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NASCAR Power Rankings: Kevin Harvick back at No. 1

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Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Kevin Harvick is the No. 1 driver in this week’s NASCAR rankings.

Martin Truex Jr. held the top spot for just a week before Harvick reclaimed the crown with his series-leading ninth Cup win of the year Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway.

This week’s rankings includes three ties as 12 drivers received votes.

More: Playoff standings after Round of 16

Harvick takes his power rankings lead to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the start of the Round of 12.

Here is this week’s NASCAR Power Rankings:

1. Kevin Harvick (Last week No. 1): The Stewart-Haas Racing driver has three wins in the last five races: Dover, the Southern 500 and Bristol night race.

2. Chase Elliott (Last week No. 7): Finished seventh at Bristol for his third top 10 in five races. His 11 top fives so far matches his total from each of the last two seasons. He scored a career-high 12 top fives in 2017.

3. (tie) Kyle Busch (Last week No.  9): Finished second in Bristol after he started from the rear due to inspection failures. Has three consecutive top 10s for the first time this season.

3. (tie) Joey Logano (Last week No. 3): Followed consecutive third-place finishes with an 11th at Bristol.

5. (tie) Martin Truex Jr. (Last week No. 1): Finished 24th in Bristol following contact with Denny Hamlin after an unscheduled pit stop.

5. (tie) Brad Keselowski (Last week No. 5): After winning at Richmond, Keselowski had a rough night in Bristol. He finished 34th due to power steering problems.

7. (tie) Aric Almirola (Last week unranked): Finished fifth in Bristol for his third consecutive top 10 and his fourth in five races.

7. (tie) Clint Bowyer (Last week unranked): Placed sixth in Bristol for his third consecutive top-10 finish and to keep his playoff chances alive.

9. Austin Dillon (Last week No. 3): Placed a respectable 12th to finish the first round after consecutive top fives.

10. Erik Jones (Last week unranked): Placed third in Bristol for his seventh top-five finish of the season and his second in the last three races.

Also receiving votes: Alex Bowman and Denny Hamlin

Power Rankings: Kevin Harvick reclaims No. 1 spot

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Kevin Harvick reclaims the No. 1 spot in the NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings with his victory in Sunday’s Cup playoff opener at Darlington.

Harvick takes over the No. 1 spot from Denny Hamlin.

Now the series heads to Richmond Raceway for Saturday night’s playoff race (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Here is this week’s Power Rankings:

1. Kevin Harvick (Last week No. 2): Didn’t have the dominant car at Darlington. Sometimes, though, it’s about being in the right position at the right time. He was to score his eighth victory of the season. Could he be the first driver since Jimmie Johnson in 2007 to win 10 races in a season?

2. Denny Hamlin (Last week No. 1): Appeared headed for a strong finish before he missed pit road and lost time going back around the track for one more lap. A debris caution a few laps later left him stuck outside the top 10. On to Richmond, a track he has three Cup victories.

3. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week No. 3): Aggressive move for the lead against Chase Elliott backfired and put both in the wall. Instead of a victory, Truex finished 22nd. That ended his eight-race streak of finishing fourth or better. Now he looks to Richmond. He swept both Cup races there last year.

4. Chase Elliott (Last week No. 4): Led 114 laps at Darlington (second only to the 196 laps Truex led) but was a victim of incident with Truex late in the race. The last two times at Darlington, Elliott has been wrecked by a Joe Gibbs Racing car while running second.

5. William Byron (Last week No. 4): Fifth-place finish in Southern 500 marked his third consecutive top-five result. He had not finished better than seventh this season until his hot streak, which includes a win at Daytona.

6. Joey Logano (Last week No. 8): Overcame damage on a restart and a right front tire going down to finish third at Darlington. He has seven top-10 finishes in the last eight races.

7. Alex Bowman (Last week No. 6): Rallied from a slow pit stop after a problem with the jack to finish sixth. He scored 12 stage points, giving him 43 points for the race. Only winner Kevin Harvick scored more points in the Southern 500.

8. Brad Keselowski (Last week No. 7): Team rallied from early incident to finish 11th at Darlington. Nice recovery after contact with wall dropped him to 31st at one point.

