No sport celebrates America and patriotism quite like NASCAR. Admittedly, that’s saying something given some of the marketing trends we’ve seen the sport take on in the past year. Nonetheless, the Independence Day celebration in the state of Wisconsin was a great success. Road-course ace Chase Elliott earned his second victory of the season at Road America on Sunday by dominating the second half of the race. How high did the defending NASCAR Cup Series champion rise in this week’s FlurrySports NASCAR power rankings as a result? While he still has work to do to overtake Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson for the top spot, Elliott was among plenty of movers and shakers behind him.
Read on to find out where your favorite driver stands through 20 races.
NASCAR Cup Series Power Rankings | After Road America
1. Kyle Larson | Hendrick Motorsports #5
Kyle Larson might not have won at Road America either way. But to say his 16th-place showing wasn’t a direct result of being spun around by teammate Alex Bowman late in the race is foolish. The No. 5 car was fast yet again on the Fourth of July. While his top-10 streak may be through, it was bound to happen at some point. Here’s a scary thought for the rest of the NASCAR Cup Series field: Larson will have revenge on the mind at Atlanta this weekend. He dominated the first race in Georgia only to falter down the stretch and finish second.
2. Kyle Busch | Joe Gibbs Racing #18
Last Week: 3
He may not have sealed the deal with a Cup Series race win, but Kyle Busch was fast all weekend at Road America. After winning both the practice session and the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday, Busch had to start at the rear of the pack on Sunday after issues in qualifying. The No. 18 drove all the way to the front, led for brief spurts and stuck the landing with a third-place finish. Busch has now finished in the top-5 in five of the last six races. Four of those results have been top-3s, including the last three. As such, he climbs to second in this week’s NASCAR power rankings.
3. Denny Hamlin | Joe Gibbs Racing #11
Last Week: 5
There are just six races remaining in the 2021 regular season. Somehow, Denny Hamlin remains on the list of drivers who are yet to visit victory lane. It certainly isn’t for a lack of consistency. The No. 11 Camry overcame brake troubles and a venture through the grass to finish fifth at Road America. After this week, Hamlin is the only driver who can claim to average a top-10 finish on the season.
4. Alex Bowman | Hendrick Motorsports #48
Last Week: 4
Much like teammate Kyle Larson whom he spun, Alex Bowman ran a lot better than his 22nd-place finish would suggest on Sunday. The No. 48 car made the decision to pit for a tire rub after the contact. Heavy right front quarter panel damage prevented him from making a serious charge back up through the field. In the end, it was a finish to forget. That said, Bowman still has three wins and is slowly starting to turn some heads as a sneaky performer on road courses.
5. Chase Elliott | Hendrick Motorsports #9
Last Week: 7
Unlike the rain-marred race at Circuit of the Americas, Chase Elliott earned his victory at Road America without a shadow of a doubt. Win No. 2 on the year was also Elliott’s seventh career road course win. With three more road races remaining on the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series schedule, he very well could tie or even break Jeff Gordon’s all-time record of nine this year. Elliott’s nine top-5 finishes are tied for the third-most among all drivers this season.
6. William Byron | Hendrick Motorsports #24
Last Week: 2
Although not known for his road racing ability, William Byron appeared to have a solid weekend in the making at Road America. He started on the pole after an excellent qualifying run, won the first stage of the race and was up near the front most of the day. Unfortunately, a late spin ruined his finish. Much like the Sonoma race, Byron failed to stick the landing on an otherwise solid run. Even as he falls out of the top five in the NASCAR power rankings, Byron still sits third in total standings points accumulated through 20 races.
7. Joey Logano | Team Penske #22
Last Week: 6
It was another lackluster weekend for the Team Penske Mustangs as a whole at Road America. While Joey Logano has been able to stay a step ahead of his teammates most weeks, Independence Day Weekend was not one of them. He was fighting the No. 22 car most of the day and wound up 15th. For as solid of a year as Logano has had, one has to wonder if any Ford will have the goods to compete for a NASCAR Cup Series championship this season.
