NASCAR Power Rankings after Bristol: Turbulence for the Big Three

  1. Kevin Harvick (+1)

Harvick finished tenth on Saturday night, which wasn’t great. However, a rough day for the Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. means Harvick ascends to the top of the power rankings once again.

  1. Kyle Busch (-1)

Busch had a really rough day at Bristol, getting caught up in a crash early, recovering, then spinning once again. The result, 20th place, could have been worse, though. A good recovery at Darlington will be key for Busch to build momentum towards the playoffs.

  1. Martin Truex Jr. (NC)

Truex finished 30th after being turned into the wall late in the race by Kyle Busch. Truex had also been caught up in the wreck involving Busch early in the race. This bad finish further distances Truex from the top two.

  1. Kurt Busch (NC)

Busch captured a much-needed victory on Saturday night. While he’s still far off the big three, a streak of six consecutive top ten finishes is drawing him slowly closer.

  1. Erik Jones (NC)

Jones finished fifth at Bristol, his third fifth-place finish in four races. In the six races since his breakthrough Daytona win, Jones has finished outside the top ten only twice, and never worse than 16th. Jones has some solid momentum as the playoffs loom.

  1. Clint Bowyer (NC)

Bowyer ended Saturday night sixth, a solid day for the Stewart-Haas driver. He ran near the front all race, which has been rare for him. This finish is his first top ten since Chicagoland back in July.

  1. Kyle Larson (+1)

Larson finished second behind Kurt Busch. That’s not shocking considering how fast Larson is at Bristol. Continuing this momentum into Darlington will be key, though, given that he hasn’t had two consecutive top five finishes all season.

  1. Chase Elliott (+1)

Much like Erik Jones, Elliott has been on fire since his win, which came at the Glen a few weeks ago, as a third place finish has extended his top ten streak to five races. Last season Elliott heated up big time during the playoffs, but can he one-up that this year?

  1. Brad Keselowski (-2)

Keselowski ended up 16th on Saturday night, continuing a exceptionally rough stretch for the Team Penske driver. In his last five races, Keselowski has finished inside the top 15 only once, a second-place finish at Michigan.

  1. Ryan Blaney (NR)

Blaney makes a reappearance in the power rankings following a seventh-place finish at Bristol. Blaney led 121 of the night’s 500 laps and won stage one. This is his sixth consecutive top 12 finish.

NASCAR Power Rankings after Michigan: The Big Drop

  1. Kyle Busch (NC)

Busch finished third on Sunday, marking his 14th top-three finish of the season. Busch has a very impressive average finish of seventh this season, a series-best. He also hasn’t finished worse than fifth at a non-restrictor plate track since Kansas, eleven races ago. Busch has also been leading in points since all the way back at Martinsville, and currently holds a 62 point lead over second place Kevin Harvick.

  1. Kevin Harvick (NC)

Harvick took the win on Sunday, his seventh of the season, a series-high. He hasn’t had quite the consistency that Busch has, and there have been instances where he’s had the fastest car and not won, but that’s certainly not to say that he’s far behind Busch. These two are bound to battle it out at Homestead in November.

  1. Martin Truex Jr. (NC)

Truex has been a little puzzling in the last few races. Since his last came at Kentucky, he finished a solid fourth at Loudon, followed a disappointing 15th at Pocono. He then nearly won at Watkins Glen, but that was tempered this week after he finished 14th. He’s started to fall back from the top two, and the big three may be no more if Truex can’t get back to form.

  1. Kurt Busch (NC)

Busch had another solid race, finishing sixth on Sunday. The finish extends his top-ten streak to five races, his longest of the season. For a driver that’s likely downgrading next season, Busch has been damn good lately.

  1. Erik Jones (+1)

After a pair of spins, it’s hard to believe that Jones is moving up in the rankings, but a remarkable recovery means he still finished 13th, and passes Kyle Larson for fifth.

