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Power Rankings

Power Ranking After: Kentucky

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

After the beating most fantasy players took at Daytona International Speedway, Kentucky was a welcome relief. Predictably, the Big 3 returned to the top five while Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski tipped their hands in practice. There were no huge surprises among the top 10 and with the exception of Alex Bowman, none of the drivers at the back of the pack were expected to run with the leaders.  

1. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week: 2)
Weeks in the top 10: 14
Week by week, Martin Truex Jr. has been looking like the defending champ. Last week, he dominated the field like he did last year. As a result, he overtook Kevin Harvick for the first time since the week of the Toyota / Save Mart 350k at Sonoma Raceway. Part of the reason he advanced is because Truex was the only member of the Big 3 to survive the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway. In NASCAR, it pays to be lucky and good.

2. Kevin Harvick (Last week: 1)
Weeks in the top 10: 19
Two week ago, Kevin Harvick had a 2.42-point advantage over Truex, but he lost a lot of ground at Daytona. Coming to a track on which he had not yet scored a top-10, it seemed likely that he would get passed. The fact that the No. 4 team performed as well as they did is a moral victory and only makes them more dangerous in the coming weeks.

3. Kyle Busch (Last week: 3)
Weeks in the top 10: 18
Kyle Busch has been as close to perfect recently as possible. In the past 60 days, he has victories at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway compared to only one result outside the top five. With the competition as tough as it is among the Big 3, however, the slightly bobble can keep a driver out of first place and his 33rd at Daytona was much worse that the result for either Truex or Harvick.

4. Clint Bowyer (Last week: 5)
Weeks in the top 10: 18
The battle for the fourth position in the Fantasy Power Rankings is intense. Clint Bowyer and Kyle Larson swapped positions this week even though the No. 42 finished ahead of the 14 at Kentucky. The reason behind that is Bowyer spent more time among the leaders, giving him a better average running position and Driver Rating (as reported by NASCAR Statistical Services).

5. Kyle Larson (Last week: 4)
Weeks in the top 10: 17
Kyle Larson’s ninth-place finish at Kentucky was a better result than it appeared he would get. Missing the drivers’ meeting, Larson was forced to drop to the back of the field to start the race. He drove into the top 10, but a mechanical issue forced him to make a long pit stop for a major adjustment to the wedge bolt. Weeks like that can either galvanize a team or send them into a tailspin.

6. Brad Keselowski (Last week: 6)
Weeks in the top 10: 19
The Fantasy Power Rankings looks at the last 60 days. That means the KC Masterpiece 400 at Kansas Speedway just dropped out of the formula – and Brad Keselowski’s 14th-place finish there was replaced with a third from Kentucky. The No. 2 team now has three top-fives and another pair of top-10s in their last seven races.

7. Kurt Busch (Last week: 7)
Weeks in the top 10: 20
Kurt Busch remains a difficult driver to handicap. He snapped a two-race skid of results outside the top 15 last week with a sixth at Kentucky, but in the past seven races, he has only one seriously strong effort of third at Michigan International Speedway. With Joey Logano dropping to 14th, however, Busch is now the only driver who has been in the Fantasy Power Rankings top 10 all year.

8. Chase Elliott (Last week: 8)
Weeks in the top 10: 4
Chase Elliott continues to benefit from his fourth-place finish at Sonoma, but he maintains a spot in the top 10 because of consistency. In his last seven races, Elliott has finished 13th or better five times. He was running well at Daytona before getting caught up in someone else’s mistake, which leave a 19th at Chicagoland as his only real struggle in the past 60 days.

9. Aric Almirola (Last week: 9)
Weeks in the top 10: 8
Like Elliott, Aric Almirola is among the top 10 because of consistency. Three of his last seven races ended in top-10s with another pair of top-15s. Notably, all of his top-15s wound up in a narrow band of seventh through 13th and that means fantasy owners have a good idea of where he will finish on a weekly basis. Plan accordingly.

