NASCAR Power Rankings: Chase Elliott rides into Watkins Glen at No. 1
Chase Elliott is the man of the year, and Kevin Harvick is the man of the moment.
Continuing a remarkable resurgence, Harvick won Sunday’s Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway for his second straight victory. The win boosted Harvick five spots to second in NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings, one place behind leader Elliott, who was fifth at Richmond.
Elliott retains the top spot based on the fact that he has won twice as many races (four) as any other driver. Plus, he is cruising to the regular-season championship.
Christopher Bell also advanced in the rankings this week, moving up a spot to fourth based on a strong second-place finish Sunday.
The Cup Series rolls on to Watkins Glen International Sunday for a 3 p.m. ET race (USA Network).
NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings
1. Chase Elliott (Last week: No. 1) -- Elliott wasn’t a force Sunday at Richmond, but he still ran near the front and came home fifth. He has won four of the past 14 races, including three of the past eight.
2. Kevin Harvick (Last week: No. 7) -- Harvick is streaky: 65 straight losses, two straight wins. Of the 106 laps he has led this year, 93 were scored at Michigan and Richmond in victories.
3. Joey Logano (Last week: No. 3) -- Logano is on the move. After four consecutive finishes of 20th or worse, he has finished in the top six three times in a row as Ford teams have shown more spark.
4. Christopher Bell (Last week: No. 5) -- Bell moves up a spot after challenging Kevin Harvick for the Richmond win in the closing laps, finishing .441 of a second as runner-up.
5. Kyle Larson (Last week: No. 2) -- Larson was up front for 11 laps at Richmond but was a non-entity at the finish, coming home 14th.
6. Ryan Blaney (Last week: No. 4) -- Blaney scored a 10th at Richmond in his continuing effort to outpoint Martin Truex Jr. and claim the 16th and final spot in the playoffs.
7. Denny Hamlin (Last week: No. 9) -- A slow pit stop near race’s end probably cost Hamlin a shot at first or second Sunday. He finished fourth.
8. Ross Chastain (Last week: No. 6) -- Chastain’s latest on-track incident involved Kyle Busch. Chastain finished two laps down in 18th and has had four consecutive finishes of 18th or worse.
9. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week: unranked) -- Truex returns to the rankings after a seventh-place run Sunday. He remains in Ryan Blaney’s shadow in the battle for the 16th playoff spot.
10. Kyle Busch (Last week: unranked) -- Busch is back in the top 10 after battling through a couple of incidents Sunday to finish ninth.
Dropped out: Tyler Reddick (No. 8 last week), Bubba Wallace (No. 10 last week).