  1. Clint Bowyer (+1)

Bowyer ended the race 12th, which is solid. Before Sunday, Bowyer had two consecutive 11th place finishes. Now that’s what I call consistency.

  1. Brad Keselowski (+1)

Keselowski played some strategy late in Sunday’s race, allowing him to grab a second-place finish. It’s a much needed good finish after a stretch of four out of five races outside the top 15.

  1. Kyle Larson (-3)

Larson ended up 17th, which means six of his last nine finishes have been outside the top ten, including three outside the top 20. Larson desperately needs to get out of this funk if he wants to contend for a championship later this season.

  1. Chase Elliott (NC)

Elliott finished ninth coming off his first career win at the Glen, his fourth consecutive top ten. He’s getting hot at the right time, that’s for sure. After last season, Elliott looks to make a run at Homestead.

  1. Aric Almirola (NC)

After two consecutive bad races, Almirola has stopped the skid with a seventh place finish. This inconsistency needs to end for Almirola to have any shot at a deep playoff run.

NASCAR Power Rankings after the Glen: Business in the Front, Party in the Back

  1. Kyle Busch (NC)

Despite fuel issues on the last pit stop of the day, Busch ended the day third, behind Martin Truex Jr. and winner Chase Elliott. Busch now rides a streak of four consecutive top four finishes, and has a total of 16 top five finishes in the 22 races so far this season.

  1. Kevin Harvick (NC)

Harvick didn’t really show up all day, ending up tenth. Lucky for him, only one more road course remains this season. It might be an important one, though, given it takes place during the playoffs at the roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He and Kyle Busch are very closely matched, both with six wins, 16 top five finishes and 18 top ten finishes. Busch, however, bests Harvick in points and average finish.

  1. Martin Truex Jr. (NC)

Truex has fallen back from the top two, but was the fastest of them on Sunday. He fought Chase Elliott for the win, but ran out of fuel two corners short of the finish line, and ended up second. The runner-up finish acts as a nice rebound from a disappointing 15th place finish at Pocono last weekend.

  1. Kurt Busch (NC)

Busch has been the strongest outside of the top three as of late. A ninth place finish means he’s on a four-race top ten streak, his second of the season. Busch only has three top five finishes, but has collected 13 top ten finishes as well, and has an average finish of just better than 13th.

  1. Kyle Larson (NC)

Larson ended the day in sixth place, a solid drive, and a nice recovery from a 23rd place finish at Pocono. The finish is Larson’s 12th top ten finish of 2018.

  1. Erik Jones (+3)

Jones finished fifth at the Glen, following up a fifth at Pocono the weekend before. Jones is now on a streak of six top ten finishes in seven races, including his win at Daytona and two other top five finishes. Another win could solidify him as a legitimate championship contender.

  1. Clint Bowyer (-1)

Bowyer finished 11th at the Glen, a rather disappointing day for the skilled road course racer. Bowyer hasn’t score a top ten finish since he finished fifth at Chicagoland over a month ago.

  1. Brad Keselowski (-1)

A third consecutive finish worse than 15th is disappointing for Keselowski, especially considering he’s been strong at road courses in the past. Like Bowyer, Keselowski has rapidly fallen from grace in the last few weeks.

  1. Chase Elliott (NR)

Elliott won at the Glen on Sunday, and had been on a strong run in the last three weeks. In that time, Elliott has won three stages, led 150 laps, and finally grabbed his first career win. Keeping this up could launch Elliott up the rankings. After seeing how Elliott heated up in last year’s playoffs, his competitors should take notice.

  1. Aric Almirola (-2)

Almirola ended up getting turned into the turn seven wall early in Sunday’s race. He would continue, but never got close to seventh, where he started the day. Instead, he ended up with a finish of 22nd. In the last six races, Almirola has finished outside the top 20 four times, despite leading over 100 laps in that timespan.

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.

