The Bristol power ranking for the NASCAR Cup Series encompasses the drivers’ performance from the previous two races, the Alsco 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Supermarket Heroes 500 at Bristo Motor Speedway.
1. Kevin Harvick
Alsco 500 Result: 10th
Supermarket Heroes 500 Result: 11th
Kevin Harvick’s top-ten streak ended at Bristol on Sunday (barely), but it was still a solid week overall for the points leader. Harvick stayed out of trouble and was the best car on the track at Charlotte until about halfway through the final stage. There isn’t much doubt that Harvick will pick up more wins than the one he currently holds, and his lead at the top of the standings is becoming commanding.
2. Brad Keselowski
Alsco 500 Result: 7th
Supermarket Heroes 500 Result: 1st
Twice this season, Keselowski had luck on his side to win. At the first Charlotte race, he took the checkered after a late caution forced leader Chase Elliott to pit. At Bristol, Elliott and Joey Logano wrecked in the closing laps fighting for the lead, essentially giving Keselowski the victory. It’s been a nice first quarter of the season for Keselowski, who sits in the top-five in the point standings and is one of only three drivers with multiple wins.
3. Chase Elliott
Alsco 500 Result: 1st
Supermarket Heroes 500 Result: 22nd
After finally breaking his incredible string of bad luck by winning the second Charlotte race, Elliott decided to return to his typical heartbreak at Bristol, wrecking with two laps to go while battling for the lead. While picking up the win was nice, it’s a shame that he couldn’t have at least picked up a solid finish, as the wreck cost him about 20 points in the standings.
4. Joey Logano
Alsco 500 Result: 6th
Supermarket Heroes 500 Result: 21st
Not that many people feel sympathy for Logano after his wreck at Bristol (he already has two victories this season), but he was very much in contention for another win. Like Elliott, the main negative effect from the late-race wreck comes in the standings for Logano, who is 24 points behind leader Kevin Harvick. Luckily, Atlanta has been a great track for Logano and Team Penske over the years, and NASCAR heads there on Sunday.
5. Alex Bowman
Alsco 500 Result: 31st
Supermarket Heroes 500 Result: 37th
It was a rare rough week for Bowman, who had incidents in both races and was unable to finish at Bristol after being caught up in the Ricky Stenhouse wreck. He was very competitive early in the race at Charlotte, and the improvements this season for Hendrick Motorsports have been well-documented early on. Bowman will be one of the favorites to win in Atlanta.
6. Denny Hamlin
Alsco 500 Result: 2nd
Supermarket Heroes 500 Result: 18th
Hamlin probably should have had at least one win this week, as he finished runner-up at Charlotte and was leading at Bristol before wrecking in the closing laps while battling with Chase Elliott and Joey Logano. Hamlin’s car seems to be the only JGR machine that has any type of good luck this year, and his two wins are keeping him firmly inside the top-ten in the standings.
7. Kyle Busch
Alsco 500 Result: 29th
Supermarket Heroes 500 Result: 4th
Busch was able to bring his car home fourth at Bristol, but after leading plenty of laps, not winning is a bit of a disappointment. Busch is still looking for his first win, nine races into the season, something that was certainly not expected coming into the year for the defending champion. Maybe ten will be his magic number, but he’ll have plenty of other good cars to contend with at Atlanta.
8. Kurt Busch
Alsco 500 Result: 5th
Supermarket Heroes 500 Result: 7th
A pretty great week overall for the older Busch brother, who got himself into tenth in the point standings with two straight finishes of 7th or better. This car has shown a lot of speed this year, and it’s refreshing to see Busch’s luck begin to turn around after he was short on it in the first few races. The Chip Ganassi equipment isn’t quite top-tier, but with Busch’s driving ability, a win or two isn’t at all out of the question.
9. Martin Truex Jr.
Alsco 500 Result: 9th
Supermarket Heroes 500 Result: 20th
Truex’s struggles so far have been one of the season’s biggest storylines. His whole team has dealt with issues, but Truex doesn’t yet have a single top-five finish, despite being the highest-ranked JGR driver in the point standings (6th). The breakthrough for MTJ is likely coming soon, but it’s odd to see him not contending for a win for this many races in a row.
10. Jimmie Johnson
Alsco 500 Result: 11th
Supermarket Heroes 500 Result: 3rd
As the season goes on, Johnson is looking more and more like a playoff driver. He still sits in 15th place, just seven points to the good. His races at Charlotte and Bristol were both solid, and he took third at Bristol after the chaos of the final few laps. Atlanta has always been a great track for Johnson, and it would be a great time for him to break what is now a 104-race winless streak.