8. Martin Truex Jr. | Joe Gibbs Racing #19
Last Week: 9
One has to wonder what the result might have been for Martin Truex Jr. had he not been flagged for a speeding penalty on pit road. The No. 19 team rebounded to score a much-needed top-10 finish. Still, we have come to expect more than ninth from Truex on road courses. One can only hope that this top-10 might help get what has been a struggling team back on track.
9. Kevin Harvick | Stewart-Haas Racing #4
Last Week: 8
Kevin Harvick may still be tied for the most top-10 finishes among all drivers after this past weekend, but he came nowhere close to adding one at Road America. It was a brutal day for the No. 4 team. Harvick isn’t exactly known for his road course skills. That said, most felt he and Stewart-Haas Racing equipment would be capable of more than a 27th-place finish. Harvick is one of the best when it comes to getting around the rugged surface at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Could this coming week finally be his time to shine?
10. Tyler Reddick | Richard Childress Racing #8
Last Week: 11
Speaking of drivers who are proving themselves to be sneaky-quick on road courses, how about Tyler Reddick’s weekend at Road America? After qualifying well enough to start in the top five, Reddick won the second stage and scored a top-10 finish for the overall race. He is quietly one of the brightest young stars in the NASCAR Cup Series today. After exceeding expectations on Independence Day, Reddick jumps back into the NASCAR power rankings top ten.
11. Brad Keselowski | Team Penske #2
Last Week: 10
It was another very quiet week for Brad Keselowski. “Quiet” is a great word to describe the overall air surrounding the No. 2 team recently. That and maybe a little bit “eerie” too. With Keselowski’s looming move to Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the year, one has to wonder how this current Team Penske group might be affected internally down the stretch.
12. Austin Dillon | Richard Childress Racing #3
Last Week: 12
For a driver who is on the record for despising road courses, Austin Dillon sure has made an effort to improve this season. He started way at the back on Sunday but moved forward throughout the day to finish 11th. It was a much-needed run after a couple of lesser showings from the No. 3 team in recent weeks.
13. Ryan Blaney | Team Penske #12
Last Week: 13
Considering the fact that the No. 12 car’s hood had to literally be duck-taped flat, Ryan Blaney made the most of things at Road America by hanging onto a top-20 finish. A timely pit stop call right before a caution might have saved him from a truly disastrous result.
14. Christopher Bell | Joe Gibbs Racing #20
Last Week: 15
Christopher Bell was fast in both races at Pocono but didn’t have the results to show for it. Well, he was fast again at Road America. This time, Bell got a massive result to show for it by finishing second. Outside of Chase Elliott, Bell was easily the fastest car on the long green-flag run to end the race. Maybe there’s something to this kid on road courses after all…
15. Kurt Busch | Chip Ganassi Racing #1
Last Week: 16
Along with his younger brother, Kurt Busch is right up there as one of the two hottest drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series at present. He came home fourth to finish right behind Kyle Busch at Road America. The Chip Ganassi No. 1 team jumped into the top-16 on points last week. Now, Busch has a full 25-point lead with six regular-season races remaining.
16. Ross Chastain | Chip Ganassi Racing #42
Last Week: 18
The Chip Ganassi Racing heat check doesn’t stop with just Kurt Busch. The No. 42 car of Ross Chastain has been very fast in recent weeks as well. He bagged yet another top-10 showing on a road course this past weekend. While he still has an uphill battle ahead, Chastain has at least raced his way into the playoff conversation.
17. Daniel Suarez | Trackhouse Racing #99
Last Week: 14
In an eerily similar fashion to Circuit of the Americas, Daniel Suarez was failed by his transmission just a few laps in on Sunday. Apparently, Trackhouse Racing had better reevaluate their road course setup ahead of their 2022 expansion.