NASCAR Power Rankings: The New Hampshire Shake Up

  1. Kevin Harvick (+1)

Harvick took the win on Sunday, his sixth of the season, the most of anyone. The final run brought him closer and closer to leader Kyle Busch, until Harvick was able to knock Busch out of the way to claim the win. Look for Harvick to win more races and lead more laps. While the Toyotas of Busch and Martin Truex Jr. have matched Harvick’s speed at times, the Stewart-Haas Fords are fast more consistently. Harvick now has an incredible 15 top five finishes this season, or 75% of the races, also the most of anyone so far.

  1. Martin Truex Jr. (-1)

Truex didn’t take home the win, but he did lead 83 laps and take home a fourth-place finish. This extends his streak of top-four finishes to five races. Add to that the fact that he has won three of the last seven races and Truex is certainly still a force to be reckoned with.

  1. Kyle Busch (NC)

Busch got knocked out of the way by Harvick, but still took home second place, his seventh top-five in his last eight races. While he’s placed third in these rankings currently, significant volatility still exists, especially among the “big three.”

  1. Kyle Larson (+1)

Larson floundered much of the day, unable to find much speed. However, he recovered to take home a respectable 12th-place finish. Thanks to issues for those around him, Larson moves up to fourth in the rankings.

  1. Kurt Busch (+2)

Like Larson, Busch benefits from others’ issues and moves up to fifth in the rankings after an eighth-place finish. Busch has eight top-10 finishes in his last 11 races, a very impressive streak. He still hasn’t taken home a win, but that’s not surprising considering how dominant the “big three” have been.

  1. Brad Keselowski (-2)

Keselowski fought issues all day and eventually lost his brakes. Fortunately the issue didn’t happen all at once, allowing him to keep the car in one piece. Even so, he ended the race 32nd, eight laps down.

  1. Aric Almirola (+2)

Almirola led 42 laps on Sunday, and looked to be on the way to his first win of the season. Unfortunately, the caution came out after his teammate Clint Bowyer hit the wall, and Almirola’s crew had a slow pit stop, setting him back to third, where he finished. It’s his first top five finish of the season and his ninth top ten finish.

  1. Clint Bowyer (-2)

Bowyer ran top-ten all day, but a penalty set him back, followed by a mechanical failure, which ended his day. This marks the third race in a row outside of the top ten for Bowyer, who had been on a streak of three top-fives in a row before this latest trio of races.

  1. Joey Logano (+1)

Logano ended up ninth, and ran right around there all day. It was a solid day for the Team Penske driver, who has had a solid but quiet season.

  1. Erik Jones (-2)

Jones ended the day in the 16th position after his car’s handling went away early on. This ends a four-race top-ten streak for Jones.

Power Rankings – Kentucky

  1. Martin Truex Jr. (+2)

Suddenly Martin Truex Jr. has appeared to dwarf the other two of the big three in terms of speed. Neither Kyle Busch nor Kevin Harvick led a single lap, due in part to Truex leading 174 of them. Truex also swept the stages and grabbed the race win as well.

  1. Kevin Harvick (-1)

Harvick had another solid race on Saturday night at Kentucky. While he didn’t lead any laps, he stayed in the top five all night and ended up fifth. This marks his 14th top five finish in 19 races so far this season, including five of his last six.

  1. Kyle Busch (-1)

Like Harvick, Busch had a solid night, but didn’t lead any laps. Busch ended the race in fourth, his 13th top five this season, and, like Harvick, his fifth top five in his last six races.

  1. Brad Keselowski (+2)

Keselowski ended the night third after a gutsy pit call by crew chief Paul Wolfe put him up front on old tires after the end of stage two. He was able to lead for about 35 laps before losing the lead to eventual winner Martin Truex Jr. Fortunately for Keselowski, the caution came out shortly after, and he was able to keep his track position.

  1. Kyle Larson (NC)

Larson was running down the leaders late in Saturday night’s race, but a faulty track bar adjuster foiled any hope of a victory as his car rapidly became a handful. However, his crew was able to adjust the car on pit road during the final pit stop of the night, and Larson charged through the pack to grab a hard-earned ninth-place finish. That wasn’t the first charge through the pack, either. Larson was late to driver introductions and had to start from the rear of the field Saturday. That didn’t stop him from scoring points in both stages, though.

