The NASCAR Cup Series doubleheader at Pocono Raceway this past weekend did not disappoint. Although both races were shorter than the typical distance the series runs on non-road course tracks, there was all kinds of excitement. Alex Bowman got a little help from a stunning Kyle Larson flat tire to take home the victory on Saturday. Then, on Sunday, Kyle Busch overcame transmission issues to outwit the field on fuel strategy for the win. The 675 miles of racing this past weekend had a little bit of everything. The aftermath of the doubleheader is evident in the massive shakeup throughout this week’s FlurrySports NASCAR Power Rankings
Wondering where your favorite driver stands? Read on to see who is trending up and down in the NASCAR power rankings heading into this weekend’s Independence Day race at Road America.
NASCAR Cup Series Power Rankings | After Pocono
1. Kyle Larson | Hendrick Motorsports #5
We discussed in previous weeks that the lead Kyle Larson has built up over the rest of the NASCAR Cup Series field for the top spot is massive. Although his winning streak was snapped at Pocono this past weekend, he really did nothing to warrant moving down a spot. Larson was on his way to a win in the Saturday race before a last-lap flat tire did him in. He still managed to nurse it across the line for a top-10. Then, despite suffering significant nose damage early on Sunday, the No. 5 car finished second. The only thing making it seem like a disappointing weekend is the fact that Larson has literally been winning everything lately.
2. William Byron | Hendrick Motorsports #24
Last Week: 2
The No. 24 team was fast all weekend at Pocono. They followed up a third-place run on Saturday with a near miss on Sunday. What exactly crew chief Rudy Fugle was thinking in terms of fuel strategy down the stretch is anyone’s guess. The ultimate finish of 12th should have been a whole lot better. Byron’s 14 top-10s on the season are tied with Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick for the most among all drivers.
3. Kyle Busch | Joe Gibbs Racing #18
Last Week: 5
What a weekend for Rowdy Kyle Busch! He was one of the fastest cars on Saturday and wound up second. Then, he somehow stole a win in the second race a day later. The fact that Busch drove to victory lane despite being stuck in fourth gear for the entire third stage is truly remarkable. No one was happier to see things stay green down the stretch than the No. 18 camp. His second win of the season vaults Busch into the top three in this week’s NASCAR power rankings.
4. Alex Bowman | Hendrick Motorsports #48
Last Week: 6
Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good. That was precisely the case for Alex Bowman this weekend at Pocono. He did a great job of holding off Kyle Larson down the stretch on Saturday but couldn’t maintain the lead the entire distance. But thanks to Larson’s flat tire on the final lap, Bowman stole the win anyway. While none of his three victories have necessarily come in dominant fashion this season, the fact that he has three wins says a whole lot about the No. 48.
5. Denny Hamlin | Joe Gibbs Racing #11
Last Week: 3
Just when it looked as though Denny Hamlin might finally be able to grab his first win of the year, the No. 11 Camry ran out of fuel. Despite that heartbreak on Sunday, Hamlin was fast all weekend. He bagged yet another top-5 finish on Saturday, his tenth of the season. Despite remaining winless, Hamlin remains just ahead of Kyle Larson in the NASCAR Cup Series points standings. His average finish of 8.6 on the season also continues to lead all drivers.
6. Joey Logano | Team Penske #22
Last Week: 7
When it comes to consistency, Joey Logano very quietly slots in as a driver excelling this season. With the Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets and Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas clearly the class of the field this season, it’s been tough sledding for Team Penske. Yet, Logano continues to throw down rock-solid finishes every week. Two more top-10s at Pocono bring his season total to 12. He also ranks fourth in average finish on the year (10.5).
7. Chase Elliott | Hendrick Motorsports #9
Last Week: 4
It was far from the weekend Chase Elliott and the No. 9 team hoped for at Pocono. After being disqualified and finishing dead last at Nashville, Elliott could only muster a 12th-place run on Saturday. A solid run in the second race was turned upside down when his car took damage. On the bright side, a road course race this coming weekend might be just the thing to cure what ails him.
