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Power Rankings: Kevin Harvick reclaims No. 1 spot

Matt DiBenedetto, William Byron, and Jimmie Johnson will be sweating their fates when the NASCAR Cup Series regular season finale rolls around at Daytona International Speedway.

A week after being bumped off the No. 1 spot, Kevin Harvick reclaims the top position in this week’s NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings.

The top three is similar to last week. They are just in a different order.

Here is this week’s Power Rankings

1. Kevin Harvick (Last week No. 3): He just keeps going and going with top-five finishes. Harvick’s win Sunday at Dover marks his 11th top-five finish in the past 12 races. He has five wins during that stretch. Those runs have allowed Harvick to collect 57 playoff points, including 15 for winning the regular-season crown. You can pretty much put him down for the championship race in Phoenix.

2. Denny Hamlin (Last week No. 1): After a week atop the standings, he falls back a position even with a win last weekend. Hamlin won Saturday’s race at Dover. A loose wheel forced him to pit under green and led to a 19th-place finish Sunday. That ended a streak of six consecutive top-10 finishes. Five of those results were either a win or second-place finishes. He can start a new streak this weekend at Daytona. He’s won three Daytona 500s, including the past two.

3. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week No. 2): After scoring five consecutive third-place finishes, a 1 million to one shot of happening, Truex left Dover with a pair of runner-up finishes. To any of his competitors overlooking him, Truex says: “We obviously haven’t won as many races as I think we should have, but we’re ready. Hopefully the momentum will swing our direction and they’ll forget about us and we’ll go beat them all.”

4. Joey Logano (Last week No. 5): He’s scored six consecutive top-10 finishes after placing eighth at Dover on Saturday and sixth on Sunday.

5. Jimmie Johnson (Last week tied No. 7): Gusty two-tire pit call by crew chief Cliff Daniels and determined drive by Johnson in the final laps led to a third-place finish Sunday. It wasn’t enough to keep him in a playoff spot, but he’s only four points behind Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron for the final playoff spot.

6. Brad Keselowski (Last week tied No. 7): His 18 top-10 finishes this season are second only to Kevin Harvick’s 21. Keselowski has nine top 10s in the last 12 races.

7. (tie) Chase Elliott (Last week No. 4): Finished fifth on Saturday but then ran into the back of Kyle Busch’s car as the field slowed for a crash. That ended Elliott’s race in 39th. The finish ended his streak of five consecutive top 10s.

7. (tie) Austin Cindric (Last week No. 5): This is how well things have gone for him lately. Going two Xfinity races without a win was a down weekend for Cindric even though he was second in Saturday’s race and third Sunday. He has five wins, two runner-ups and one third-place finish in the last eight races.

9. William Byron (Last week No. 10): Overcame a rotten race Saturday, placing 28th, to finish fourth on Sunday for his best result of the season. With the pressure on to make the playoffs, Byron was steady Sunday.

10. Chase Briscoe (Last week unranked): Snapped seven-race winless streak Sunday. That might not sound like a big deal but he won five of the first 13 Xfinity races this season.

Dropped out: Aric Almirola (Last week tied for 10th), Kaz Grala (Last week tied for 7th)