  1. Clint Bowyer (-2)

Bowyer had a very “meh” race on Saturday night. He ran much of the race inside the top ten, ending both stages in sixth place. In the final stage, he fell back to his finishing position of 12th.

  1. Kurt Busch (NC)

Busch found himself up front for a total of 45 laps through alternative pit strategy, and it worked out for him. He managed to finish sixth, but didn’t quite have the speed to contend with the top five.

  1. Erik Jones (+2)

Coming off his big win at Daytona, Jones was looking for more at Kentucky. It wasn’t another win, but it wasn’t a failure by any stretch. Jones fought an ill-handling car all night, falling outside the top ten, before working his way back up to finish seventh. This marks his fourth consecutive top ten finish, and his ninth this season.

  1. Aric Almirola (-1)

Almirola finished eighth, a solid day for the Stewart-Haas Racing driver. He ran decent all day, and ended up with his eighth top ten of the season. Of those eight top tens, though, none are top fives. Yet.

  1. Joey Logano (-1)

Logano didn’t have a great night, but managed a 10th place finish on the day, his 14th of the season. His year hasn’t been flashy, but it’s been solid. He doesn’t have too many top fives to show for it, though.

Power Rankings: Daytona – 2

  1. Kevin Harvick (NC)

While Harvick was caught up in a late-race wreck at Daytona, he had a solid run, staying near the front much of the race and leading a handful of laps. That means Harvick has led laps in 13 of the 18 races so far in 2018, the most of anybody. He’s still at the top, and Kyle Busch looks like the only fast enough to take him down.

  1. Kyle Busch (NC)

Speaking of Busch, he was taken out in an incident late in stage two after contact with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Like Harvick, Busch showed a decent amount of speed, so he maintains his second-place position.

  1. Martin Truex Jr. (NC)

Truex was strong at Daytona, leading laps and ending up second behind winner Erik Jones. Overall, though, Clint Bowyer may threaten his third-place position in the near future.

  1. Clint Bowyer (+1)

After being involved in the first large wreck in stage one, Bowyer bounced back and was running up front until contact with Darrell Wallace Jr. sent him into the wall. He had a strong car, but was never able to show it.

  1. Kyle Larson (-1)

Larson was involved in the massive wreck in stage two, and his car was never the same after that. In the final stage, he blew a tire, sending him spinning. He collected Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and wouldn’t continue, ending up 29th.

  1. Brad Keselowski (NC)

Keselowski’s day ended early as he was turned by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., tipping off the massive wreck that also ended the days of his two Penske teammates. Keselowski ended his day in 36th spot.

  1. Kurt Busch (NC)

For Busch, it’s pretty much the same story as Brad Keselowski. He was caught up in the first big wreck, and that ended his day. Busch ended up 37th.

  1. Aric Almirola (NC)

Like the two above him, Almirola was caught up in the big wreck early on, but he would continue. After the damage, his car wasn’t the same, but he was able to survive until a four-car wreck ended his day late in the race.

  1. Joey Logano (NC)

Like his Penske teammate Brad Keselowski, Logano’s day was ended by the big wreck in stage two. Logano finished 39th.

  1. Erik Jones (NR)

Jones pulled out the win in Saturday night’s race, beating a very strong Martin Truex Jr. Jones now rides a three-race top ten streak. It seems to be coming together for Jones a bit. Keeping this up could cement his place as the second-best Joe Gibbs Racing driver behind Kyle Busch.

Power Rankings – Chicagoland

  1. Kevin Harvick (NC)

Harvick maintains supremacy, despite Kyle Busch matching his win total of five this weekend. Harvick won stage two with a late pass of Kurt Busch and led 39 laps, third-most of anyone. While Harvick ended up third, he was, again, clearly one of the top dogs, and shows no signs of slowing down.

