Week 4 NASCAR Power Rankings

In a week that saw three drivers battling for their first career wins, Phoenix continued the trend of relative parity that we have seen so far. As we continue to get a better idea of who is rising to the top of the field, and who may have been early season apparitions, here is another look at how the drivers stack up to one another.

These rankings are based on a combination of statistics, team and driver history, and the eye-test of someone who’s been watching for 20+ years. Any problems with the list? Come drop an angry reply on the Twitter thread (@PitBoxPress), and throw some virtual hands!

Trending Up:
Kevin Harvick (+10)
Chase Briscoe (+8)
Ross Chastain (+6)

Trending Down:
Erik Jones (-9)
Aric Almirola (-6)

Rank (+/-)DriverDiscussion
1
(-)
Kyle LarsonHad his first run in with some bad luck, suffering from an engine failure at Phoenix – but he had solid top-five pace before that, and is still obviously the class of the field.
2
(-)
Kyle BuschNo reason to shake up the second spot either. Busch put together a nice p7 run, and seems to be a solid championship contender early on.
3
(+1)
Joey LoganoThe current points leader, Logano looks as good as ever. While he certainly hasn’t been the dominant car at any point this year, consistency counts, and Logano has certainly had plenty of that.
4
(+3)
Ryan BlaneyHe’s been unlucky at times, but Blaney has been bad fast so far. Just needs to get the gremlins sorted, and he’ll be a strong contender.
5
(+8)
Chase BriscoePicked up his first career win following some particularly exceptional late race restarts, and looked like a world beater at times. Briscoe had already been pretty impressive so far, but this cemented his arrival as a legit contender.
6
(-)
Tyler ReddickAnother very solid run for Reddick saw him yet again fighting for his first career win. It’s coming, and soon at that.
7
(-4)
Austin CindricFinally suffering from some rookie fall-off, Cindric struggled a good bit at Phoenix and ultimately finished outside of the top-20 for the first time this year. We’ll have to see if he can recover.
8
(+6)
Ross ChastainGet a load of Ross Chastain?? Two straight excellent runs where he was a legit threat to snag his first career win. Trackhouse has given him some really stout cars to work with, and he’s taking advantage.
9
(-1)
Martin Truex Jr.A hard wreck ruined Truex’s day at Phoenix. He was pretty quick prior to that though, so all still seems well with Truex.
10
(+10)
Kevin HarvickThe big climber this week, Harvick proved me wrong with a great run at Phoenix where for the first time this year he was in the discussion for the win.
11
(-6)
Aric AlmirolaI’ll be honest, he was only 5th as a testament to his consistency – now that his top-10 streak is over, we’ll see just how consistent Almirola is able to be. He took to the new car better than most, but can he continue?
12
(-3)
Chase ElliottI didn’t think I would say this at the start of the year, but at times it’s seemed like Chase Elliott has been the weak link at Hendrick so far. He’s been fast more often than not, but is getting in his own way quite a bit, particularly late in races.
13
(-3)
Alex BowmanFollowing his win at Vegas, Bowman was never really a factor at Phoenix after the first stage. He seems solid of course, but never overwhelmingly fast.
14
(-2)
William ByronWon the first stage and came home fourth in the second, but faded a good bit at the end and missed out on what should have been a solid result. Still, he continues to look very fast.
15
(+4)
Kurt BuschWhat a run by Kurt Busch? Brought home a solid top-five, the second one on the year for 23XI. He certainly appears to be the lead guy for that team.
16
(-)
Austin DillonWas putting together another solid top-10 run, but got dumped coming into the final corner and was left with an unfortunate DNF
17
(-)
Daniel SuárezThe car responsible for Dillon wrecking coming to the checkers, Suárez rebounded from a disappointing Las Vegas with a solid p9 in Phoenix. Seriously, these Trackhouse cars look really good!
18
(-)
Denny HamlinMan, what can you say? 2022 has been incredibly disappointing for Denny Hamlin so far. No top-10’s and a lot of bad luck through the first four races. He’ll rebound, but you know he wants to do so soon.
19
(-4)
Christopher BellI prematurely bumped Christopher Bell way up last week. He had a decent start to his day in Phoenix, but ultimately ended up wrecking. He’s one of those guys with TONS of potential that I think can be great – but he needs to start showing it consistently.
20
(-9)
Erik JonesTwo weeks, and two late race wrecks for Erik Jones. Following their very impressive start, the 43 team is starting to fade a bit.
21
(+3)
Chris BuescherPicked up his first top-10 of the season on a day where he looked pretty competitive. Currently sitting 21st in points, 21st seemed like an appropriate spot here as well.
22
(-1)
Bubba WallaceAnother disappointing day for Bubba as he had to fight an ill-handling car all day. His frustration understandably boiled over a few times over the radio as he came home p22, a lap down. With no top-15’s since Daytona, Bubba now finds himself outside of the top-16 in points.
23
(-1)
Brad KeselowskiI didn’t have high expectations for Keselowski coming into the season, and with a few scattered exceptions he’s proven my initial concerns right so far. He still seems out of control more often than not.
24
(-1)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Not a great day for Stenhouse as he generally lacked speed and came home p28. He had a competitive start to the year, but his JTG team is starting to fall off a bit.
25
(-)
Justin HaleyBrought it home 17th, and continues his improvement. I really do think this team will be a threat relatively soon.
26
(+4)
Ty DillonDon’t look now, but Ty Dillon has been quietly consistent so far. Fresh off a solid top-15 at Phoenix, Ty sits 20th in points, and is yet to finish outside of the top-20.
27
(+1)
Cole CusterI don’t remember Custer being mentioned at all last week, which I suppose is better than the alternative. Still the obvious weak link at SHR, he has a good ways to go yet.
28
(-2)
Michael McDowellAnother pretty weak showing at Phoenix saw McDowell come home outside of the top-25 for the third consecutive race. After a good run to open the year, it’s ben forgetful.
29
(+2)
Todd GillilandAfter another quietly consistent run for Gilliland that saw him collect a top-20, he is doing exactly what a small team rookie should do since Daytona – keeping his head down, and keeping the car clean.
30
(-3)
Harrison BurtonA pretty weak showing by the Wood Brothers in Phoenix, as the 21 car was never a factor. Things really haven’t looked good for this team so far – some of it luck, and some of it not. Hopefully for them it’s just some early season gremlins combined with having a young driver, but time will tell.
31
(-2)
Corey LaJoieWell, I said last week if they couldn’t follow up their solid run at Vegas they would fall right back down – an early wreck resulted in a last place finish for LaJoie.
32
(-)
Cody WareJust didn’t have the speed to be competitive at Phoenix, eventually coming home 31st. RWR still has a LONG way to go.
33
(-)
BJ McleodFinished last of the cars that didn’t suffer any problems, eight laps down in 33rd. Live Fast will almost certainly remain in the last spot all year unless something drastic happens.
_____________________

Published by Walker Skeeter

Walker is a 4th year climatology PhD candidate at the University of Delaware. Despite being a climate scientist, Walker has been a NASCAR fan for over 20 years! His favorite drivers are Bubba Wallace, Tyler Reddick, and Alex Bowman in cup, and AJ Allmendinger, Tommy Joe Martins, and Ryan Vargas in Xfinity. Outside of racing, he enjoys talking about (and studying) the weather, watching Baltimore sports, and playing video games.

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