NBC Sports Power Rankings: Kevin Harvick moves Martin Truex Jr. aside

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Texas winner Kevin Harvick takes over the No. 1 spot in this week’s NBC Sports Power Rankings, while last week’s leader, Martin Truex Jr., slips to a close second.

Denny Hamlin, who was No. 2 last week, had a rough go at Texas but still wound up No. 7 in this week’s rankings, as voted upon by NBC Sports’ NASCAR writers.

The biggest gainer is Kyle Busch (10th last week to fourth this week), while William Byron fell the furthest, dropping from No. 3 last week to being unranked in this week’s poll.

Both Harvick and Truex are locked into next week’s championship race at Miami, while the other two finalists will be determined Sunday at ISC Raceway (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC).

Here’s this week’s Power Rankings:

1. Kevin Harvick (39 points): The sly smile is back and so is the speed in his car. That’s a potent combination for Miami. Last week: Fifth.

2. Martin Truex Jr. (36 points): Doesn’t have to focus on anything other than Miami, but still managed a strong finish at Texas. Looks to finish the Round of 8 strong at Phoenix for extra momentum heading into the championship finale. Last week: First.

3. Joey Logano (28 points): After what he called several “blue-collar days,” Logano finally scored a top-five finish in the playoffs. But he’s in a precarious position heading to Phoenix if he hopes to defend last year’s championship. Last week: Sixth.

4. Kyle Busch (27 points): Is in a tenuous position where he could be the regular season champion and still fall short of qualifying for the championship race. Last week: 10th.

5. Ryan Blaney (20 points): Needed an even better finish at Texas, but took what he could get. Needs to win at Phoenix if he hopes to make it to Miami for the first time in his career. A top-five finish likely won’t be enough.  Last week: Fourth.

6. Kyle Larson (15 points): He has the ability to win at Phoenix, but he’s essentially in the same boat as Blaney and Chase Elliott. Last week: Eighth (tied).

7. Denny Hamlin (13 points): He has one win and five top-five finishes in the playoffs and that might not be enough for him to have a chance at the championship. The playoffs can be cruel. Last week: Second.

8. Aric Almirola (11 points): Was a part of Stewart-Haas Racing’s 1-2-3 finish at Texas. Last week: Unranked.

9. Kurt Busch (10 points): When the final chapter of this season is written, Busch will likely be the winner of the “What Might Have Been” award. Just a few races here or there and he could be in the middle of the championship hunt. Showed at Texas that he’s not giving up.  Last week: Eighth (tied).

10. Daniel Suarez (9 points): Still doesn’t have his deal locked up for 2020. That has to be wearing on his mind somewhat. Even so, Texas finish proved he deserves to stay at SHR. Last week: Unranked.

Others receiving votes: Erik Jones (4 points), Christopher Bell (4 points), John Hunter Nemechek (2 points), Ross Chastain (2 points).