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Martin Truex Jr.
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Power Rankings

Power Ranking After: Bristol 2

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: August 19, 2019, 7:43 pm ET

Since it has been a while since the last off week, races have piled up in the last 45 days. This week’s Fantasy Power Rankings formula looks at the past seven weeks since the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway just fits inside the 45-day window. That gives us a nice cross section of races that includes the former plate track, a couple of flat tracks, unrestricted, intermediate speedways, a road course, and with last week’s Night Race at Bristol, a short track.

Bristol Motor Speedway lived up to its reputation. There was some carnage and a lot of action, but in the end most of the top 10 finishers ran there all day. In fact, 10 drivers had average running positions of better than 10.0. The only driver who was forced to the back of the pack was Erik Jones with the ninth-best running position and a 22nd-place finish after he slapped the wall late in the going.

Matt DiBenedetto came 11 laps short of giving us another first time winner this season, but even he could not be considered a huge surprise given how strong he’s been lately.


1. Denny Hamlin (last week: 1)
Weeks in the top 10: 17
FPR#: 5.44

Last week in a post-race interview, Hamlin said one of his personal challenges is in having teammates as strong as Busch and Truex. Even when he wins, he is negatively compared to them. For the moment, he has numbers that would rival either of those drivers at their height with six consecutive top-fives and two wins since Kentucky Speedway’s Quaker State 400.

2. Kyle Busch (last week: 3) +1
Weeks in the top 10: 24
FPR#: 6.82

Every now and then, Busch puts on a performance that is truly amazing. Starting 31st at Bristol, it took a while for him to get the handling corrected on his car. He lost a lap and struggled some to get back on the same circuit as the leaders, but once he regained that position, he managed to climb back into the top five. Perseverance is one of the greatest traits of a place-and-hold driver.

3. Martin Truex Jr. (last week: 4) +1
Weeks in the top 10: 21
FPR#: 8.11

This week Truex did not improve in the standings as much as he passed a faltering Harvick, but he does give Joe Gibbs Racing the top three spots in the Fantasy Power Rankings. He did not set the world on fire at Bristol – but then again, we didn’t expect that. He managed to get a top-15, however, and one should not lose sight of his three consecutive top-fives preceding his short track run.

4. Kevin Harvick (last week: 2) -2
Weeks in the top 10: 24
FPR#: 8.11

Harvick had a clutch fail at Bristol. He was running with the leaders most of the day before that happened, but it puts his past two months in a different perspective nonetheless. Dating back to the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway, he now has three results outside the top 20 to go along with four top-10s in seven races. Frankly, we are not quite certain what to do with him for the time being.

5. Joey Logano (last week: 5)
Weeks in the top 10: 24
FPR#: 10.29

If Logano cannot turn his fortune around, he is not long for this list. It has now been four weeks since he last earned a top-10 and his last top-five was in June at Chicagoland Speedway. In the seven races that intervene between his third-place result in Illinois, he has an average finish of 15.7, but he has run better than he finished on a few occasions and has managed to hold onto his spot.

6. Erik Jones (last week: 6)
Weeks in the top 10: 7
FPR#: 10.36

Jones was challenging for the lead when he slapped the wall hard last week at Bristol. He employed the wrong strategy at Michigan International Speedway two weeks previously and his four-race streak of top-fives is starting to fade from memory. Still, he has had a top-five capable car each week and should still be one of the drivers you consider for the last two regular season races.

7. Kyle Larson (last week: 8) +1
Weeks in the top 10: 10
FPR#: 10.63

It doesn’t take long to erase a bad perception in NASCAR. It’s hard to remember that Larson struggled so badly at the end of spring now that he has seven top-10s in his last nine races. He really needs a win to gain enough momentum to be considered a legitimate threat for the championship, but he has that opportunity in a couple of weeks at Darlington Raceway.

8. Ryan Blaney (last week: 9) +1
Weeks in the top 10: 16
FPR#: 10.88

Blaney rebounded from his poor strategy at Michigan and a cut tire at Bristol to score his fourth top-10 in the past five weeks. He has another little string of top-10s surrounding the June road course race at Sonoma Raceway. He will not enter the playoffs with a ton of momentum, but he still has an opportunity to establish his team as a frontrunner if he can stay out of trouble at Darlington and gets the right breaks at Indy.

