Power Rankings after Pocono: Denny Hamlin a unanimous No. 1
Denny Hamlin not only won Sunday’s Cup race at Pocono, he also knocked Ryan Blaney off the top spot for this week’s NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings.
Hamlin was a unanimous selection of NBC Sports’ NASCAR writers for No. 1 in this week’s rankings.
Kevin Harvick, who finished 1st-2nd in the two Pocono races (while Hamlin finished 2nd-1ast), was the biggest gainer, going from unranked last week to a unanimous pick for No. 2 this week. The biggest drop was Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who went from third last week to unranked this week.
Here’s how this week’s rankings look:
1. Denny Hamlin (30 points): Keeps getting stronger. First four-time winner of the season. Could this be the year he finally wins his first Cup championship? Last week: second.
2. Kevin Harvick (27 points): Came so close to making it a weekend sweep. Has 3 wins, eight top five and 12 top-10 finishes in first 15 races. Has finished outside the top 15 only once this season. Last week: unranked.
3. Aric Almirola (23 points): Four consecutive top fives – his only top fives this season and the best streak of his career – has Almirola back on track after earlier struggles. Last week: fourth (tied).
4. Chase Elliott (15 points): Has four top 10s in the last six races. Last week: seventh.
5. Brad Keselowski (14 points): Since NASCAR returned from the COVID-19 hiatus, Keselowski has two wins and just three finishes outside the top 10 in 11 races. Last week: eighth (tied).
6. Ryan Blaney (13 points): Had an off weekend (best finish was 12th on Saturday) after his win at Talladega. His Pocono finishes snapped a streak of six top-five finishes in his previous seven starts. Last week: first.
7. Martin Truex Jr. (12 points): Has four top 10s, including a win, in the last six races. Last week: unranked.
8. Chase Briscoe (9 points): Has been strong in the Xfinity Series this season, leading the way with four wins – including Sunday at Pocono. Last week: unranked.
9. Erik Jones (8 points): Sunday’s season-best third-place finish - his second top five in the last three races - was a big turnaround from wrecking out Saturday. Last week: 10th (tied).
(tie) 10. Clint Bowyer (6 points): Earned pair of top-10 finishes at Pocono, first back-to-back top 10s this season. Can he keep the momentum going at Indianapolis, where he’s had back-to-back fifth-place finishes the last two years? Last week: unranked.
(tie) 10. Alex Bowman (6 points): Earned third top 10 in last five races. Last week: 4th (tied).
Others receiving votes: Matt DiBenedetto (1 point), Brandon Jones (1 point).