8. Kevin Harvick | Stewart-Haas Racing #4
Last Week: 9
While it wasn’t at the level we saw him conquer Pocono last year, Kevin Harvick was fast all weekend at ‘The Tricky Triangle. Finishes of eighth and fourth were the perfect way to follow up a great run at Nashville. Harvick’s 14 top-10 finishes are tied for the most among all drivers. He also continues to rank among the top-5 in average finish. Whether the No. 4 car can find that additional speed to win a race and move further up the NASCAR power rankings is another story.
9. Martin Truex Jr. | Joe Gibbs Racing #19
Last Week: 8
After disappearing entirely for the better part of the month of June, we finally saw the No. 19 car out front for a stretch at Pocono. Of course, part of that was due to the inverted starting grid for Sunday’s race. Nonetheless, Martin Truex Jr. bagged a stage win. Otherwise, it was another quiet weekend. He failed to stay near the front on Sunday and finished 11th. That followed up a very average run to finish 18th on Saturday. Truex has those three wins but in terms of recent performance, this team has a significant lack of results.
10. Brad Keselowski | Team Penske #2
Last Week: 12
Finishes of 10th and third were just the trick for Brad Keselowski to crack back into the top ten of this week’s NASCAR power rankings. Like Truex, it has really seemed to be all or nothing for the No. 2 team this season. Six of Keselowski’s seven top-10 finishes on the year double down as top-5s. His average driver rating lags behind several contenders, yet Keselowski can be spotted among the top eight drivers in average finish for the season (13.3).
11. Tyler Reddick | Richard Childress Racing #8
Last Week: 11
Tyler Reddick was certainly the superior Richard Childress Racing car at Pocono. He played the fuel strategy game well both days to finish 11th and ninth, respectively. We’re still waiting on that first win, but Reddick is consistently fast and throwing down top-15 runs on a weekly basis.
12. Austin Dillon | Richard Childress Racing #3
Last Week: 10
Speaking of that other RCR car, Austin Dillon finds himself leap-frogged by his teammate in this week’s NASCAR power rankings. Pocono Raceway hasn’t been particularly kind to Dillon in the past and it was a very mediocre doubleheader weekend for the No. 3 team. That said, he continues to sit pretty in terms of points needed to qualify for the playoffs.
13. Ryan Blaney | Team Penske #12
Last Week: 15
After the brake disaster at Nashville, the Pocono doubleheader proved to be a terrific bounce-back for Ryan Blaney. The No. 12 Mustang could be spotted among the top-6 finishers on both days. After hardly being a factor for much of May and June, perhaps this is a positive sign of things to come for Blaney.
14. Daniel Suarez | Trackhouse Racing #99
Last Week: 13
It was another ho-hum weekend for Daniel Suarez and his brand-new race team. The No. 99 car finished in the top-15 both days. Trackhouse Racing continues to turn heads. Could Suarez shock the field and score a win down the stretch to secure a playoff berth?
15. Christopher Bell | Joe Gibbs Racing #20
Last Week: 14
Christopher Bell arguably should’ve had a much better weekend than the results suggest. The No. 20 was fast both days, in particular on Sunday. Unfortunately, contact with Chase Elliott and the resulting damage ruined hopes of turning in a solid finish.
16. Kurt Busch | Chip Ganassi Racing #1
Last Week: 19
Don’t look now, but Kurt Busch has raced his way into the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs picture on points. After finishing sixth on Saturday, Busch came just a few laps short of fuel from scoring a win on Sunday. The No. 1 car climbed up into the top-16 on points nonetheless. Busch is arguably one of the hottest drivers in the NASCAR power rankings right now.
17. Michael McDowell | Front Row Motorsports #34
Last Week: 17
It was great to see Michael McDowell turn roughly a dozen laps out front at Pocono on Sunday. Unfortunately, he couldn’t hold off the slew of power teams behind him. The finishes were merely average once again. That said, more repeat winners decreases the likelihood of McDowell being knocked out of the playoffs.
18. Ross Chastain | Chip Ganassi Racing #42
Last Week: 16
Like his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Kurt Busch, Ross Chastain had a fast car once again this weekend. His aggression caught up with him though, and the No. 42 failed to finish better than 26th either day. That sort of inconsistency has Chastain 72 points behind Busch for the final playoff spot.
