Post-Michigan Power Ranking for the NASCAR Cup Series

NASCAR Cup power ranking post-Michigan gives a perspective of drivers and how they are doing as the 2020 regular season winds down.
BROOKLYN, MICHIGAN – AUGUST 09: Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Apple Ford, crosses the finish line over Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota, to win the NASCAR Cup Series Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 09, 2020, in Brooklyn, Michigan. Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Post-Michigan Power Ranking for the NASCAR Cup Series gives a perspective of drivers and how they are doing as the 2020 regular season winds down.

At this point in 2020, there isn’t anything too peculiar about running back-to-back races at the same track in one weekend. There also isn’t anything unusual about Kevin Harvick finding himself in victory lane. Despite that, it was a bit unfamiliar to watch the same Harvick car win two straight races, both for points, on the same track, on two straight days. Harvick picked up his fifth and sixth wins at Michigan, dominating two races on the two-mile track. The Cup Series playoffs are now just three weeks (four races) away, and the field is beginning to take shape. 

1.Kevin Harvick

LR: 2

Michigan Results: 1st (Sat.), 1st (Sun.)

Harvick had an utterly dominant weekend at Michigan, cementing his place as 2020’s top driver by picking up his fifth and sixth wins in back-to-back fashion. He also became the first driver to win Cup points races on consecutive days since Richard Petty. Harvick’s lead at the top of the standings is now nearly insurmountable.

2. Denny Hamlin

LR: 1

Michigan Results: 6th, 2nd

Last week, Hamlin claimed the top spot in the power ranking when he overtook Kevin Harvick with his fifth win. Harvick now has six, and while Hamlin was still good in the Michigan doubleheader, he certainly didn’t match Harvick. Two top-ten finishes are nothing to scoff at, though.

3. Brad Keselowski

LR: 3

Michigan Results: 2nd, 38th

After nearly grabbing a win at his home track in the Saturday race, Keselowski appeared to be in a position to win again before taking himself, as well as teammate Ryan Blaney, out of the race in a wreck. The 38th-place result essentially took away any chance Keselowski had of catching Kevin Harvick for the regular-season title. 

4. Martin Truex Jr.

LR: 6

Michigan Results: 3rd, 3rd

Two third-place finishes for Truex at Michigan made up what was a pretty solid doubleheader. Truex wasn’t necessarily flashy in either race but did a good job giving himself a chance to take the checkered on both Saturday and Sunday and picking up plenty of points in the process. It’s still shocking that Truex has just one Martinsville victory to his credit this year, but he’s picked up his performance recently.

5. Joey Logano

LR: 4

Michigan Results: 8th, 5th

Logano’s crash at Kansas a few weeks ago is spoiling an otherwise great last five races. Aside from Kansas, Logano has finished third, fourth, eighth, and fifth in his races since Texas. He is contending for victories and leading some laps along the way. It’s now been 18 races since Logano went to victory lane at Phoenix, but these recent results are encouraging.

6. Aric Almirola

LR: 5

Michigan Results: 16th, 6th

Michigan brought an interesting set of results for Aric Almirola. Saturday saw Almirola drop backward for the majority of the day with a car that struggled badly for handling. He was able to salvage a top-20 finish, but his streak of nine straight top-tens ended. On Sunday, Almirola and crew chief Mike Bugarewicz had a bit of a miscommunication in terms of coming to pit road, which nearly cost him a great result. Luckily, he had a well-timed caution and was able to finish sixth, allowing Almirola to hold his ground.

7. Chase Elliott

LR: 7

Michigan Results: 7th, 9th

Michigan was a nice weekend for Elliott, who’s now finished 12th or better in seven of the past eight races following a relatively cold streak prior. This solid stretch has allowed Elliott to hold fifth in the standings for over a month, and his performance appears to be rebounding at the perfect time with the playoffs just four races away.

8. Ryan Blaney

LR: 8

Michigan Results: 4th, 37th

Like teammate Brad Keselowski, the Michigan doubleheader was a tale of two races for Blaney. The reason for that is pretty clear, as both drivers ran very well on Saturday and were upfront on Sunday before wrecking with one another and seeing their days end early. Blaney appeared to be a legitimate contender for the win in Sunday’s race, but with three finishes of 20th or worse in the past four races, he needs a rebound.

9. Kyle Busch

LR: 11

Michigan Results: 5th, 4th

Solid weekend for Kyle Busch, who still hasn’t won a race, but appears to be accepting that top-five results are alright for now. He jumped back ahead of his brother Kurt Busch in the point standings, and despite his relative lack of success in 2020, Busch still has the third most top-five finishes in the series, behind only Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin.