9. Austin Dillon (Last week unranked): Start of the race was nearly a disaster. Team switched left- and right-front tires. The error was caught. Dillon overcame a tire issue early in the race and benefitted from the last caution to finish second at Darlington. He has two top 10s in the last three races.

10. Kyle Busch (Last week unranked): Placed seventh at Darlington. In the last five races that he has been running at the finish, he has placed fifth, fourth, third, 11th and seventh.

Dropped out: Austin Cindric (last week No. 9), Sheldon Creed (last week No. 10)

 

NASCAR Power Rankings: Denny Hamlin on top after Daytona

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With the Cup Series regular season complete, the NASCAR power rankings have a new, but familiar driver at No. 1.

Following his third-place finish last weekend at Daytona, Denny Hamlin is No. 1 again, swapping places with Kevin Harvick, who finished 20th in the race.

More: Winner and Losers after Daytona

Here is this week’s Power Rankings:

1. Denny Hamlin (Last week No. 2): Hamlin earned his sixth top-three finish in the last eight races and his seventh top 10.

2. Kevin Harvick (Last week No. 1): While he has 11 top fives in the last 13 races, he has two finishes outside the top 15 in the last four races.

3. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week No. 3): While he’s finished fourth or better in nine of the last 10 races, he hasn’t won a race since June.

4. (tie) William Byron (Last week No. 9): His first two top fives of the season came just in time. After finishing fourth at Dover and earning his first career Cup win Saturday at Daytona, Byron earned a spot in the Cup playoff field.

4. (tie) Chase Elliott (Last week No. 7): Came in second to teammate Byron in Daytona, bouncing back from a wreck at Dover. He has six top 10s in the last seven races, including his win on the Daytona road course.

6. Alex Bowman (Last week unranked): Finished seventh at Daytona for his second straight top 10 after he was fifth at Dover. Those are his first consecutive top 10s this season.

7. Brad Keselowski (Last week No. 6): Had an uncharacteristically quiet night at Daytona, finishing 10th. It was his ninth top 10 in the last 11 races. He has 19 top 10s through 26 races.

8. Joey Logano (Last week No. 4): Entered Daytona with six straight top-10 finishes and won the first two stages before wrecking out.

9. Austin Cindric (Last week No. 7): While he crashed on the last lap of Friday night’s Xfinity Series race, he finished eighth for his 10th consecutive top-10 finish.

10. Sheldon Creed (Last week unranked): Won the Truck Series race at Gateway for his second victory in three races.

Also receiving votes: Bubba Wallace and Jimmie Johnson

Power Rankings: Kevin Harvick reclaims No. 1 spot

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A week after being bumped off the No. 1 spot, Kevin Harvick reclaims the top position in this week’s NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings.

The top three is similar to last week. They are just in a different order.

Here is this week’s Power Rankings

1. Kevin Harvick (Last week No. 3): He just keeps going and going with top-five finishes. Harvick’s win Sunday at Dover marks his 11th top-five finish in the past 12 races. He has five wins during that stretch. Those runs have allowed Harvick to collect 57 playoff points, including 15 for winning the regular-season crown. You can pretty much put him down for the championship race in Phoenix.

2. Denny Hamlin (Last week No. 1): After a week atop the standings, he falls back a position even with a win last weekend. Hamlin won Saturday’s race at Dover. A loose wheel forced him to pit under green and led to a 19th-place finish Sunday. That ended a streak of six consecutive top-10 finishes. Five of those results were either a win or second-place finishes. He can start a new streak this weekend at Daytona. He’s won three Daytona 500s, including the past two.  

3. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week No. 2): After scoring five consecutive third-place finishes, a 1 million to one shot of happening, Truex left Dover with a pair of runner-up finishes. To any of his competitors overlooking him, Truex says: “We obviously haven’t won as many races as I think we should have, but we’re ready. Hopefully the momentum will swing our direction and they’ll forget about us and we’ll go beat them all.”

4. Joey Logano (Last week No. 5): He’s scored six consecutive top-10 finishes after placing eighth at Dover on Saturday and sixth on Sunday.

