Three races into the Cup season and yet another change at the top of the NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings.
This week’s top 10 sees four new drivers in this week’s rankings, including Miami winner William Byron.
Power Rankings after Miami
1. Michael McDowell (Last week: No. 2) — The Daytona 500 champion returns to the No. 1 spot for the second time this season after his sixth-place finish at Miami. McDowell’s run gave Front Row Motorsports its first top 10 at a 1.5-mile track in the team’s history. McDowell has finished in the top 10 in each of the season’s first three races. He had four top 10s last year. “What an incredible run for our Front Row team,” McDowell said Sunday. “It’s so exciting to be a part of this organization.”
2. Kevin Harvick (Last week: No. 4) — Joins McDowell as the only other driver to place in the top 10 in each of the season’s first three races. Harvick was fifth at Miami. He has not finished worse than sixth this year.
3. Denny Hamlin (Last week: No. 1) — Speeding penalty before the final restart ruined his chances for a third consecutive top-five finish. He finished 11th.
4. William Byron (Last week: Unranked) — Miami winner won’t have to sweat the playoffs. “I’ve spent kind of a lot of my Cup Series career kind of on the bubble of the playoffs, and now I don’t have to worry about that,” Byron said after his second career series win.
5. Kurt Busch (Last week: No. 9) — Has made big recoveries each of the past two weeks to score top-10 finishes. He sailed off into the grass at the Daytona road course while leading and recovered to finish fourth. At Miami, he had to pit from fourth because of a loose wheel in the final stage. He gained 20 spots in the last 31 laps to place eighth.
6. Christopher Bell (Last week: No. 3) — Daytona road course winner finished 20th at Miami. Ran three of the last 200 laps in the top 15 last weekend.
7. Kyle Larson (Last week: Unranked) — Fourth-place finish at Miami gives him two top 10s in his first three races for Hendrick Motorsports.
8. Joey Logano (Last week: No. 6) — Lost the season’s first two races in the final laps. Didn’t have to worry about that at Miami, placing 25th.
9. Alex Bowman (Last week: Unranked) — Ninth-place Miami run marked his second top 10 in a row.
10. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week: Unranked) — Led 37 laps on the way to a third-place finish at Miami.