Denny Hamlin is the first driver to be No. 1 for consecutive weeks in this season’s NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings.
Hamlin scored another top-five finish this past weekend at Phoenix. He has finished no worse than 11th in the first five Cup races of the season. William Byron remains No. 2 after his third consecutive top-10 run.
Seven of the last eight spots change position from last week. Also, reigning series champion Chase Elliott enters the top 10.
Power Rankings after Phoenix
1. Denny Hamlin (Last week: No. 1) — Has a series-high four top-five finishes in the first five races of the season after placing third at Phoenix. He’s scored a series-high 77 stage points. He has nearly as many stage points as his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Christopher Bell have scored combined (86).
2. William Byron (Last week: No. 2) — His eighth-place finish at Phoenix is his third consecutive top 10, matching the longest streak in his Cup career.
3. Kyle Larson (Last week: No. 4) — He has four top 10s, including a win this season. He came from the back three times at Phoenix to finish seventh. He started at the rear because of inspection issues and had two speeding penalties in the race. Larson passed 145 cars under green, second only to teammate Alex Bowman, who passed 146 cars under green.
4. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week: No. 7) — Phoenix winner showed significant improvement from his performance there last November. His average running position improved seven positions from that race to Sunday’s event. He led 64 laps Sunday. He led none last November. His laps led Sunday were more than he led combined in his previous 26 Cup starts at Phoenix.
5. Kevin Harvick (Last week: No. 5) — His sixth-place Phoenix finish gives him four top 10s this year. A concern is that he’s led only 17 laps, all in the Daytona 500. This will be a big weekend for Harvick and his team at Atlanta. He won there last year. He has six consecutive top 10s there and led 916 laps — 46.9% of the laps during that time.
6. Joey Logano (Last week: No. 9) — Finished second for the second time this season on Sunday. He led a race-high 143 laps. His average running position at Phoenix was 2.5. He has three top 10s this season and led the Daytona 500 on the final lap before contact with teammate Brad Keselowski.
7. Brad Keselowski (Last week: No. 8) — Finished fourth at Phoenix, giving him three top fives this season. Had an average running position of 3.9 at Phoenix, behind only Joey Logano (2.5) and Denny Hamlin (3.8).
8. Christopher Bell (Last week: No. 6) — Bell’s ninth-place result at Phoenix is his third top 10 of the season.
9. Chase Elliott (Last week: Unranked) — Fifth-place finish at Phoenix marked his first top 10 since placing second in the season-opening Daytona 500. Phoenix was the first time he’s not led a lap in a race this season.
10. Michael McDowell (Last week: No. 3) — Daytona 500 winner finished 23rd at Phoenix, marking his second consecutive weekend outside the top 10.
Dropped out: Kyle Busch (No. 10)