NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings

Power Rankings after Indianapolis: Kevin Harvick back to No. 1

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Helped greatly by his win in the Brickyard 400, Kevin Harvick returns to the top spot in this week’s NASCAR Power Rankings.

Harvick was a unanimous pick of NBC Sports’ NASCAR writers, knocking Denny Hamlin off last week’s No. 1 perch.

Making the biggest gain this week is Matt Kenseth, who is ranked fifth after being unranked last week. Chase Elliott suffered the biggest drop, from fourth last week to 10th this week.

Here’s how this week’s rankings look:

1. Kevin Harvick (30 points): Among his 53 career wins, he has three Brickyard 400s, two Coke 600s, one Southern 500 and one Daytona 500. Last week: second.

2. Aric Almirola (26 points): Keeps churning out top five finishes; goes for a half dozen in a row this weekend at Kentucky. Last week: third.

3. Brad Keselowski (18 points): Placed fourth at Indy, earning his ninth top 10 finish in the last 11 races this season. Last week: fifth.

4. Denny Hamlin (17 points): If it hadn’t of been for his late tire issue and crash, we likely would be talking about the great run and win Hamlin had at Indy. Last week: first.

5. Matt Kenseth (14 points): He may be the oldest active driver on the NASCAR Cup circuit, but Kenseth showed Sunday he still knows how to wheel a race car. Nearly secured a playoff spot at Indy with a win but had to settle for his fourth career runner-up finish there. Last week: unranked.

6. Kyle Busch (13 points): Climbs back into the rankings but remains one of the biggest mysteries of the season, namely, how can the defending Cup champion still be winless? Can he finally break through this Sunday at Kentucky? Last week: unranked.

7. Chase Briscoe (12 points): Heck of a finish in the Xfinity race on the Indy road course. All he does is win, win, win. Is now only three wins away from reaching his preseason prediction of eight wins in 2020. Last week: eighth.

8. Michael McDowell (10 points): Two top 10 finishes in the last three races for the Front Row Motorsports driver. Last week: unranked.

9. Cole Custer (8 points): Finished fifth and gave teammate Kevin Harvick the key push on the final restart at Indy. Last week: unranked.

10. Chase Elliott (5 points): Four top 10s in the last seven races. Last week: fourth.

Others receiving votes: Matt DiBenedetto (4 points), Bubba Wallace (3 points), Kurt Busch (2 points), Tyler Reddick (2 points), Austin Dillon (1 point).

Power rankings after Atlanta: Kevin Harvick back to No. 1

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Kevin Harvick’s absence from the top of the NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings didn’t last long.

After his win at Bristol, Brad Keselowski replaced Harvick, ending Harvick’s two-week reign at No. 1. But with Sunday’s win at Atlanta, Harvick is back on top and is once again the unanimous choice by NBC Sports’ NASCAR writers.

Ryan Blaney made the biggest jump in the rankings, from ninth last week to third this week. Only one driver dropped out of the top 10 from last week: Christopher Bell, replaced by Martin Truex Jr.

Here’s how this week’s rankings look:

1. Kevin Harvick (30 points): Of course he’s going to be strong at Atlanta. Of course he’s going to win there. Of course he’s going to be jump back to No. 1 in this week’s ranking. Last week: second.

2. Kyle Busch (27 points): Earned his third runner-up and sixth top-five finish of the season. But when will he finally break through for his first win of 2020? Last week: tied for sixth.

3. Ryan Blaney (21 points): Nice rally back from a last-place finish at Bristol. Atlanta makes it three top-five finishes in the last four races. Last week: ninth.

4. Brad Keselowski (18 points): Got as much out of his car as he could at Atlanta. Earned his fifth consecutive top-10 finish. Last week: first place.

5. Kurt Busch (17 points): Kudos to finishing sixth after having to start at the rear and do a pass through penalty at the beginning of the race because his car failed pre-race inspection three times. Has finished seventh or better in the last four races.