5. Jimmie Johnson (Last week tied No. 7): Gusty two-tire pit call by crew chief Cliff Daniels and determined drive by Johnson in the final laps led to a third-place finish Sunday. It wasn’t enough to keep him in a playoff spot, but he’s only four points behind Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron for the final playoff spot

6. Brad Keselowski (Last week tied No. 7): His 18 top-10 finishes this season are second only to Kevin Harvick’s 21. Keselowski has nine top 10s in the last 12 races. 

7. (tie) Chase Elliott (Last week No. 4): Finished fifth on Saturday but then ran into the back of Kyle Busch‘s car as the field slowed for a crash. That ended Elliott’s race in 39th. The finish ended his streak of five consecutive top 10s. 

7. (tie) Austin Cindric (Last week No. 5): This is how well things have gone for him lately. Going two Xfinity races without a win was a down weekend for Cindric even though he was second in Saturday’s race and third Sunday. He has five wins, two runner-ups and one third-place finish in the last eight races.

9. William Byron (Last week No. 10): Overcame a rotten race Saturday, placing 28th, to finish fourth on Sunday for his best result of the season. With the pressure on to make the playoffs, Byron was steady Sunday.

10. Chase Briscoe (Last week unranked): Snapped seven-race winless streak Sunday. That might not sound like a big deal but he won five of the first 13 Xfinity races this season.

Dropped out: Aric Almirola (Last week tied for 10th), Kaz Grala (Last week tied for 7th)

Power Rankings: Denny Hamlin climbs to No. 1

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Denny Hamlin finished second to Chase Elliott on Sunday in the inaugural Cup race on the Daytona road course but it was good enough to vault Hamlin to No. 1 in this week’s NBC Sports Power Rankings.

Hamlin ends Kevin Harvick‘s six-week reign atop the rankings. Harvick falls to third behind Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr.

NASCAR heads to Dover International Speedway for a busy weekend. The Truck Series races Friday. Saturday and Sunday features Xfinity/Cup doubleheaders. The Xfinity and Cup races will be on NBCSN both days.

Here is this week’s NASCAR Power Rankings:

1. Denny Hamlin (Last week No. 2): His runner-up finish at Daytona is the 10th time this season Hamlin has placed first or second. That’s more than 40% of the time.

2. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week No. 3): Has scored five consecutive third-place finishes. Can he make it a half dozen on Saturday at Dover? He finished first at Dover in May 2019 and placed second there in Oct. 2019. Third would only seem natural at this point.

3. Kevin Harvick (Last week No. 1): Saw his streak of nine consecutive top-five finishes end on the Daytona road course but what a run it was. Time to start a new one for the driver who has completed all but two of the 5,871 laps run this season.

4. Chase Elliott (Last week No. 7): Would be No. 1 based on road course performances. Daytona win was his third road course victory in a row.

5. Joey Logano (Last week No. 5): Has scored four consecutive top-10 finishes, one off the longest active streak by Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr.

5. Austin Cindric (Last week No. 8): Five wins in his last six Xfinity starts. After spotting Chase Briscoe five wins, he’s now tied Briscoe for most victories in the Xfinity Series this season.

7. Brad Keselowski (Last week unranked): Has six top 10s in the last eight races.

7. Kaz Grala (Last week unranked): Remarkable job to finish seventh in his Cup debut in place of Austin Dillon, who had missed the race because he tested positive for COVID-19.

7. Jimmie Johnson (Last week unranked): Scored his first top-five finish last weekend since late May. Now off to one of his best tracks. It’s crunch time to make the playoffs. Can he do so?

10. Aric Almirola (Last week No. 4): Has 10 top 10s in the last 12 races but coming off a 24th-place finish on the Daytona road course.

10. William Byron (Last week unranked): Steady performances have kept him holding on to what is the final playoff spot with three races left in the regular season. His eighth-place finish at Daytona marked his sixth finish of 8th-14th in the last seven races.

Dropped out: Kyle Busch (Last week 6th), Kurt Busch (9th), Matt DiBenedetto (10th)