Week 11 NASCAR Power Rankings

After a three week hiatus, the PBP power rankings are back. Let’s see what’s changed over the last three weeks, with races at three wildly different tracks – Bristol dirt, Talladega, and Dover.

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:
Christopher Bell (+5)
Kyle Busch (+5)
Erik Jones (+4)

Trending down:
Chase Briscoe (-5)
Kurt Busch (-5)
Austin Cindric (-5)

Rank (+/-)DriverDiscussion
Ross ChastainPicked up win number two at Talladega, and followed it up with a solid p3 at Dover. The big surprise of the 2022 season continues to shine with newly-minted powerhouse team Trackhouse Racing. The sky really does seem to be the limit here – Chastain is a legitimate title contender.
Chase ElliottWell, he finally put together that dominant run he’d been missing, even if it was just for the final stage at Dover. But what a final stage it was! The current points leader by a healthy margin, and the leader in several other metrics, Chase has put together a great season so far.
Kyle BuschKyle Busch has been as good as anyone the last five races, with finishes of ninth, seventh, first, third, and seventh. He sits fourth in points yet you’d never know it by listening to his as-always-angry in car audio during races.
Ryan BlaneyHad an off week at Dover, but a stage win allowed him to salvage a decent points day. He currently sits second in points, and has been among the most consistent drivers in the field… when he’s been able to avoid trouble.
Kyle LarsonSafe to say he’s shaken the mini-cold streak he was on, with three top-fives (and another top-10) in his last five races. The ‘for-my-money’ most talented driver in the field seems back to his old ways.
William ByronSince his win at Martinsville, Byron has picked up finishes of 18th, 15th, and 22nd. Certainly no reason to worry, but a cold stretch is a cold stretch. With the recent news of his three-year contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports though, I doubt he’s too concerned.
Joey LoganoAfter two straight podiums at Bristol and Martinsville, Joey put up two stinkers at Talladega and Dover. Particularly at Dover, Joey seemed to simply lack speed all day. His results this year resemble a graph of cos(x).
Alex BowmanWith seven top-10’s in the last nine races, including his win at Las Vegas, Bowman has quietly been about the most consistent driver in the whole field – and he currently sits fifth in points as a result. All luck, no skill, right?
Martin Truex Jr.Still maintaining his quietly consistent year, Truex was on his way to another top-five at Dover before a last lap run-in with Ross Chastain. It would have been his sixth top-10 of the year.
Kevin HarvickImproving every week in the new car, Harvick has secured two straight top-10’s for the first time this season – that’s deserving of a jump into MY top-10, right?
Tyler ReddickFollowing the near-miss for his first career win at Bristol, Reddick took home finishes of 39th and 30th at Talladega and Dover respectively. Fret not though, as he’ll look to recapture his early season magic at Darlington – where between you and me, he’s my pick to win.
Chase BriscoeWhen Briscoe picked up his first win of the year at Phoenix, I thought it signaled his arrival as a legit contender. Unfortunately, he’s been decidedly ho-hum since then, collecting only one top-10 in the seven races since.
Austin DillonBrought home a runner up finish at Talladega, but had to fight an ill-handling car all day at Dover, which forced him to settle for a p23 result. Still, Dillon’s pace thus far has been impressive. With three podiums and five top-10’s, he sits just three points back of the final playoff spot.
Christopher BellWith four top-10’s in his last six races, Christopher Bell has really started to quietly improve. If the season ended today, he’d be in the playoffs pretty handily. Don’t be surprised if you see him snag a win at some point soon.
Denny HamlinWas the class of the field for the first half of the Dover race, but a lost wheel during a pit stop, then an unfortunate run-in with a spinning Cody Ware spoiled what could have been a great day. So much of what has befallen Hamlin this year has been luck based – I have a hard time faulting him for it.
Erik JonesCollected two straight top-10’s at Talladega and Dover. Jones currently holds the final playoff spot – if he manages to point the 43 car into the playoffs that would be a huge accomplishment.
Daniel SuárezDaniel Suárez hasn’t managed to match the production of his Trackhouse teammate Ross Chastain, with no top-10’s in his last six races. He’s currently 21 points below the playoff cut line, and has some catching up to do.
Kurt BuschThree races have seen three wrecks for Kurt, who has seen his early season success fade a bit in the last six or so races. Much of it has been out of his control, but it adds up.
Aric AlmirolaAfter his hot start, Almirola only has one top-10 in his last eight races. Still sits 11th in points thanks to his early season success, but he figures to be a fringe playoff contender at best if he can’t get a win.
Chris BuescherCollected his first career pole at Dover, so that’s certainly neat! Parlayed that into a p8 finish, his third top-10 finish on the season. He currently sits 32 points below the playoff cut line, and seems to be RFK’s best – or only – hope at a playoff spot.
Austin CindricWith only one top-10 since his win in the Daytona 500, Cindric certainly hasn’t been particularly impressive. He’s been solid for stretches, but seems to struggle putting whole races together. Good thing he got that Daytona win, or he’d certainly be in trouble as far as the playoffs go.
Justin HaleyThree straight top-15’s, and races at both Talladega and Dover that saw him running up front at times, have acted to really raise Justin Haley’s stock. The more races Kaulig gets under their belts, the better these cars are gonna get, and the better we’ll see Haley run.
Bubba WallaceAn unholy cocktail of bad pit stops and bad luck have plagued Bubba Wallace’s 2022 campaign. A top-10 qualifying effort at Dover seemed like it could help right the ship, but a bad pit stop early, and a broken sway bar late ruined what should have been a solid day.
Brad KeselowskiStill unable to *really* get things together, Brad has struggled a fair bit the last couple of weeks. With a best finish of ninth on the year (a whole ten weeks ago mind you), he absolutely needs a win to make the playoffs.
Michael McDowellPicked up two straight top-10’s at Bristol and Talladega, and then a reasonably solid p17 at Dover. It’s been a nice stretch for McDowell as of late, and he’s already picked up three top-10’s on the year – a nice accomplishment running for FRM.
Cole CusterHe just can’t seem to put full races together. Collected his third top-15 of the year at Dover. Let me say that again – he has three top-15’s through 11 races, driving an SHR Mustang. Come on now.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Out of NOWHERE Ricky Stenhouse Jr. brought home an incredibly impressive runner-up finish at Dover. It was a much needed result for a team that had finished outside of the top-25 in seven consecutive races.
Ty DillonCollected his first top-10 of the year at Bristol, but unfortunately followed it up with p33 and p27 performances at Talladega and Dover. His early season consistency is fading a bit.
Todd GillilandHad been keeping the car very clean, but got into trouble at both Talladega and Dover – though the Dover incident was thanks to Ryan Blaney trying to drive through his car.
Harrison BurtonI went to the race at Dover this last week. I remember sitting there, watching Harrison Burton racing (and I mean properly RACING) against the RWR car of Cody Ware early for several laps. He eventually got by, but I remember thinking “how does that happen to a Penske affiliated Wood Brothers car?” I think the answer is a rookie driver who hasn’t figured it out yet.
Corey LaJoieLooked really solid at Dover, in a race where he was running the title sponsor Drydene on his car as he has done the last few years. He was pushing for a possible top-10, but had to settle for 18th thanks to the long green flag run to the end. Still, three straight top-20’s is good to see from Spire.
Cody WareA solo-spin off of turn 4 put the nail in the coffin for Denny Hamlin’s day, and also helped relegate Cody to a 34th place result. He’s been cleaner than in years past, which you like to see, but that incident was… well, it was bad unfortunately.

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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