NASCAR Power Rankings: Denny Hamlin remains No. 1

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Joe Gibbs Racing holds the top two spots in this week’s NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings after winning the first two races of the Cup playoffs.

Denny Hamlin, who won the playoff opener at Darlington, remains No. 1. Martin Truex Jr., who won last weekend at Richmond, moves up to No. 2.

Two drivers move into this week’s rankings after not being in the top 10 last week. Christopher Bell is ninth and Xfinity Series driver Noah Gragson, who has won the past two series races, is 10th.

NASCAR Power Rankings after Richmond

1. Denny Hamlin (Last week: No. 1) — Follows Darlington win with runner-up finish at Richmond. Led 197 of 400 laps there. He has led 343 of the 767 laps run in the playoffs (44.7%). He’s also won three of four stages. Hamlin has collected eight playoff points in the first two races of the postseason.

2. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week: No. 3) — Won at Richmond. Had it not been for a pit road speeding penalty late in the Southern 500, he might have opened the playoffs with two wins. Instead, he finished fourth at Darlington.

3. Kyle Larson (Last week: No. 2) — Advances to the next round via points. He’s opened the playoffs by finishing second at Darlington and sixth at Richmond.

4. Chase Elliott (Last week: No. 5) — Nice recovery from finishing 31t at Darlington by placing fourth at Richmond.

5. Ross Chastain (Last week: No. 7) — Only non-playoff driver to finish in the top 10 in the two playoff races this season. He was third at Darlington and seventh at Richmond.

6. Kevin Harvick (Last week: No. 6) — Still remains winless this season but has been steady in the playoffs. He was fifth at Darlington and finished eighth at Richmond. He’s one of five playoff drivers who have scored top 10s in the first two races of the postseason.

7. Joey Logano (Last week: No. 8) — Follows his eighth-place finish at Darlington by scoring a fifth-place finish at Richmond.

8. Ryan Blaney (Last week: No. 9) — Scored his first career top-10 finish at Richmond, placing 10th. Needed that result after a 22nd-place performance at Darlington.

9. Christopher Bell (Last week: Unranked) — Finished third at Richmond, giving him top-four finishes in both races there this season. Needed that result after a 20th-place showing to open the playoffs at Darlington.

10. Noah Gragson (Last week: Unranked) — Building momentum for the Xfinity playoffs in a couple of weeks. He’s won the past two series races, taking the checkered flag at Darlington and Richmond.

Dropped out: Kurt Busch (Last week: No. 4), Brad Keselowski (Last week: No. 9)