19. Chris Buescher | Roush Fenway Racing #17
Last Week: 14
It was another poor weekend for Chris Buescher, who seems to have lost the momentum swing he was riding earlier in the year. He started from the pole in Sunday’s race but finished nowhere near it. Kurt Busch jumping into the current playoff field came at Buescher’s expense.
20. Bubba Wallace | 23XI Racing #23
Last Week: 23
FINALLY! 23XI Racing notched its first top-10 finish as an organization on Sunday at Pocono. They sure made the most of it, killing two birds in one stone by also notching a top-5. Wallace is very quietly just 54 points out of the current playoff picture. There has been more than one occasion this season where the No. 23 has shown winning speed too. In addition, the team’s new DraftKings paint scheme is simply incredible.
21. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. | JTG Daugherty Racing #47
Last Week: 20
After scoring a top-15 on Saturday, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s engine failed him in the second race. It was a costly blow for a No. 47 team that is desperate for any and all standings points.
22. Aric Almirola | Stewart-Haas Racing #10
Last Week: 24
Another week, another jump in the NASCAR power rankings for Aric Almirola. Although the No. 10 lacked winning speed in both races at Pocono, two 16th-place showings are a welcome sight for a team that couldn’t seem to finish a race for the first four months of the season.
23. Ryan Preece | JTG Daugherty Racing #37
Last Week: 27
Kyle Busch wasn’t the only driver who played the fuel strategy game well on Sunday. After a lackluster run to start the Pocono doubleheader, Ryan Preece scored his third top-10 of the year on Sunday with an eighth-place run.
24. Matt DiBenedetto | Wood Brothers Racing #21
Last Week: 22
So far, a new crew chief doesn’t seem to be helping the No. 21 team a whole lot. Matt DiBenedetto struggled both days at Pocono. The fact that he only has three top-10 finishes all season is shocking.
25. Erik Jones | Richard Petty Motorsports #43
Last Week: 21
Erik Jones failed to live up to his solid history at Pocono. Of course, a significant downgrade in equipment tends to have negative effects.
26. Chase Briscoe | Stewart-Haas Racing #14
Last Week: 29
It was a poor weekend for NASCAR Cup Series rookie Chase Briscoe. He failed to crack the top-20 in either race. Yet, the fact that he finished top-25 in both is enough to move him up a few spots in the depths of the NASCAR power rankings.
27. Ryan Newman | Roush Fenway Racing #6
Last Week: 25
A spin ruined Ryan Newman’s hopes of contending for a solid finish early on Saturday. Then, just when it looked like the No. 6 might bag a strong result playing the strategy game, he ran out of fuel. The inconsistency for this team continues.
28. Corey LaJoie | Spire Motorsports #7
Last Week: 28
Sadly, Corey LaJoie saw his top-20 streak end when he suffered significant damage on Saturday. He finished the race and rebounded to come in 23rd on Sunday. All things considered, Spire Motorsports has really overachieved this season.
29. Cole Custer | Stewart-Haas Racing #41
Last Week: 26
Yikes! Cole Custer got turned into the infield wall hard on Saturday. In fact, his car folded up in an eerily similar fashion to Darlington. Another poor run on Sunday sees him tumble down the NASCAR power rankings this week.
30. Anthony Alfredo | Front Row Motorsports #38
Last Week: 30
‘The Tricky Triangle’ is certainly a different beast. It got the better of rookie Anthony Alfredo this weekend. Considering the damage suffered in his run-in with Corey LaJoie on Saturday, perhaps a 26th-place finish could be considered a win.
31. Quin Houff | StarCom Racing #00
Last Week: 32
Quin Houff got the better of Josh Bilicki both days at Pocono to slide back ahead of him in the NASCAR Cup Eries points standings. Shoutout to the No. 00 pit crew for throwing down a power team stop time under green on Sunday. We noticed!
32. Josh Bilicki | Rick Ware Racing #52
Last Week: 31
Not a good Pocono weekend by any stretch of the imagination for Josh Bilicki. That is all.
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