Denny Hamlin won and Hendrick Motorsports lamented what might have been at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The results from last weekend did little to alter the NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings. Hamlin, who has won half the playoff races this season, remains No. 1.
NASCAR Power Rankings after Las Vegas
1. Denny Hamlin (Last week: No. 1) — Has two victories and five stage wins in the first four races of the playoffs. He’s led 35.5% of the laps in the playoffs. Also, he’s scored a series-high 217 points in the playoffs. An easy selection for No. 1.
2. Kyle Larson (Last week: No. 2) — Led 95 laps before pit strategy mired him in traffic when the team didn’t get a timely caution. He placed 10th at Las Vegas, his worst finish of the playoffs.
3. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week: No. 3) — Placed fourth at Las Vegas. Has placed seventh or better in each playoff race this season.
4. Chase Elliott (Last week: No. 5) — Finished second at Las Vegas. In response to Kevin Harvick’s comments about him to the media before the race, Elliott simply said: “I think you have to have your eyes forward.” His point being that his focus was on the race ahead.
5. Kevin Harvick (Last week: No. 4) — Wasn’t great at Las Vegas, but his ninth-place finish was an improvement on how things went there in the spring. He’s finished in the top 10 in each of the playoffs races.
6. Ryan Blaney (Last week: No. 6) — Placed fifth for his third consecutive top-10 finish. Has said he’s really looking forward to this round with Las Vegas, Talladega and the Charlotte Roval. See what he can do.
7. Joey Logano (Last week: No. 7) — Team Penske cars don’t have the speed as the Hendrick cars on the bigger tracks. Managed his way to an 11th-place finish. He has placed 11th or better in each playoff race.
8. William Byron (Last week: No. 9) — Had a fast car. Started at the rear because of inspection issues and quickly moved to the front. Pit call strategy put him a lap down and had to rally back. Flat tire relegated him to 18th. Been a rough playoffs for Byron already.
9. Brad Keselowski (Last week: No 10) — Has done a really good job of avoiding mistakes and collecting top-10 finishes with a car that is not performing as well as the top contenders. Finished seventh at Las Vegas.
10. Kyle Busch (Last week: Unranked) — Moved beyond miserable first round to place third at Las Vegas. Is this the beginning of his charge?
Dropped out: Ross Chastain (Last week: No. 8)