11. Ryan Blaney
Alsco 500 Result: 3rd
Supermarket Heroes 500 Result: 40th
After finishing in the top-five at Charlotte, Blaney’s car looked to be one of the fastest on the track at Bristol. And then he spun. And then Ty Dillon destroyed his front bumper. It was a series of unfortunate breaks that led to Blaney’s dead-last finish on Sunday, but it’s still a dead-last finish and another missed opportunity for a driver who should have at least one win at this point in the season.
12. Clint Bowyer
Alsco 500 Result: 16th
Supermarket Heroes 500 Result: 2nd
It was about time Bowyer caught himself a break. After winning a couple of stages back at Darlington before wrecking out of the race, Bowyer took advantage of a wreck to finish second at Bristol, sliding up to 12th in the standings. So far this year, Clint hasn’t had a car capable of winning a race more than maybe once or twice, but it only takes one day for everything to come together.
13. Tyler Reddick
Alsco 500 Result: 14th
Supermarket Heroes 500 Result: 36th
Unfortunately, for Tyler Reddick, he was caught up in the huge early wreck at Bristol that began with Jimmie Johnson turning Ricky Stenhouse. The 36th-place result leaves a much larger gap between Reddick and teammate Austin Dillon (who currently holds the final playoff spot). Reddick has impressed over the first quarter of his rookie season and will hang around in playoff contention.
14. Aric Almirola
Alsco 500 Result: 20th
Supermarket Heroes 500 Result: 29th
For the first time this year, Almirola had a car capable of contending for a top-three finish at Bristol. Unfortunately, he was the victim of an unintentional rogue push from Bubba Wallace (who was being shoved by Brad Keselowski) that ended his day outside of the top-25. Not ideal, but the improvements in the car were notable, and Atlanta should end with a better result.
15. Erik Jones
Alsco 500 Result: 26th
Supermarket Heroes 500 Result: 5th
Like his teammates, Jones has been decent this year, and improving gradually, but still hasn’t lived up to expectations. A top-five finish at Bristol was nice, but he still sits uncomfortably close to the back end of the playoff group, especially for a Joe Gibbs car. I still wouldn’t be shocked if Jones wins a race or two in the regular season. He’s good at super-speedways and always seems to find a way to grab one when it counts (see: Darlington, 2019).
16. Matt DiBenedetto
Alsco 500 Result: 15th
Supermarket Heroes 500 Result: 31st
It wasn’t a great week for DiBenedetto, who had an OK car at Charlotte before finishing dozens of laps down at Bristol following a wreck. DiBenedetto has still outperformed expectations for the Wood Brothers and has plenty of time to make up for the ground he lost during the past two races.
17. Austin Dillon
Alsco 500 Result: 8th
Supermarket Heroes 500 Result: 6th
Dillon is enjoying a nice improvement following a disappointing 2019 season. He has top-ten finishes in the last two races and sits in the final playoff spot at the quarter-point of the season. His car was especially impressive at Charlotte, as he ran near the front for the entire race, and was good on short-runs and long-runs.
18. John Hunter Nemechek
Alsco 500 Result: 13th
Supermarket Heroes 500 Result: 13th
Watching John Hunter Nemechek compete this year has been an absolute treat. He currently has his Front Row Motorsports car inside the top 20 in the point standings, which none of the team’s drivers were able to come close to accomplishing a year ago. Nemechek has turned the supposed ‘Big Three’ rookies (Reddick, Custer, Bell) into the Big Four, and is the second-highest in the standings among rookies. Two solid races for him again this week as he continues to be impressive.
19. William Byron
Alsco 500 Result: 12th
Supermarket Heroes 500 Result: 8th
Byron had a pretty good week, finishing inside the top-15 in both races, but still has not come close to picking up a victory. Through nine races, he sits just outside the playoff cut line, which was certainly not the vision for what was supposed to be the youngster’s breakout year. There’s still time, but consistency will be key for the rest of the way.
20. Ryan Newman
Alsco 500 Result: 17th
Supermarket Heroes 500 Result: 15th
Charlotte and Bristol were a pretty average couple of races for Ryan Newman, as his car was only good enough to finish where he finished. Newman picked up a pair of top-20 finishes, which is nice. With how much ground he has to make up in the standings, however, after missing three races, he will need more if he wants to make a serious run at the playoffs.
Bristol Power Ranking – Best of the Rest
21. Chris Buescher (LR: 17)
22. Matt Kenseth (LR: 22)
23. Christopher Bell (LR: 25)
24. Bubba Wallace (LR: 26)
25. Cole Custer (LR: 24)
26. Michael McDowell (LR: 27)
27. Ty Dillon (LR: 22)
28. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (LR: 30)
29. Ryan Preece (LR: 28)
30. Daniel Suarez (LR: NR)