6. Martin Truex Jr. (16 points): Won both stages and finished third at Atlanta. Now heads to Martinsville where he won last fall’s playoff race. Is he about to start a big run? Last week: unranked.

7. Chase Elliott (13 points): Four top-five showings (including a win at Charlotte) and two other top-10 finishes this season. Look for even better things going forward. Last week: third.

8. Jimmie Johnson (11 points): He’s so close to a win that he and his fans can taste it. Could he finally snap his 105-race winless streak Wednesday night at Martinsville, where he has nine career wins? Last week: fifth.

9. Denny Hamlin (5 points): Finished fifth at Atlanta but barely got a look from the voters, even with a win and three other top-five finishes in the last six races. Last week: eighth.

10. Austin Dillon (4 points): Consistency has been an issue during much of his Cup career. But things are looking up of late: Has placed 11th or better in each of the last three races. Last week: tied for sixth.

Others receiving votes: Grant Enfinger (3 points), Ryan Newman (1 point)

NBC Sports Power Rankings: William Byron remains unanimous No. 1

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William Byron remains the unanimous No. 1 selection in this week’s virtual NASCAR Power Rankings, as chosen by NBC Sports’ NASCAR writers.

Talladega winner Alex Bowman made the biggest jump in the rankings, going from unranked last week to No. 3 this week.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. dropped the most in the rankings, going from fourth last week to 10th this week.

Here’s how this week’s rankings look:

1. William Byron (30 points): After back-to-back wins at Bristol and Richmond, finished sixth in Sunday’s eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series race at a virtual Talladega Superspeedway. Last week: 1st.

2. Timmy Hill (25 points): After four consecutive top-3 finishes, dropped to 11th at Talladega. Still, he remains among the top sim racers. Last week: 2nd.

3. Alex Bowman (24 points): It was only a few weeks ago he was blaming his dog for wrecking in a sim race and now he’s a winner. Last week: Unranked.

4. Landon Cassill (20 points): One of the most consistent sim racers, with his third top-five finish in the last four virtual races. Last week: 5th.

5. Ryan Preece (18 points): He’s been among the most consistent drivers in the series even if the results haven’t always shown it. Last week: 8th.

6. Garrett Smithley (14 points): Has flourished in the sim races and finished fourth at virtual Talladega. Last week: 9th.

7. Corey LaJoie (13 points): Finished second in his first race in the series. Not bad for a Pro Invitational Series rookie. Does he still need a yellow stripe? Last week: Unranked.

8. Kyle Busch (10 points): Has scored back-to-back top 10s. Last week: 7th.

9. Denny Hamlin (4 points): Key lesson from Sunday is to know where the remote is and that’s not in the hands of children. Last week: 3rd.

10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (3 points): Typically strong at ‘Dega in real life, not so strong in virtual performance Sunday. Last week: 4th.

Others receiving votes: Brennan Poole (2 points), Jeff Gordon (1 point)

NBC Sports Power Rankings: William Byron No. 1, Dale Jr. 4th

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Dale Jr. keeps climbing!

Dale Earnhardt Jr. moves up to fourth place in the newest edition of NBC Sports’ virtual NASCAR Power Rankings.

Junior was seventh in the previous Power Rankings after the virtual race at Bristol more than two weeks ago.

As for the latest edition of Power Rankings, William Byron is the unanimous pick by NBC Sports’ NASCAR writers for the No. 1 spot, followed by Timmy Hill, Denny Hamlin, Dale Jr. and Landon Cassill.

Here are the rankings:

1. William Byron (30 points): It’s hard to pick against the guy who has won the last two races. Had he not been bumped out of the lead by Timmy Hill at Texas, it could have been three in a row. Ranking after Bristol: 2nd.

2. Timmy Hill (27 points): Has not finished worse than third in any of the four eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series races. Ranking after Bristol: 1st.

3. Denny Hamlin (24 points): Virtual Homestead winner has finished in the top six in each of the past two events. Ranking after Bristol: 3rd.

