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William Byron
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Power Rankings

Power Ranking After: Pocono 1

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: June 3, 2019, 2:48 pm ET

The Pocono 400 might have been the one most-alike last year. The long straightaways did not allow cars to stay close enough to one another for long enough periods of time to see an impact of the new aero-package. It’s difficult to know if that will be the trend once the field returns in a month or if we will see the same kind of racing later on at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but it affected this week’s rankings.

Pocono Raceway has often been treated like a road course. Teams count back from the end of the race and try to fit the final stop into a strategy that allows them to run till the end with the potential of ignoring a late-race caution. They will forego segment points for the benefit of the overall finish and that allowed for some interesting drivers among the top 10 at the end of each stage. It also impacted the Average Running Position numbers to a degree.

This week’s rankings look primarily at the past five races in the last 45 days.


1. Chase Elliott (last week: 1)
Weeks in the top 10: 11
FPR#: 3.74

With each passing week, Elliott is becoming a better value. Five consecutive top-fives is the best anyone has performed so far this year – although one might argue that Kyle Busch’s four-race streak from Las Vegas Motor Speedway through Martinsville Speedway that included two wins and two thirds is certainly on par. But in the game of “what have you done for me lately,” Elliott is head and shoulders above the rest.

2. Alex Bowman (last week: 3) +1
Weeks in the top 10: 4
FPR#: 6.97

The last 45 days includes races from Talladega Superspeedway through Pocono, so Bowman fairly well held his ground last when a 17th in the Geico 500 fell out to be replaced with a 15th on the Tricky Triangle. The four races in between those efforts are what has him this high on the list with three straight second-place finishes and a seventh. It will take a week to determine if he can rebound from his modest showing in Pennsylvania and challenge for top-fives once more.

3. Brad Keselowski (last week: 5) +1
Weeks in the top 10: 13
FPR#: 7.24

Keselowski’s second-place finish at Pocono was much like his win at Kansas Speedway three weeks ago. He didn’t make a lot of noise during the race, but had the right strategy at the end to score his sixth top-five in the last six races on that track. Michigan International Speedway is another good venue for him, so there is a strong likelihood he will keep his momentum rolling.

4. Kyle Busch (last week: 6) +2
Weeks in the top 10: 14
FPR#: 7.88

Busch continues to be negatively impacted by his Digital Ally 400 mistake that caused him to finish 30th. Some players might call fowl that one race could impact him so much when he has a pair of dominant top-fives on the heels of it – but that is precisely the point. If he is always just one bad decision away from wrecking after being so tempting, his value is diminished.

5. Joey Logano (last week: 4) -1
Weeks in the top 10: 14
FPR#: 8.38

That Logano is still this high in the rankings is a testament to his ability to overcome two venues that have not been uniformly suited to him in recent seasons. He did not show the kind of dominant form we saw earlier in the year while he was challenging for wins, but top-10s at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Pocono were impressively part of six top-fives in his last seven attempts.

6. William Byron (last week: 8) +2
Weeks in the top 10: 3
FPR#: 10.06

It’s hard to imagine that Byron will remain in the top 10 for very long, but one of the ways players win Fantasy NASCAR is by identifying the up-and-comers and jumping on and off their bandwagon at the right time. Fortunately, Byron is developing a “tell”. Lately he’s continued to be strong in race trim after starting on the first two rows, so if he qualifies well at Michigan International Speedway he should be on next week’s roster.

7. Aric Almirola (last week: 10) +3
Weeks in the top 10: 9
FPR#: 11.07

Ten of Almirola’s 14 starts this season have ended in results of sixth through 16th; one other was a fourth at Ingenuity Sun Media Raceway, leaving three bad results in his wake. Two of these came on wild card tracks of Daytona International Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway. So long as a driver has that kind of consistency, he is gold for fantasy handicappers.

8. Kevin Harvick (last week: 7) -1
Weeks in the top 10: 14
FPR#: 11.79

We were a little worried last week that Harvick was going to have a good finish after handicapping him down the order. As has become a norm for the team, they made a mistake in the pits that was compounded by a mechanical failure. Harvick has not forgotten how to drive, however, and will rocket back to the top of the charts as soon as Fickle Fate forgives him for whatever he’s down wrong.