  1. Kyle Busch (+1)

Busch fell to third after failing to keep up with Truex at Sonoma, but his winning performance at Chicagoland puts him right back to second. Busch now has five wins in 2018, tying him with Harvick. Like Harvick, Busch shows no signs of slowing down, and may even be distancing himself from Truex a little.

  1. Martin Truex Jr. (-1)

Truex had a solid run at Chicagoland, finishing top four in both stages and fourth in the race. The stat that sticks out to me is that he didn’t lead all day, and was the only driver in the top five to never find the front. He just couldn’t find the speed of the SHR cars, Kyle Busch, or Larson.

  1. Kyle Larson (+3)

After less-than-impressive runs at both Michigan and Sonoma, Larson rebounded in spectacular fashion on Sunday, bumping and spinning his way to a second-place finish to Kyle Busch.  While Larson’s season has been hit-and-miss, this weekend was a huge hit, both for Larson and for the fans. As for being a fourth championship contender, Larson will have to show more consistent speed and minimize mistakes to solidify himself as a contender.

  1. Clint Bowyer (+1)

Bowyer had one heck of a day, recovering from three penalties in stage one to finish the race sixth. Bowyer also led 21 laps before the series of penalties.

  1. Brad Keselowski (-1)

Keselowski finished top ten, led laps, and finished both stages in sixth. However, he was plain outmatched by the frontrunners. Unless he starts winning or leading way more laps, it will be hard to justify moving Keselowski above sixth. Odds are he will only fall.

  1. Kurt Busch (-2)

Busch had a solid run going, finishing both stages in the top four and leading 20 laps. However, his race fell apart as the handling on his race car became erratic in the final stage, starting out loose before turning tight. This caused Busch to fall all the way back to 17th.

  1. Aric Almirola (+2)

Almirola showed true SHR speed on Sunday, leading a race-high 70 laps and winning stage one. He looked to be in position to grab the second stage as well, before a loose wheel caused him to pit from the lead. He recovered and re-entered the top 10 during the final stage, but another loose wheel set him back to his finishing position of 25th.

  1. Joey Logano (-1)

Similar to teammate Keselowski, Logano had a decent run at Chicagoland, scoring points in both stages and ending up eighth. He just couldn’t find the speed of the frontrunners. If Stewart-Haas teammates Almirola and Kurt Busch can keep their speed up, it’s likely Logano will stay down here.

  1. Denny Hamlin (-1)

After a spin early in the final stage, Hamlin was able to recover to a seventh-place finish. Look for Hamlin to move up a bit if he can keep these top tens up, especially if the Penske gang or the bottom two Stewart-Haas cars struggle.

Power Rankings – Sonoma

1. Kevin Harvick (NC)

Harvick, as ever, had a stellar run once again at Sonoma. He led 35 laps, second only to the victor, Martin Truex Jr.

2. Martin Truex Jr. (+1)

Truex has begun to show the speed that he had last year once again, leading the most laps and grabbing a decisive victory. Cole Pearn, Truex’s crew chief, faked pitting during the final stage, causing Rodney Childers to bring Kevin Harvick in to the pits. Truex then stayed out for another bunch of laps, pitted, and used new tires to pass second-place Clint Bowyer and then-leader Harvick. Truex would win by over ten seconds as Harvick and much of the rest of the field pitted again.

3. Kyle Busch (-1)

A championship-form Truex is the last thing Kyle Busch wants to see right now. After all, Truex was the only thing between Busch and that sweet Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series trophy last season. While Busch finished fifth at Sonoma, he didn’t quite have the handling to compete with the top few.

4. Brad Keselowski (NC)

Keselowski had a decent day at Sonoma, scoring quite a few stage points and finishing 13th. In fact, he tied for the second-most points of anyone with Truex, earning 40 points. He’s still waiting on that win, though.

5. Kurt Busch (+2)

Kurt Busch, like his brother Kyle, was very solid all day, ending up sixth. He continues to run very competitively, like his Stewart-Haas Racing teammates, and a win may be in the cards if he can pull a little strategy to beat the top three.

