's situation.

Martin's two victories are more than those of nine of the top 12 drivers in the standings. His seven top-10s are more than five of the top 12 have, but Martin falls one spot outside the Chase cutoff, in 13th.

The man with the most victories this season -- Kyle Busch, with three -- ranks ninth, proving once again that this points system needs to be tweaked to place more emphasis on winning.

Some of these bizarre situations will correct themselves as the season progresses. But for now, they have most of us scratching our heads and saying, "You're kidding."

Terry Blount

ESPN Staff Writer



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