4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (19 points): Has three top 10s in the first four events, placing eighth at virtual Richmond. Ranking after Bristol: 7th.

5. Landon Cassill (18 points): Made it through the qualifying race to the main event and finished fourth at virtual Richmond. Ranking after Bristol: Unranked.

6. Parker Kligerman (14 points): Scored his first top-five finish of the series this past weekend. Ranking after Bristol: Unranked.

7. Kyle Busch (11 points): Keeps getting better at sim racing. Scored first top-five finish at digital Richmond. Ranking after Bristol: 9th.

8. Ryan Preece (10 points): Started on pole and ran well until getting into it with Matt DiBenedetto. Ranking after Bristol: 5th.

9. Garrett Smithley (5 points): Had another strong run going before incident left him with 17th-place finish. Ranking after Bristol: 4th.

10. Brad Keselowski (3 points): Looks like a force to be reckoned with going forward. Ranking after Bristol: Unranked.

Others also receiving votes: Bubba Wallace (2 points), Erik Jones (2 points)

NBC Sports Power Rankings: Denny Hamlin leads the way to Miami

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With his win at Phoenix and advancing to the Championship 4 race in Miami, Denny Hamlin is once again back on top of this week’s NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings.

Not surprisingly, all four drivers who will battle for the championship are in the top four in this week’s rankings. Kyle Busch is second, last week’s No. 1, Kevin Harvick, drops to third, and Martin Truex Jr. is fourth, as voted on by NBC Sports’ NASCAR writers.

Hamlin made the biggest jump in the standings, going from No. 7 last week to the top of the heap this week.

Conversely, Joey Logano, who was No. 3 last week, suffers the biggest drop, down to No. 8 – and also misses on his bid to defend last year’s championship this Sunday at Miami (3 p.m. ET on NBC).

Here is this week’s Power Rankings:

1. Denny Hamlin (39 points): Entered ISM Raceway outside a transfer spot to the title race and now he might be the favorite to win it all. Or at least be co-favorite with teammate Martin Truex Jr. Last week: Seventh.

2. Kyle Busch (34 points): Could be the underdog at Miami. With everything on the line, is one of the best performers in pressure-packed situations – especially with a championship and snapping a 21-race winless streak on the line. Last week: Fourth.

3. Kevin Harvick (29 points): Lone wolf in the Joe Gibbs Racing party for the championship. But he may actually have the edge, as he has three teammates who can help him, while it’s every man for himself for the three JGR drivers. Last week: First.

4. Martin Truex Jr. (28 points): Has not finished worse than sixth in the last four races. Also has the most wins (seven) of the four championship drivers. Last week: Second.

5. Ryan Blaney (26 points): Finished fifth, eighth and third in the Round of 8 but it still wasn’t good enough to advance to the title race. Last week: Fifth.

6. Kyle Larson (22 points): Fourth-place finish was good effort but missed out on last chance to run for a championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway, one of his best tracks. Was Chevrolet’s last hope; the bow tie has not reached the Championship 4 for the last three years. Last week: Sixth.

7. Erik Jones (14 points): Has three top 10s in last four races. While showed some signs of promise during the playoffs, the fact remains he’s likely going to finish 16th (last) among all playoff qualifiers when everything is said and done after Miami. Last week: Unranked.

8. Joey Logano (9 points): So close, yet so far away. Will we ever learn what happened to his car in the final stage that cost him a chance to defend last year’s title at Miami? Last week: Third.

9. Justin Allgaier (6 points): Xfinity win at ISM Raceway was his career-best 16th consecutive top-10 finish. Could he steal the championship from the “Big Three?” Last week: Unranked.

10. Christopher Bell (4 points): With Xfinity Series-leading eight wins, enters title race as favorite. This will be his Xfinity swan song before moving to Cup next season. What better way to leave than to go out on top. Last week: Unranked.

Others receiving votes: Clint Bowyer (3 points), Brad Keselowski (2 points), Cole Custer (2 points), Stewart Friesen (1 point).