Week 8 NASCAR Power Rankings

After taking a week off to let things shake out even better, two weeks of short track racing continued to show who are the real contenders, and who might be pretenders. The top two slots are the same as last time, but there have been a few shake ups throughout the rest of the field.

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:
William Byron (+6)
Chase Elliott (+3)

Trending Down:
Daniel Suarez (-5)
Tyler Reddick (-4)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-4)

Rank (+/-)DriverDiscussion
1
(-)
Ross ChastainWhile he hasn’t been *dominant* since his first career win at COTA, he’s still riding the best hot streak in the series with five top-5’s in his last six races, with the lone exception being a 19th place run at Richmond.
2
(-)
Ryan BlaneyWhile still yet to capture a win, he keeps putting himself in the discussion for one every week. After capturing his third 4th place result of the season at Martinsville, Blaney remains as consistent as can be.
3
(+3)
Chase ElliottHe’s still yet to put together a dominant run, and has only secured one top-5 on the season – yet thanks to racking up the third most stage points, and only having one finish outside of the top-15 he finds himself as the points leader.
4
(+6)
William ByronThe first multi-race winner on the year, Byron absolutely dominated the final stage at Martinsville to bring home his fourth career win. Byron is really pulling his weight at Hendrick after four years of relatively ho-hum results.
5
(-1)
Joey LoganoWas a bumper away form picking up his first win of the season at Martinsville, coming home p2. Still an obvious threat to win every week, but he has to put it all together and actually get one.
6
(-3)
Kyle LarsonDon’t look now, but Kyle Larson is on a proper cold streak! He’s finished outside of the top-25 in three of the last five races, with the other two results being a much needed p5 at Richmond…followed up by an unimpressive p19 at Martinsville.
7
(-2)
Chase BriscoeSince picking up his first career win Briscoe has run…okay. He brought home a top-10 at Martinsville, and two other top-15’s in the four races since winning. He was also in the discussion for the win at COTA for a bit before running into problems.
8
(-)
Kyle BuschTwo consecutive top-10’s following two finishes outside of the top-25 were just what this team needed – even if their p9 at Richmond could have been much better if they had avoided their grille-tape penalty.
9
(-)
Alex BowmanContinuing to put up mostly solid results, and sitting sixth in the standings, Bowman is a driver that is hard to rank. On the one hand he’s already picked up a win, and nearly got another at COTA a few weeks back – but on the other he seems to have races where he is a complete non-factor more often than he should.
10
(+1)
Martin Truex Jr.While not putting up world-beating results, Truex has probably been the most consistent Toyota driver so far as their camp as a whole continues to generally struggle. Had a pretty poor showing at Martinsville, but did pick up his first top-5 of the season the week prior.
11
(-4)
Tyler ReddickThe biggest early season surprise, Reddick has started to cool off a bit the last couple weeks. Following his p5 at COTA, he’s come home p12 and p18 respectively. Can he get back to running up front?
12
(+1)
Kevin HarvickSeems to be steadily improving as he continues to adjust to the next gen car. Still hasn’t put together a dominant showing, but he did bring home a season best p2 at Richmond.
13
(+2)
Kurt BuschContinuing to be the lead dog for 23XI, Kurt Busch rebounded from a mechanical issue at Richmond and a wreck at COTA to bring home his fourth top-10 at Martinsville with a p6.
14
(+3)
Austin DillonAustin Dillon just keeps going out there and putting together solid runs. He even had a shot at the win at Martinsville, eventually coming home p3. If the season ended today, he’d be in the playoffs.
15
(+1)
Aric AlmirolaCollected his fourth top-10 of the season, and his first since the third race of the year. While he’s certainly not been blowing anyone’s doors off, he’s been solid all year, and currently sits eighth in points.
16
(-2)
Austin CindricIt’s safe to say that Cindric has leveled off a bit to where you expect a rookie to be. Since winning at Daytona, he has only collected one top-10 at COTA. He’s not been terrible – he’s just not been particularly good.
17
(-5)
Daniel SuárezWhile Ross Chastain has been wildly impressive, his Trackhouse teammate has left a bit to be desired as of late. Following a surprisingly terrible performance at Martinsville that saw him finish four laps down, he needs to step it up.
18
(+2)
Denny HamlinHe finally picked up a win! Looks like his early struggles are ov…… wait, what’s that? He followed up his win with a terrible 28th place, non lead lap finish at Martinsville? Oh, okay.
19
(+1)
Christopher BellChristopher Bell is tough to rank. I feel like from a pure talent perspective you could make an argument for him to be top-10, but he just hasn’t put it together on a consistent basis yet. He did pick up two straight top-10’s but the followed it up with a p20 dud at Martinsville – though they were playing for stage points.
20
(-2)
Erik JonesErik Jones is another driver that I struggle to rank every week. It’s clear the talent is there, but he seems to keep either running into trouble, or not having enough car to carry him where he needs to go.
21
(-)
Chris BuescherSomeone asked me to describe Chris Buescher the other day, and I said he is “probably the most average driver in the entire sport”. I think that’s a fair assessment. He’s not great, but he’s CERTAINLY not bad. He’s right smack in the middle.
22
(+2)
Brad KeselowskiIt’s been an…eventful year for Keselowski so far, but he has four straight clean top-20 finishes – a good step for a guy who looked completely out of control in the first handful of races.
23
(-1)
Bubba WallaceWatching Bubba hold off the race leader for the entire second half of stage two to stay on the lead lap was one of the more impressive pieces of driving I’ve seen all year. I have a challenge for Bubba Wallace’s pit crew: Go literally one race without making some kind of terrible mistake. I bet you can’t!
24
(-1)
Justin HaleyFollowing his string of four top-20’s, Haley picked up two consecutive duds – p29 at Richmond, and a particularly abysmal p31 at Martinsville where he lacked speed all day.
25
(+2)
Cole CusterFinally showed signs of life at Martinsville, qualifying well and running towards the front. His efforts were unfortunately dashed by a pit road penalty, and they simply couldn’t recover with passing being so difficult there this week. It was unfortunate, but almost expected I’d say
26
(-1)
Ty DillonStill putting together consistent, clear runs for his small team, Ty just keeps on chugging. Not blowing anyone away, but doing exactly what he needs to.
27
(+1)
Michael McDowellHas only picked up one finish inside the top-20 since Daytona – a p13 at COTA. Next Gen parity doesn’t seem to have extended all the way down to FRM.
28
(+1)
Todd GillilandExpectations are low for an underfunded team like this, but Gilliland continues to do at least a reasonable job. He’s keeping the cars clean and learning – that’s the goal for a small team rookie.
29
(+2)
Harrison BurtonSeems like he is starting to get the hang of it, and is keeping the car cleaner than he had been. Still hasn’t had any particularly impressive runs, but it’s progress.
30
(-4)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.He’s finished outside of the top-25 in six of the eight races so far – and one of the remaining two was just a p21. Ouch!
31
(-1)
Corey LaJoieFollowed up his incredibly impressive p5 at Atlanta with *checks notes* three straight finishes outside of the top-30. As nice a “feel good” story as that result was, it seems as though it was a complete anomaly.
32
(-)
Cody WareWhat can you say? After showing promise at Daytona, Ware hasn’t managed to crack the top-25 since, picked up his second DNF of the year at Richmond, and finished outside of the top-30 at Martinsville. We all hoped for progress from RWR, but it looks like we’ll have to keep waiting.
___________________________

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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