NASCAR Power Rankings: Denny Hamlin holds on to No. 1 spot

0 Comments

Kyle Larson won last weekend at Bristol, but Denny Hamlin remains No. 1 in the NBC Sports Power Rankings.

Hamlin maintains his hold on the top spot based on his overall performance in the first round of the playoffs. He outscored Larson 159-158 in the round. Hamlin had four stage wins to Larson’s two. Both won a race in the round.

William Byron and Brad Keselowski climb into this week’s rankings, knocking out Christopher Bell and Noah Gragson.

NASCAR Power Rankings after Richmond

1. Denny Hamlin (Last week: No. 1) — He had finishes of first (Darlington), second (Richmond) and ninth (Bristol) in the first round of the playoffs. Hamlin scored a series-high 159 points in the first round of the playoffs. He also scored a series-high four stage wins in the first round of the playoffs.

2. Kyle Larson (Last week: No. 3) — Win at Bristol gave him finishes of first (Bristol), second (Darlington) and sixth (Richmond) in the first round of the playoffs. He’ll open the second round atop the standings with his 59 playoff points. Scored 158 points in the first round and won two stages.

3. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week: No. 2) — Did not finish worse than seventh in the first round of the playoffs. He had finishes of first (Richmond), fourth (Darlington) and seventh (Bristol). Scored 121 points in the first round.

4. Kevin Harvick (Last week: No. 6) — Saw his chance to win at Bristol end with four laps to go when Kyle Larson passed him. Had top-10 finishes in each of the three first-round races. He was second at Bristol, fifth at Darlington and eighth at Richmond. He had 121 points in the round.

5. Chase Elliott (Last week: No. 4) — Contact with Kevin Harvick cut a tire and ruined Elliott’s chances for a win at Bristol. First round was rough on him with a 31st at Darlington and 25th at Bristol. Did finish fourth at Richmond.

6. Ryan Blaney (Last week: No. 8) — Got better in each race of the first round. He was 22nd at Darlington, 10th at Richmond and fourth at Bristol.

7. Joey Logano (Last week: No. 7) — Finished 11th or better in all three first-round races. He was fifth at Richmond, eighth at Darlington and 11th at Bristol. Scored 106 points in the round.

8. Ross Chastain (Last week: No. 5) — The only non-playoff driver in this week’s rankings. He was third at Darlington, seventh at Richmond and 14th at Bristol. Scored 106 points in the round.

9. William Byron (Last week: Unranked) — Had a strong run at Bristol to advance to the next round. He entered Bristol 18 points below the cutline. His third-place finish helped him secure the final transfer spot by two points after starting the first round with finishes of 34th at Darlington and 19th at Richmond.

10. Brad Keselowski (Last week: Unranked) — Nothing spectacular but advanced. Finished seventh at Darlington, 13th at Richmond and sixth at Bristol.

Dropped out: Christopher Bell (Last week: No. 9), Noah Gragson (Last week: No. 10)