For the second consecutive week, the NBC Sports Power Rankings saw significant upheaval.
Kyle Busch – who has dominated the standings much of the season – dropped to fourth. On the flip side, Chicagoland winner Alex Bowman made the biggest jump, vaulting into the No. 3 spot after being unranked after Sonoma.
Here’s how the NBC Sports NASCAR writers voted this week:
1. Joey Logano (37 points): The points lead is no mirage: He has been the most consistently excellent performer. Has finished seventh or better in eight of the last 10 races, including his Michigan win and a third at Chicago. Last week: 4th.
2. Martin Truex Jr. (32 points): Workmanlike day led to a ninth-place finish. Team struggled all weekend and still got a top 10. Last week: 1st.
3. Alex Bowman (29 points): Didn’t back down against Kyle Larson and dropped the hammer to his first win in convincing fashion. Now he needs another win to show he’s a real title contender. Last week: Unranked.
4. Kyle Busch (19 points): Suffered second-worst finish (22nd) of season. Still, has had an outstanding year with four wins and 15 top 10s. Last week: 2nd.
5. Ryan Blaney (18 points): Quietly putting together a nice run. His sixth-place finish was his third consecutive top 10, tying him with Martin Truex Jr. for the longest active streak. Last week: 6th.
(tie) 6. Brad Keselowski (14 points): Even when he doesn’t have the best car, he’s able to have a decent finish. Fifth place at Chicagoland marks his fourth top 10 in the last six races. Last week: Not ranked.
(tie) 6. Kyle Larson (14 points): Would be good for him – and fans – if he could run worn-out tracks more often. So who wins first this year, Larson, Harvick or Johnson? Last week: Not ranked.
8. Denny Hamlin (13 points): We agree, Denny: An unnecessary rule ruined the strongest Toyota’s race Sunday. Last week: 3rd.
(tie) 9. Kevin Harvick (9 points): Eventually the floodgates will open if he keeps leading this many laps. Last week: 5th.
(tie) 9. Jimmie Johnson (9 points): Earned a fourth-place finish for his best result of the year. Now, can he build upon that with an even better showing Saturday night at Daytona? Could that 75-race winless streak soon be history? Last week: Not ranked.