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Power Rankings

Power Ranking After: Charlotte Roval

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: September 30, 2019, 7:40 pm ET

For all the chaos in the past two runnings of the Bank of America Roval 400k at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the road racing cream rose to the top. For Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr., it was a hard fought effort last week; Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski had slightly easier outings. The road races are not as typically wild card events as they once were because the current crop of NASCAR drivers have learned they cannot afford to give up a single week.

Still, that track type has the potential to shake up the standings and there is a lot of movement below. Now there will be a week of comparative normalcy at Dover International Speedway followed by the “anyone’s guess” Talladega Superspeedway. It is an interesting period of the schedule.

The last 45 days include the races from Bristol Motor Speedway through the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval. It includes races at Darlington Raceway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and Richmond Raceway—which is pretty representative of the entire year.

Momentum plays an important role of who to start or park for Fantasy NASCAR players and here are the drivers who currently have it:


1. Kevin Harvick (last week: 1)
Playoff Rank: 5
Weeks in the top 10: 29
FPR#: 6.41

Harvick quietly challenged for the win last week. He’s been good, but not stellar on road courses until last week. He came only a few laps short of winning the BoA Roval 400k and that was his ninth top-10 in the last 10 races. In that span of events, he has three victories at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Michigan International Speedway, and Indy.

2. Chase Elliott (last week: 4) +2
Playoff Rank: 7
Weeks in the top 10: 19
FPR#: 7.51

When a driver makes a mistake, they have two option: overdrive and make another mistake or use that resolve to get right on the edge. Elliott took responsibility for what he described one of the stupidest things a driver can do and determined to make it right. His victory on the Roval added six bonus points to his playoff total and will help ease his transition to Round 3. More importantly, he has six top-10s in his last eight attempts this year.

3. Kyle Larson (last week: 2) -1
Playoff Rank: 8
Weeks in the top 10: 15
FPR#: 7.95

The head said Larson should finish on the high side of the top 10 last week on the Roval; the heart believed he might be able to score a top-five since he was so strong in practice. Once the checkers fell, neither the hear or head were right and Larson finished 13th. That was a disappointment, but it was also the eighth time in the last nine weeks that he scored a top-15; seven of those were top-10s. Equally important his teammate Kurt Busch was knocked out of the playoffs and now the lion’s share of Chip Ganassi Racing resources will go to the No. 42.

4. Brad Keselowski (last week: 8) +4
Playoff Rank: 6
Weeks in the top 10: 23
FPR#: 8.67

It would certainly seem that Keselowski saved something for the playoffs. After a modest summer in which he scored an average finish of 14.9 between the two Michigan races, he has earned five top-fives in the last six—including every event in the Round of 16. His string of top-fives should continue and if he misses, Kez should still be able to achieve consistent top-10s.

5. Ryan Blaney (last week: 7) +2
Playoff Rank: 10th
Weeks in the top 10: 21
FPR#: 9.03

Blaney created more drama for himself last week than necessary after breaking a support on the rear end of his car. He was aggressive going over the turtles, but the good news there is that he was reaching for every thousandth of a second he could get. Some strategy played into his eighth-place finish and helped him advance, but he’s going to need to spend more time among the top five to get out of Round 2.

6. Clint Bowyer (last week: 11) +5
Playoff Rank: 12
Weeks in the top 10: 6
FPR#: 9.11

For the moment, Bowyer is okay. He transferred to the Round of 12 and is only six points away from the cutline to the Round of 8. Bowyer got to this point with consistency. He finished in the top 10 in the three races prior to the playoffs, stumbled at Las Vegas and has rattled off top-10 in his last two attempts. What he doesn’t have are bonus points and that could affect the way he drives in the coming weeks.

7. Martin Truex Jr. (last week: 6) -1
Playoff Rank: 2
Weeks in the top 10: 26
FPR#: 9.87

Missing a shift last week at the Charlotte Roval forced the team to make an engine change and sent Truex to the back. The next two mistakes also belonged to the driver when he missed the chicane twice in the opening laps. He is a good enough road racer that he challenged for the win in the closing laps, but his seventh-place finish was disappointing in light of back-to-back wins at Vegas and Richmond.

8. Joey Logano (last week: 5) -1
Playoff Rank: 4
Weeks in the top 10: 28
FPR#: 10.19

Logano is not in any immediate jeopardy of dropping out of playoff contention, but he really needs to pick up the pace if he wants to be a go-to driver for Fantasy NASCAR players. He has finished between ninth and 11th in his last three races, but the major concern is that he has scored only one top-five in since the mid-point of the season. If he’s pacing himself, it’s time to stop.

