NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings

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).

NBC Sports Power Rankings: Kevin Harvick moves Martin Truex Jr. aside

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Texas winner Kevin Harvick takes over the No. 1 spot in this week’s NBC Sports Power Rankings, while last week’s leader, Martin Truex Jr., slips to a close second.

Denny Hamlin, who was No. 2 last week, had a rough go at Texas but still wound up No. 7 in this week’s rankings, as voted upon by NBC Sports’ NASCAR writers.

The biggest gainer is Kyle Busch (10th last week to fourth this week), while William Byron fell the furthest, dropping from No. 3 last week to being unranked in this week’s poll.

Both Harvick and Truex are locked into next week’s championship race at Miami, while the other two finalists will be determined Sunday at ISC Raceway (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC).

Here’s this week’s Power Rankings:

1. Kevin Harvick (39 points): The sly smile is back and so is the speed in his car. That’s a potent combination for Miami. Last week: Fifth.

2. Martin Truex Jr. (36 points): Doesn’t have to focus on anything other than Miami, but still managed a strong finish at Texas. Looks to finish the Round of 8 strong at Phoenix for extra momentum heading into the championship finale. Last week: First.

3. Joey Logano (28 points): After what he called several “blue-collar days,” Logano finally scored a top-five finish in the playoffs. But he’s in a precarious position heading to Phoenix if he hopes to defend last year’s championship. Last week: Sixth.

4. Kyle Busch (27 points): Is in a tenuous position where he could be the regular season champion and still fall short of qualifying for the championship race. Last week: 10th.

5. Ryan Blaney (20 points): Needed an even better finish at Texas, but took what he could get. Needs to win at Phoenix if he hopes to make it to Miami for the first time in his career. A top-five finish likely won’t be enough.  Last week: Fourth.

6. Kyle Larson (15 points): He has the ability to win at Phoenix, but he’s essentially in the same boat as Blaney and Chase Elliott. Last week: Eighth (tied).

7. Denny Hamlin (13 points): He has one win and five top-five finishes in the playoffs and that might not be enough for him to have a chance at the championship. The playoffs can be cruel. Last week: Second.

8. Aric Almirola (11 points): Was a part of Stewart-Haas Racing’s 1-2-3 finish at Texas. Last week: Unranked.

9. Kurt Busch (10 points): When the final chapter of this season is written, Busch will likely be the winner of the “What Might Have Been” award. Just a few races here or there and he could be in the middle of the championship hunt. Showed at Texas that he’s not giving up.  Last week: Eighth (tied).

10. Daniel Suarez (9 points): Still doesn’t have his deal locked up for 2020. That has to be wearing on his mind somewhat. Even so, Texas finish proved he deserves to stay at SHR. Last week: Unranked.

Others receiving votes: Erik Jones (4 points), Christopher Bell (4 points), John Hunter Nemechek (2 points), Ross Chastain (2 points).

NBC Sports Power Rankings: Denny Hamlin remains No. 1

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Winning at Pocono keeps Denny Hamlin on top of this week’s NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings for the second straight week.

Hamlin’s win was his third of the season, which began with a victory in the Daytona 500 and includes a win at Texas.

Martin Truex Jr., made the biggest jump in the rankings, climbing six spots to No. 3 this week. Joey Logano fell the most, dropping out of the rankings after being No. 5 last week.

Here’s how this week’s rankings shape up:

1. Denny Hamlin (39 points): Has three wins after going winless last year. Is this his year to finally win a championship? Last week: 1st.

2. Erik Jones (37 points): Three consecutive top-three finishes has him closing in on a victory and a No. 1 ranking here. Last week: 3rd.

3. Martin Truex Jr. (29 points): Third-place finish at Pocono is his fifth top 10 in the last seven races. Last week: 9th.

4. Kevin Harvick (25 points): Follows New Hampshire win with a sixth-place result at Pocono. No. 4 team seems back in form. Last week: 2nd.

5. Kyle Busch (21 points): Two consecutive weeks of having the fastest car and only a top 10 to show for it. Still, was his sixth top 10 in the last eight races. Last week: 4th.

6. Kyle Larson (20 points): What a roller coaster ride he’s been on lately. Three top fives in the last five races but the other two results were 20th and 33rd. Last week: Unranked.

7. William Byron (11 points): Getting close to being penciled in as a surefire playoff driver. Last week: Unranked.

8. Ryan Blaney (8 points): Impressive surge on the final run of the race. Now has five top 10s in the last seven races. Last week: 7th (tied)

9.Chase Briscoe (7 points): The first new Xfinity regular to win this year since April 27. Last week: Unranked.

10. Ross Chastain (6 points): The only Truck Series regular with three wins this year. Last week: Unranked.

Others Receiving Votes: Christopher Bell (5 points), Joey Logano (5 points), Ryan Newman (4 points), Brad Keselowski (3 points).

NBC Sports Power Rankings: Denny Hamlin new No. 1

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For the second consecutive week, there was extensive upheaval in the NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings.