6. Clint Bowyer (+3)

Bowyer had an extremely solid run on Sunday, and seemed to only be slower than Harvick and Truex. The win a couple weeks ago at Michigan combined with this has Bowyer being talked about as a championship contender.

7. Kyle Larson (-2)

While Larson started on pole, he struggled all day with a loose race car and faded back later in runs. He ended up 14th, which isn’t spectacular, especially after his 28th-place finish at Michigan.

8. Joey Logano (-2)

Like Larson, Logano struggled all day with an ill-handling race car and ended up 19th for his efforts. Logano also failed to score any stage points in the strategic mess of stage racing at Sonoma, which hurts when combined with finishing as far back as he did.

9. Denny Hamlin (+1)

Hamlin finished tenth and won stage two, a solid day for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver. He’s been solid all season, but he and his team are still not quite where they need to be to win.

10. Aric Almirola (NR)

Almirola ran well all race, ending the day eighth. While it’s not spectacular, consistency has been getting him places. An average finish of 11.8 (seventh best in the series) doesn’t lie.

Power Rankings: Michigan – 1

  1. Kevin Harvick (NC)

As with last week at Pocono, Harvick led the most laps, at 49, again at Michigan. He and his Stewart-Haas Racing teammates had absolutely unmatched speed, which resulted in a 1-2-3 finish for the team, with Harvick finishing second.

  1. Kyle Busch (NC)

Busch was solid all day, but wasn’t able to get up front all race. However, a fourth-place run is good enough to keep his spot in the rankings.

  1. Martin Truex Jr. (NC)

After a win at Pocono, Truex was riding high. His momentum entering Sunday was stopped far short, though, as he ran outside the top ten all day, finishing 18th, without scoring a single stage point. We’ll see where the team goes from here, but the total lack of speed Truex showed is certainly worrying. We’ll see what he does in the second Michigan race later this summer.

  1. Brad Keselowski (+2)

Another solid run is just what the doctor ordered for Keselowski, who ended his day in sixth. He scored points in both stage and was just plain quick all day. If he can keep this up, the wins will be coming.

  1. Kyle Larson (-1)

Like Truex, Larson was also riding high after last weekend, but had his run at Michigan thwarted by a spin in stage two. The rain killed any comeback he might have had and Larson ended his day in 28th spot.

  1. Joey Logano (-1)

Logano had a similar finish to Keselowski, but failed to get more than a couple stage points. He just hasn’t had the outright speed of his teammates Keselowski or, at times, Blaney, but he’s been consistent, which has helped him big time.

  1. Kurt Busch (+1)

Kurt Busch finished third on Sunday, and had a very impressive run, showing off Stewart-Haas Racing’s astonishing speed. At times, it seemed that only his teammate Kevin Harvick was faster than Busch. He’s been strong in recent weeks, with top ten finishes in five of his last six races.

  1. Ryan Blaney (+1)

Blaney came out of Sunday’s race with a stage win and a solid eighth-place finish. Only the SHR trio at the top scored more points than Blaney on Sunday. 15 laps up front is certainly solid for Blaney, especially when neither of his Penske teammates led a single lap. He’s had the speed to lead at times, but hasn’t been able to put a whole race together yet. That should come with time.

  1. Clint Bowyer (NR)

Bowyer’s crew chief, Mike Bugarewicz, took a gamble that nobody else was willing to, taking two tires at the end of stage two. Bowyer held off teammate Kevin Harvick and grabbed the win after the rain began to come down. Some might say it’s not a “legitimate” win, but when it comes from a guy who finished in the top three in both stages, it’s hard to say he didn’t deserve it.

  1. Denny Hamlin (-3)

Hamlin had a decent race, scored a few stage points, and finished 12th. However, the drivers that passed him all scored more points and finished better than Hamlin. He just hasn’t quite been in the right form to contend this season.