9. Kurt Busch (last week: 10) +1
Weeks in the top 10: 15
FPR#: 11.00

Busch continues to hover around the top 10. He jumped over Byron this week with a solid Bristol run, but frankly we expected more out of him there than a ninth-place finish considering how he performed last year and this spring. Darlington could prove to be a challenge because he has two 30-something results versus three top-10s in his last five races on the Track Too Tough to Tame.

10. Brad Keselowski (last week: 11) +1
Weeks in the top 10: 18
FPR#: 11.12

Keselowski did not seem particularly happy with his third-place finish last week at Bristol. He should have been relieved at the very least because that was his first top-five since he finished fifth in the Camping World 400 at Chicagoland. Perhaps his mood will change when he remembers that Darlington is next up on the schedule and he is the defending winner of the Southern 500.

Dropped from the Top 10

11. William Byron (last week: 7) -4
Weeks in the top 10: 12
FPR#: 12.24

Byron has had a good run inside the top 10. Two 21st-place finishes in the last three races have caught up with him, however, and dropped the driver of the No. 24 to 11th. Unless he finds a way to win at Darlington, it is highly unlikely that he will climb back onto the leaderboard because his second-place finish at Daytona is about to age out of this formula. Dollar for dollar, he is still a good value, however.

Big Mover outside the Top 10

13. Matt DiBenedetto (last week: 19) +6
Weeks in the top 10: 1
FPR#: 13.32

Everyone was rooting for DiBenedetto to win last week including the driver who passed him for the lead. Even without a victory, he has now earned top-10s in half of the last 10 races. None of them have come in back-to-back weekends, however, and Darlington is a difficult place to navigate. Still, we have learned to stop betting against this driver who is racing for his professional life.

 

This
Week

Driver

Power
Avg.

Last
Week

Difference

1.

Denny Hamlin

5.44

1

0

2.

Kyle Busch

6.82

3

1

3.

Martin Truex Jr.

8.11

4

1

4.

Kevin Harvick

9.47

2

-2

5.

Joey Logano

10.29

5

0

6.

Erik Jones

10.36

6

0

7.

Kyle Larson

10.63

8

1

8.

Ryan Blaney

10.88

9

1

9.

Kurt Busch

11.00

10

1

10.

Brad Keselowski

11.12

11

1

 

11.

William Byron

12.24

7

-4

12.

Chase Elliott

12.66

14

2

13.

Matt DiBenedetto

13.32

19

6

14.

Aric Almirola

14.16

13

-1

15.

Alex Bowman

14.48

12

-3

16.

Ryan Newman

14.87

17

1

17.

Clint Bowyer

15.07

20

3

18.

Daniel Suarez

16.36

21

3

19.

Paul Menard

16.70

18

-1

20.

Chris Buescher

16.92

16

-4

21.

Jimmie Johnson

19.00

15

-6

22.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

19.54

22

0

23.

Daniel Hemric

21.79

25

2

24.

Bubba Wallace

22.38

26

2

25.

Austin Dillon

22.74

23

-2

26.

Ty Dillon

23.44

27

1

27.

Michael McDowell

23.47

24

-3

28.

Ryan Preece

24.19

28

0

29.

Matt Tifft

26.83

30

1

30.

Justin Haley

26.83

31

1

31.

David Ragan

26.92

29

-2

32.

Parker Kligerman

27.30

32

0

33.

Joey Gase

27.67

33

0

34.

Brendan Gaughan

28.00

34

0

35.

Corey LaJoie

28.27

35

0

36.

Landon Cassill

28.83

36

0

37.

Bayley Currey

29.00

39

2

38.

Ross Chastain

29.58

38

0

39.

JJ Yeley

30.18

37

-2

40.

Andy Seuss

31.40

40

0

41.

Reed Sorenson

32.86

41

0

42.

Cody Ware

33.64

43

1

43.

Josh Bilicki

33.87

42

-1

44.

Quin Houff

34.23

44

0

45.

BJ McLeod

34.45

46

1

46.

Austin Theriault

34.80

45

-1

47.

Garrett Smithley

35.20

47

0

48.

Kyle Weatherman

35.20

 

NA

49.

Spencer Boyd

37.40

48

-1

 

Dan Beaver

Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 20 years with a little help from his >650,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.