Denny Hamlin returns to the No. 1 spot in the NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings after last weekend’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Hamlin was No. 1 after the Daytona road course race, the second event of the Cup season. He fell to third after the Miami race and moves back to No. 1 with Michael McDowell and Kevin Harvick each dropping in the rankings after both finished outside the top 15 at Las Vegas.
Power Rankings after Las Vegas
1. Denny Hamlin (Last week: No. 3) — Fourth-place result at Las Vegas gives him three top-five finishes in the first four races. He’s not placed worse than 11th this season. He also leads the season standings, holding a 38-point lead on second place. Hamlin has a series-high 62 stage points. Those points alone would rank 23rd in the season standings, ahead of Tyler Reddick, Erik Jones, Chase Briscoe, Aric Almirola and Matt DiBenedetto, among others.
2. William Byron (Last week: No. 4) — Followed his Miami win with an eighth-place finish at Las Vegas. He has scored 28 of his 32 stage points in the last two races.
3. Michael McDowell (Last week: No. 1) — Daytona 500 winner placed 17th at Las Vegas, marking his first finish outside the top 10 this season. Still, he’s had four consecutive top-20 finishes this year. He did that only once last year.
4. Kyle Larson (Last week: No. 7) — Las Vegas winner has three top 10s in the first four races of the year. Has had an average running position in the top five each of the past two races. He ranked No. 1 in green flag speed at Las Vegas.
5. Kevin Harvick (Last week: No. 2) — His streak of three consecutive top-10 finishes to open the season ended at Las Vegas. He placed 20th there.
6. Christopher Bell (Last week: No. 6) — Seventh-place finish at Las Vegas is the second top 10 of the season for the Daytona road course winner.
7. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week: No. 10) — Finished sixth at Las Vegas to extend his streak of consecutive top-10 finishes at 1.5-mile tracks to six. That’s the best active streak in the series on such tracks.
8. Brad Keselowski (Last week: Unranked) — Placed second at Las Vegas for his second top five of the year.
9. Joey Logano (Last week: No. 8) — Finished ninth at Las Vegas for his second top 10 of the season.
10. Kyle Busch (Last week: Unranked) — Third-place finish at Las Vegas gives him back-to-back top 10s.
Dropped out: Kurt Busch (No. 5 last week), Alex Bowman (No. 9 last week).