10. Kurt Busch

LR: 10

Michigan Results: 10th, 10th

Kurt Busch picked up another couple of top-ten finishes at Michigan, albeit at the back end of the top-ten. Busch hasn’t won a race and hasn’t truly contended all that much this season, but he has kept himself inside the top-ten of the standings by staying extremely consistent. Busch’s average finish (11.3), is fourth-best in the series, behind Harvick, Hamlin, and Keselowski.

11. Matt DiBenedetto

LR: 12

Michigan Results: 15th, 7th

As the playoffs continue to draw closer and closer, DiBenedetto has built a cushion that should be safe, provided he doesn’t completely implode, and a non-playoff driver doesn’t win a race. Then again, DiBenedetto could just lock himself into the playoffs with a victory of his own. Four of DiBenedetto’s seven top-ten finishes are in the past eight races, and his Wood Brothers Ford is starting to roll.

12. Tyler Reddick

LR: 9

Michigan Results: 18th, 24th

It was a bit of a disappointing weekend for Reddick, who needed to make a splash at Michigan to draw himself closer to the back end of the playoff field. As the season currently stands, Reddick is 36 points behind William Byron for the final spot. He’s got four races to make that spot up, including one at the Daytona Road Course and one at the Daytona Oval, both of which could provide unpredictable finishes.

13. Clint Bowyer

LR: 13

Michigan Results: 19th, 14th

With finishes of 19th and 14th, Bowyer’s run of mid-pack finishes continues. He has now finished inside the top-20, though no better than 11th, in seven consecutive races. For Bowyer, it’s good that he has a cushion of 60 points over Erik Jones, who is currently the first man out. Continuing to run where he is will get him into the playoffs, but won’t get him much further.

14. William Byron

LR: 15

Michigan Results: 14th, 12th

Byron may not have run in the top-ten in either Michigan race, but he did his job in terms of maintaining his playoff gap. One top-ten finish in his last seven races is a bit concerning, but as most other bubble drivers do, Byron will have both Daytona races circled on his calendar. Either one will be a golden opportunity for Byron to lock himself in, regardless of points.

15. Alex Bowman

LR: 14

Michigan Results: 21st, 36th

If not for Bowman’s blazing start to the season (top-five in points through nine races), he may be battling with teammates William Byron and Jimmie Johnson for a playoff bubble spot right now. Luckily for Bowman, his win at Auto Club has him locked in, but his average finish of 18.0 is worse than every playoff driver except Cole Custer.

16. Austin Dillon

LR: 16

Michigan Results: 31st, 8th

Race number one was a poor one for Dillon, who struggled throughout and had issues even keeping up with the pack, but the Sunday edition was much better, resulting in his sixth top-ten finish (first since his win at Texas). With Dillon locked into the postseason via that win, his main focus right now is tuning the car up to run better in those crucial races.

17. Jimmie Johnson

LR: 18

Michigan Results: 12th, 11th

Like teammate William Byron, Johnson put together a pair of decent races but wasn’t able to put together a top-ten result at Michigan. Johnson is attempting to catch Byron in the standings to sneak into the playoffs in his final full-time season. It’s getting to the point where Johnson is likely to need a win to make it.

18. Christopher Bell

LR: 19

Michigan Results: 13th, 17th

It’s a shame that Bell took about fifteen races to get his feet under him in the Cup series, because otherwise, he may be contending for a playoff spot. Through nine races, Bell was 29th in the points standings. Since then, he’s picked up ten spots to 19th and is the top driver in what would be considered the ‘win to get in’ category. Bell getting Leavine Family Racing a win in their final season would be a bittersweet ending.

19. Cole Custer

LR: 17

Michigan Results: 34th, 25th

Michigan was a pretty poor weekend for Custer, not that it matters due to his playoff status. He still has four top-tens in his last seven races, after just one in his first 15. So hopefully, Michigan was just a blip in what has otherwise been a good stretch for the rookie. Custer now has four races to get back on track before they begin to matter for the No. 41.

20. Bubba Wallace

LR: 22

Michigan Results: 9th, 21st

Bubba Wallace grabbed his fourth top-ten finish of the season on Saturday, but probably more importantly, Wallace is continuing to add sponsorship to his team. DoorDash joined the No. 43 camp on Friday, agreeing to be the primary sponsor for the car for seven races. Regardless of if Wallace stays with Richard Petty Motorsports or drives elsewhere, his funding looks more and more set.

BEST OF THE REST

21. Erik Jones (20)

22. Matt Kenseth (24)

23. Michael McDowell (21)

24. Ty Dillon (25)

25. John Hunter Nemechek (23)

26. Chris Buescher (27)

27. Ryan Newman (26)

28. Daniel Suarez (29)

29. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (28)

30. Ryan Preece (30)

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