9. Denny Hamlin (last week: 3) -6
Playoff Rank: 3
Weeks in the top 10: 22
FPR#: 11.14

Hamlin is falling down the order fairly rapidly. His six-race streak of top-fives from Kentucky Speedway through Bristol is becoming a distant memory in light of only one top-five in the last five races. Worse still, in that span he has finished poorly enough that he has an average finish of only 14.4; two of his playoff races ended disappointingly outside the top 10. This year’s playoffs are looking increasingly like a game of chess.

10. William Byron (last week: 12) +2
Playoff Rank: 11
Weeks in the top 10: 11
FPR#: 11.84

It seems that every time we start to write Byron off, he rebounds. Last week his pole winning run at the Roval kicked off an effort that saw him score the second-best Average Running Position and third-best Driver Rating. His sixth-place finish in the race was the icing on the cake as it helped him secure a spot in the Round of 12. For the moment, we will just shrug and welcome him back to the list.

Dropped from the Top 10

11. Kyle Busch (last week: 9) -2
Playoff Rank: 1
Weeks in the top 10: 28
FPR#: 12.59

It may seem a little strange that Busch is not among the top 10 even though he is ranked No. 1 in playoff rankings. Remember that this formula looks at the past 45 days and in that span of events Busch has two 37th-place finishes and a 19th. He may be experimenting and he will almost certainly rebound in the coming weeks, but at the moment he is just not earning enough points to be part of the Fantasy Power Rankings’ Top-10.

12. Daniel Suarez (last week: 10) -2
Playoff Rank: NA
Weeks in the top 10: 4
FPR#: 12.78

Suarez battled his way back onto the Fantasy Power Rankings, Top-10 list only to be knocked out of it (and last week’s race) by Ryan Newman. Trying to figure out what it would take to get into the Round of 12, Newman zigged into the side of the No. 41 when he should have zagged and that ultimately contributed to a 32nd-place finish for Suarez, but Suarez really was not all that strong leading up to the last-lap incident. He had the 19th-best Average Running Position on the afternoon.

 

This
Week

Driver

Power
Avg.

Last
Week

Difference

1.

Kevin Harvick

6.41

1

0

2.

Chase Elliott

7.51

4

2

3.

Kyle Larson

7.95

2

-1

4.

Brad Keselowski

8.67

8

4

5.

Ryan Blaney

9.03

7

2

6.

Clint Bowyer

9.11

11

5

7.

Martin Truex Jr.

9.87

6

-1

8.

Joey Logano

10.19

5

-3

9.

Denny Hamlin

11.14

3

-6

10.

William Byron

11.84

12

2

 

11.

Kyle Busch

12.59

9

-2

12.

Daniel Suarez

12.78

10

-2

13.

Matt DiBenedetto

13.06

15

2

14.

Ryan Newman

14.32

13

-1

15.

Jimmie Johnson

14.42

18

3

16.

Aric Almirola

14.51

17

1

17.

Kurt Busch

14.82

14

-3

18.

Alex Bowman

15.88

16

-2

19.

Paul Menard

18.25

21

2

20.

Bubba Wallace

19.45

23

3

21.

Chris Buescher

19.63

22

1

22.

Austin Dillon

19.91

20

-2

23.

Erik Jones

21.42

19

-4

24.

Ty Dillon

21.94

24

0

25.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

23.90

28

3

26.

Daniel Hemric

24.34

26

0

27.

Michael McDowell

24.63

29

2

28.

Ryan Preece

25.32

25

-3

29.

David Ragan

26.13

27

-2

30.

Matt Tifft

27.16

30

0

31.

Parker Kligerman

28.20

35

4

32.

Ryan Sieg

28.80

31

-1

33.

Ross Chastain

29.55

33

0

34.

Corey LaJoie

29.77

32

-2

35.

Landon Cassill

30.00

34

-1

36.

Timmy Hill

31.17

 

NA

37.

JJ Yeley

32.69

37

0

38.

Austin Theriault

33.40

39

1

39.

Reed Sorenson

33.90

36

-3

40.

BJ McLeod

34.05

41

1

41.

Joey Gase

34.09

42

1

42.

Joe Nemechek

34.13

40

-2

43.

Quin Houff

35.10

43

0

44.

Kyle Weatherman

35.20

45

1

45.

Spencer Boyd

35.20

47

2

46.

Garrett Smithley

35.25

46

0

47.

Josh Bilicki

35.53

44

-3

 

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.