10. Erik Jones (Last week: 12)
Weeks in the top 10: 1
Now that the weight of winning a NASCAR Cup race is off his shoulders, Erik Jones should be able to stay among the top 10. He has come on strong in recent weeks with four consecutive top-10s. That is not a record for the Young Gun because he has six straight results in that range last year during the summer.

Dropped from the Top 10

14. Joey Logano (Last week: 10)
Weeks in the top 10: 19
Joey Logano has not been terrible in recent weeks, but he has not been strong enough to remain in the top 10. Since finishing third at Kansas, he has not been able to capture another top five. Four top-10s have not been enough to offset a pair of sub-20th-place results at Charlotte and Daytona.

Big Movers outside the Top 10

17. Jamie McMurray (Last week: 20)
Weeks in the top 10: 0
He’s a long way from getting into the top 10, but Jamie McMurray is a good utilitarian pick with five top-20s in his last seven races. All of these were lead lap finishes and that gives him the opportunity to move up if other drivers experience trouble late in a race.

20. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Last week: 17)
Weeks in the top 10: 0
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has finished off the lead lap in his last three races, but he’s closed the points’ deficit to Alex Bowman because the Hendrick Motorsports driver finished last at Kentucky with crash damage.

 

This
Week

Driver

Avg
Finish

Last
Week

Difference

1.

Martin Truex Jr.

4.63

2

1

2.

Kevin Harvick

5.23

1

-1

3.

Kyle Busch

5.97

3

0

4.

Clint Bowyer

7.03

5

1

5.

Kyle Larson

8.51

4

-1

6.

Brad Keselowski

9.45

6

0

7.

Kurt Busch

10.10

7

0

8.

Chase Elliott

10.34

8

0

9.

Aric Almirola

11.43

9

0

10.

Erik Jones

11.46

12

2

 

11.

Jimmie Johnson

11.77

13

2

12.

Ryan Blaney

12.18

14

2

13.

Denny Hamlin

12.77

11

-2

14.

Joey Logano

12.85

10

-4

15.

Paul Menard

14.24

16

1

16.

Alex Bowman

15.42

15

-1

17.

Jamie McMurray

16.78

20

3

18.

Ryan Newman

16.89

18

0

19.

Brendan Gaughan

17.25

19

0

20.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

17.72

17

-3

21.

Austin Dillon

17.74

21

0

22.

William Byron

18.46

22

0

23.

Daniel Suarez

19.52

24

1

24.

Chris Buescher

19.95

23

-1

25.

Kasey Kahne

20.50

25

0

26.

Michael McDowell

21.22

26

0

27.

Trevor Bayne

22.91

28

1

28.

AJ Allmendinger

23.09

27

-1

29.

Joey Gase

24.67

29

0

30.

Bubba Wallace

24.71

30

0

31.

Matt Kenseth

24.73

34

3

32.

Ty Dillon

24.95

32

0

33.

David Ragan

26.24

31

-2

34.

Ray Black Jr.

27.67

33

-1

35.

Ross Chastain

28.70

37

2

36.

Jeffrey Earnhardt

29.43

36

0

37.

Matt DiBenedetto

29.43

35

-2

38.

DJ Kennington

29.71

38

0

39.

Parker Kligerman

30.25

39

0

40.

Justin Marks

30.75

40

0

41.

Corey LaJoie

32.35

41

0

42.

Cole Whitt

32.86

42

0

43.

Reed Sorenson

33.20

43

0

44.

Gray Gaulding

33.44

45

1

45.

Landon Cassill

33.95

44

-1

46.

Chris Cook

34.50

47

1

47.

JJ Yeley

34.62

46

-1

48.

Tomy Drissi

35.25

48

0

49.

Timmy Hill

36.19

49

0

50.

Jesse Little

36.25

 

 

51.

BJ McLeod

36.73

53

2

52.

Kyle Weatherman

36.75

51

-1

53.

Cody Ware

37.50

50

-3

54.

Garrett Smithley

38.43

54

0

 

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.