NASCAR Power Rankings: A New Leader After Pocono

  1. Kyle Busch (+2)

Busch won Sunday’s race, which, at this point, is basically a guarantee to get the top spot in the power rankings if you’re one of the big three. This ties him with Kevin Harvick in terms of wins, with six apiece. Busch now has three consecutive top five finishes, and eight of his last nine. Busch has finished worse than fifth in only three of the season’s 18 non-restrictor plate events.

  1. Kevin Harvick (-1)

Harvick clearly had the fastest car Sunday, but between having to start from the rear and contact with Aric Almirola on pit road, Harvick couldn’t pull it off. Even after all that, Harvick still pulled off a fourth-place finish. Like Busch, Harvick only has three finishes worse than fifth in the 18 non-restrictor plate races this season.

  1. Martin Truex Jr. (-1)

Truex just didn’t have what it took to run up front, or even top ten at Pocono. He finished 15th and never scored a single stage point. It was a disappointing performance, especially considering Truex won the first race at Pocono a bit over a month ago. The lackluster performance wasn’t entirely out of left field, though. Truex had a similar run at the similar track at Michigan. While Truex can beat Harvick and Busch some weekends, these runs are certainly worrying. However, neither Michigan nor Pocono appears in the playoffs, fortunately for Truex.

  1. Kurt Busch (+1)

Busch finished ninth at Pocono, his third consecutive top ten. Busch has found some decent speed these last few races. He’s nowhere near the big three, but he’s been decent, with an average finish of 13th so far this season.

  1. Kyle Larson (-1)

Larson had a decent run going, but fell all the way back to 23rd after being squeezed between teammate Jamie McMurray and Michael McDowell. The damage wasn’t too severe, but there wasn’t time for Larson to recover.

  1. Clint Bowyer (+2)

Bowyer ended the day 11th, which isn’t too bad, but didn’t match the speed he had at times during this season. To have any chance at the championship, he’ll need to pick it up, big time.

  1. Brad Keselowski (-1)

Keselowski was having a good run until Kyle Larson got into him, cutting down his right rear tire and sending him into the wall. The wreck ended Keselowski’s day and he ended up 38th.

  1. Aric Almirola (-1)

Almirola was slowly working his way through the pack from a starting position of 34th until a late-race pit road collision with teammate Kevin Harvick derailed his run. Almirola ended up back in 25th. Recently, Almirola has shown more flashes of speed than either of his teammates not named Kevin Harvick, but has been more fraught with issues than either of them. He and his team will certainly need to work those problems out if they want to win.

  1. Erik Jones (+1)

Jones is continuing his hot streak with a fifth place finish at Pocono. Jones has scored five top five finishes in his last six races, his best stretch of the season.

  1. Joey Logano (-1)

Logano started back in 30th, and contact with Corey Lajoie gave him front end damage, which hindered him all day. He fell a lap down, and only got back on the lead lap after the final caution, a few laps before the checkered flag fell. Logano ended the day in 26th.

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