18. Michael McDowell | Front Row Motorsports #34
Last Week: 17
Heavy damage to the front of his car doomed any chances of Michael McDowell taming Road America up to his full potential. The dream start to the 2021 season is long gone. Despite best efforts to hold his own, McDowell continues to slide down the NASCAR power rankings.
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19. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. | JTG Daugherty Racing #47
Last Week: 21
Happy Independence Day Ricky Stenhouse Jr.! To celebrate, he threw down a career-best road course finish of 12th. While inconsistency is an issue here, the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing team is still very much in the hunt for a playoff spot.
20. Chris Buescher | Roush Fenway Racing #17
Last Week: 19
Chris Buescher did nothing to recover lost ground in terms of his playoff battle with Kurt Busch at Road America. One would have to go all the way back to the Coca-Cola 600 to find the last time Buescher scored a top-15 finish, let alone a top-10. Does the No. 17 team have a late-season push in them?
21. Bubba Wallace | 23XI Racing #23
Last Week: 20
Bubba Wallace is not a road racer and it showed at Road America. The No. 23 team is still in the playoff mix, but a win would certainly be preferred at this point.
22. Matt DiBenedetto | Wood Brothers Racing #21
Last Week: 24
Can Matt DiBenedetto carry his Road America form forward? The No. 21 car led several laps and stuck around for a top-10. It was easily the best run Wood Brothers Racing has had in a while.
23. Aric Almirola | Stewart-Haas Racing #10
Last Week: 22
Like Ryan Blaney, Aric Almirola benefited mightily from a timely pit stop just before the final caution flag flew at Road America. Unfortunately, he couldn’t;’t even hang onto a top-10 finish. But hey, 14th is a whole lot better than all those early-season DNFs.
24. Chase Briscoe | Stewart-Haas Racing #14
Last Week: 26
Chase Briscoe is just another young driver who flashed his potential as a road racer this past weekend. He essentially has NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year won by default after his sixth-place finish.
25. Erik Jones | Richard Petty Motorsports #43
Last Week: 25
While Erik Jones clearly did not live up to expectations driving for Joe Gibbs Racing, his talent as a driver far exceeds the equipment he is currently working with at Richard Petty Motorsports. He was unheard from while driving to a 19th-place finish at Road America.
26. Ryan Preece | JTG Daugherty Racing #37
Last Week: 23
Ryan Preece had his Fourth of July cut short with an equipment failure. The No. 37 team failed miserably in their quest to build momentum off of a top-10 at Pocono.
27. Corey LaJoie | Spire Motorsports #7
Last Week: 25
He may have come one spot shy of his fifth top-20 finish in the last seven races, but that can’t stop Corey LaJoie from reaching season-high status in the NASCAR power rankings.
28. Cole Custer | Stewart-Haas Racing #41
Last Week: 28
While it was far from a great day by any stretch, Cole Custer will absolutely take a 17th-place finish at this point. While the Quaker State 400 is now being run at Atlanta and not Kentucky, it’s worth pointing out that Custer is the defending champion of this coming weekend’s race.
29. Ryan Newman | Roush Fenway Racing #6
Last Week: 26
Is it just me or have spins, damage and sub-30 finishes almost become the norm for Ryan Newman and the No. 6 team this season? It’s getting hard to watch.
30. Anthony Alfredo | Front Row Motorsports #38
Last Week: 30
A flat tire and brake issues ruined any chance of a decent showing for Anthony Alfredo at Road America. He’ll look to end his rookie season on a high note over the final six regular-season races.
31. Josh Bilicki | Rick Ware Racing #52
Last Week: 32
Think Josh Bilicki was ticked about falling back down to the NASCAR power rankings cellar last week? He promptly went out and had one of his best runs of the year at Road America, finishing 23rd. Bilicki has now eclipsed 100 points in the standings.
32. Quin Houff | StarCom Racing #00
Last Week: 31
Quin Houff failed to keep pace with his Rick Ware Racing rival at Road America, finishing 34th. He is now the only full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver with fewer than 100 standings points (94).