9. Martin Truex Jr. (last week: 2) -7
Weeks in the top 10: 11
FPR#: 11.93

Last week at Pocono, we had high hopes that Truex would finally get back-to-back top-fives for the first time this season. Instead, he developed mechanical issues and retired in 35th. His last six weeks have featured three wins and three bitter disappointments – and it makes him a questionable fantasy value even though he has as much raw power each week as anyone in the field.

10. Kyle Larson (last week: 17) +7
Weeks in the top 10: 5
FPR#: 12.17

How can Larson finish 26th and jump up seven spots? Two reasons: he ran well before slapping the wall at Pocono and damaging his car, so his Driver Rating and Average Running Position at Pocono were still decent. Secondly, he had an even worse finish at Richmond Raceway that just aged out of this formula. Unless he finishes strong in Michigan next week, however, he is likely to disappear from the list again.

Dropped from the Top 10

12. Kurt Busch (last week: 9) -3
Weeks in the top 10: 9
FPR#: 12.59

Busch’s fall from the top 10 has less to do with his modest run last week and more to do with an even worse performance at Charlotte. His 11th-place finish wasn’t quite enough to keep him in the top 10, but he is still one of the most consistent drivers in the field with 12 results of 13th or better in the first 14 races of the season.

Big Mover outside the Top 10

14. Clint Bowyer (last week: 11) -3
Weeks in the top 10: 5
FPR#: 14.31

With a little luck, Bowyer should rebound and challenge for at top-10 ranking next week. Once his streak of four consecutive top-10s from Martinsville through Richmond fell out of the formula, he’s been less consistent with two sub-20th results in the last five weeks. Fortunately, Talladega ages out next week and Bowyer should take his rightful place with the elite.

16. Chris Buescher (last week: 18) +2
Weeks in the top 10: 0
FPR#: 15.18

Last week Buescher failed in his bid for a career-best three consecutive top-10s. He finished 14th, which is nevertheless a milestone. Given the size of this team and the fact that they tend to fly under the radar, however, that still makes him one of the best values in the game.

 

This
Week

Driver

Power
Avg.

Last
Week

Difference

1.

Chase Elliott

3.74

1

0

2.

Alex Bowman

6.97

3

1

3.

Brad Keselowski

7.24

5

2

4.

Kyle Busch

7.88

6

2

5.

Joey Logano

8.38

4

-1

6.

William Byron

10.06

8

2

7.

Aric Almirola

11.07

10

3

8.

Kevin Harvick

11.79

7

-1

9.

Martin Truex Jr.

11.93

2

-7

10.

Kyle Larson

12.17

17

7

 

11.

Ryan Blaney

12.45

12

1

12.

Kurt Busch

12.59

9

-3

13.

Erik Jones

13.23

13

0

14.

Clint Bowyer

14.31

11

-3

15.

Daniel Suarez

14.59

15

0

16.

Chris Buescher

15.18

18

2

17.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

16.27

14

-3

18.

Jimmie Johnson

16.41

19

1

19.

Tyler Reddick

17.00

22

3

20.

Paul Menard

17.07

16

-4

21.

Ryan Newman

17.29

21

0

22.

Denny Hamlin

18.64

23

1

23.

Daniel Hemric

19.07

23

0

24.

Austin Dillon

21.14

20

-4

25.

Brendan Gaughan

21.33

25

0

26.

Ty Dillon

23.78

26

0

27.

David Ragan

24.69

27

0

28.

Ryan Preece

24.85

28

0

29.

Matt DiBenedetto

25.77

31

2

30.

Corey LaJoie

25.77

29

-1

31.

Jeffrey Earnhardt

26.67

30

-1

32.

Michael McDowell

26.70

35

3

33.

Parker Kligerman

27.60

32

-1

34.

Bubba Wallace

27.86

37

3

35.

Justin Haley

28.33

33

-2

36.

Ross Chastain

28.69

36

0

37.

Matt Tifft

29.46

34

-3

38.

Reed Sorenson

30.12

38

0

39.

Bayley Currey

30.19

39

0

40.

Quin Houff

33.05

43

3

41.

Joey Gase

33.18

42

1

42.

BJ McLeod

33.30

41

-1

43.

Landon Cassill

33.35

45

2

44.

Timmy Hill

34.00

44

0

45.

Cody Ware

34.20

46

1

46.

Stanton Barrett

34.60

47

1

47.

JJ Yeley

35.20

 

NA

 

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.