Last week saw Kyle Busch regain the top spot, while six drivers entered the top 10 after not being ranked the week before.

This week, there is a new No. 1 in the rankings with New Hampshire runner-up Denny Hamlin. Loudon winner Kevin Harvick, ranked No. 2, leads five drivers who make this week’s poll after being unranked last week. And Kyle Busch falls to No. 4 this week.

Here’s how this week’s rankings shape up:

1. Denny Hamlin (35 points): He’ll be kicking himself for months about the win getting away, but his team showed major mettle. Last week: 5th.

2. Kevin Harvick (33 points): No longer has to worry about when win No. 1 will come. The 2019 season is feeling like a repeat of ’17 when Harvick made the championship round. Last week: Unranked.

3. Erik Jones (31 points): Scores back-to-back third-place finishes and then says of Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s threat to get him back: “I guess go ahead.” Becoming a sure bet for the playoffs as long as he avoids Ricky’s revenge. Last week: 4th.

4. Kyle Busch (30 points): Best car didn’t win New Hampshire but heads back to Pocono and site of his win there in June. Last week: 1st.

5. Joey Logano (24 points): Not the result the reigning champ was looking for in his return to New Hampshire but still eked out a solid top 10 finish to keep the points lead. Last week: 2nd.

6. Ryan Newman (21 points): Ability to grind out top 10s has been impressive in recent weeks. Has five top 10s in the last six races. Last week: 7th.

(tie) 7. Matt DiBenedetto (13 points): Three top 10s in the last five races is a big step forward for this team. Making a surge after a miserable start; is it enough to keep his ride? Last week: Unranked.

(tie) 7. Ryan Blaney (13 points): Scored fourth top 10 in the last six races with his fourth-place finish at New Hampshire. Shaping up as a solid darkhorse for the final 10 races. Last week: Unranked.

9. Martin Truex Jr. (8 points): A good rebound from his midrace incident with Clint Bowyer. Has four top 10s in the last six races, but only one finish better than fifth (his win at Sonoma). Last week: Unranked.

10. Christopher Bell (7 points): By earning his fifth win in the first 18 races, is making it harder for Joe Gibbs Racing to not have Bell in its Cup lineup in 2020. Last week: Unranked.

Others Receiving Votes: Kurt Busch (2 points), Brad Keselowski (2 points), Chris Buescher (1 point).

New No. 1 emerges in NBC Sports Power Rankings

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For the second consecutive week, the NBC Sports Power Rankings saw significant upheaval.

Joey Logano moves to No. 1 after he was fourth last week. He replaces Martin Truex Jr., who had been unanimously selected No. 1 last week. Truex falls to second.

Kyle Busch – who has dominated the standings much of the season – dropped to fourth. On the flip side, Chicagoland winner Alex Bowman made the biggest jump, vaulting into the No. 3 spot after being unranked after Sonoma.

Here’s how the NBC Sports NASCAR writers voted this week:

1. Joey Logano (37 points): The points lead is no mirage: He has been the most consistently excellent performer. Has finished seventh or better in eight of the last 10 races, including his Michigan win and a third at Chicago. Last week: 4th.

2. Martin Truex Jr. (32 points): Workmanlike day led to a ninth-place finish. Team struggled all weekend and still got a top 10. Last week: 1st.

3. Alex Bowman (29 points): Didn’t back down against Kyle Larson and dropped the hammer to his first win in convincing fashion. Now he needs another win to show he’s a real title contender. Last week: Unranked.

4. Kyle Busch (19 points): Suffered second-worst finish (22nd) of season. Still, has had an outstanding year with four wins and 15 top 10s. Last week: 2nd.

5. Ryan Blaney (18 points): Quietly putting together a nice run. His sixth-place finish was his third consecutive top 10, tying him with Martin Truex Jr. for the longest active streak. Last week: 6th.

(tie) 6. Brad Keselowski (14 points): Even when he doesn’t have the best car, he’s able to have a decent finish. Fifth place at Chicagoland marks his fourth top 10 in the last six races. Last week: Not ranked.

(tie) 6. Kyle Larson (14 points): Would be good for him – and fans – if he could run worn-out tracks more often. So who wins first this year, Larson, Harvick or Johnson? Last week: Not ranked.

8. Denny Hamlin (13 points): We agree, Denny: An unnecessary rule ruined the strongest Toyota’s race Sunday. Last week: 3rd.

(tie) 9. Kevin Harvick (9 points): Eventually the floodgates will open if he keeps leading this many laps. Last week: 5th.

(tie) 9. Jimmie Johnson (9 points): Earned a fourth-place finish for his best result of the year. Now, can he build upon that with an even better showing Saturday night at Daytona? Could that 75-race winless streak soon be history? Last week: Not ranked.

Others receiving votes: Cole Custer (8 points), William Byron (7 points), Erik Jones (6 points), Chase Elliott (4 points), Austin Dillon (1 point).