Kevin Harvick added another win to his total on Sunday during the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The race featured minimal on track incidents which led to long green flag runs. Harvick led 151 of the 325 laps with Martin Truex Jr leading 65 laps and Clint Bowyer leading the field for 58 laps.
The final stage did not see a single caution which allowed Harvick to lap a majority of the field. When he grabbed the checkers, only 10 cars remained on the lead lap.
Truex Jr. added the most points to his tally after winning both stages before driving the #19 into third place on the day.
Click here to see last week’s power rankings.
1. Kevin Harvick
With his second win on the season, Harvick finds himself at the top of this week’s TGH Power Rankings. With the win, Harvick extends his lead in the points standings. He now leads second-place Joey Logano by 48 points. If Harvick continues to put up consistent finishes he might run away with the regular-season points championship. Harvick led the most laps on the day with 151, most of which came in the final stage. Harvick moves on to Martinsville where he has finished in the top ten in each of his last four races at the short track. Look for Harvick to potentially add yet another win this Wednesday.
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2. Chase Elliott
Chase Elliott retains his spot in the power rankings with an eighth-place finish on Sunday. He also finished in the points in both stages while leading 26 laps on the day. Although he didn’t seem to be a threat to grab the win at Atlanta, he was consistently in the top ten all race. He is in third place in the points standings. He has 10 playoff points to his name due to a series-leading five stage wins on the season.
3. Brad Keselowski
Brad Keselowski drops in the power rankings this week due to no fault of his own. In fact, Keselowski added another top ten by finishing 9th at Atlanta. He drops in the rankings due to Harvick’s win and Elliott’s 40 points on the day. Keselowski managed to grab a respectable 31 points including an eighth-place finish in Stage 2. With two wins under his belt, Keselowski shares the lead with teammate Joey Logano for most playoff points with 12. The driver of the #2 Ford should be excited as he moves on to one of his best tracks on the circuit. In his last four races, he boasts four top tens, three top fives and a win. Look for Bad Brad to park it in victory lane for his third win on the season.
4. Denny Hamlin
Denny Hamlin maintains his spot with a fifth-place finish at Atlanta. Hamlin was strong most of the day with a pair of fourth-place finishes in the two stages on Sunday. He adds 46 points to his total putting him in sixth in the Cup Series point standings. Hamlin has an impressive five career wins at Martinsville where he looks to add a third win on the season.
5. Martin Truex Jr.
Martin Truex Jr. seems to have broken through this weekend with an impressive run at Atlanta. Truex parked the #19 in third on the day while winning both stages. His two stage wins mark his first playoff points on the season. Known for his ability to rack up playoff points through his many stage wins, it is surprising it took Truex this long to win a stage. Despite his early-season woes, Truex has the opportunity to cement himself as a championship contender this weekend at Martinsville. As the defending race winner, Truex has something to prove this weekend.
6. Kyle Busch
Kyle Busch continues to be consistent this season with a second-place finish at Atlanta. Unfortunately for Busch, the #4 was too strong in the final run and he wasn’t given the chance to compete for the win. Still, without a race win or a single playoff point, Busch needs to hit the turbo if he wants to defend his championship at Pheonix this year. The good news for Busch is that we are heading to Martinsville on Wednesday. With 29 career starts at the track, Busch has finished in the top five in a stunning 55% of the races at the short track. While he only has two wins at Martinsville, he is the odds on favorite to win on Wednesday (7-2).
7. Joey Logano
Joey Logano finished the day with a top ten by finishing in tenth place, but he was unable to capture points in either stage. Frankly, he was not a factor for the win despite leading 10 laps. Logano sits at second in the points standings, but Chase Elliot is on his heels. In his last four starts at Martinsville, Logano has three top tens and a win.
8. Ryan Blaney
Ryan Blaney has looked to be one of the strongest cars since leaving Darlington. First, he grabbed two third-place finishes during the races at Charlotte. At Bristol, Blaney looked to be a potential contender to grab the win before spinning and being taken out of the race when Ty Dillon took off his front nose. This week at Atlanta, Blaney grabbed a top-five and finished in the points in both stages. In his last five races at Martinsville, Blaney has four top tens and three top-fives. He will also start on the pole for Wednesday’s race after a random draw. Look for the #12 to contend for a win late.
9. Kurt Busch
After failing inspection three times, Kurt Busch started the race in dead last and was forced to pass through pit road on the opening lap of the race. After only a few laps, Busch already found himself a lap down. With his team’s inspection problems, Busch had quite the hole to dig out of if he wanted to salvage the weekend. Busch showed that he had a strong car and was able to race his way to take the lucky dog early on in the race. After getting his lap back, it took Busch until the final stage to work his way into the top ten. He finished the day in an impressive sixth position given the circumstances. Considering how his day started, his team should certainly be happy with their #1 Chevrolet. He falls one spot due to his inspection issues and his inability to grab points in either stage.
10. Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie Johnson continues to put together consistent runs. In this weekend’s race, Johnson earned points in both stages and finished in seventh on the day. Jimmie is now moving in the right direction in his final season. The NASCAR Cup Series moves on to Martinsville where Jimmie has nine of his 83 wins in NASCAR’s top series. Unfortunately, he has not run that strong at Martinsville as of late. He does not have a single top ten in his last six races at the shortest track on the schedule.
11. Alex Bowman
Alex Bowman continues to fall down the TGH power rankings much like he is falling down the Cup Series standings. The speed the #88 showed early in the season decided not to return from hiatus. After his second-place finish in the first race back at Darlington, Bowman has not posted a single top ten. He now sits in eighth place in the Cup Series standings. After the first Darlington race, Bowman sat in second in the standings. Bowman looks to turn things around at a track where he has posted only a single top ten in eight career races. He needs to turn things around if he wants to avoid a further tumble down the point standings.
12. Austin Dillon
Austin Dillon continues to be an unexpected member of the top 16 in the Cup Series standings. Thanks to continued consistency, Dillon now sits in 14th in the Cup Series standings. Unfortunately for Dillon, the cut line is crowded with other drivers looking to race their way into the playoffs. If Dillon continues to post consistent finishes while grabbing some stage points on the way, he may be able to point his way into the playoff field in 2020. He managed to finish just outside the top ten in 11th at Atlanta.
13. Erik Jones
Erik Jones continues to underwhelmed and now finds himself on the bubble of the Cup Series standings. The problem for Jones this season has been consistency. He has failed to finish in the top 20 four times this season despite not having a single DNF. In order to rise in the Cup Series standings, Jones needs to salvage decent finishes when his car may not be a race winner. He is in a disappointing 16th in the standings and has yet to win a stage this season. Martinsville has been a disappointment thus far in his young career. In six career races, he only has a single top-20 where he finished a disappointing 17th.
14. Clint Bowyer
Clint Bowyer makes his first appearance in the power rankings after leading 58 laps at Atlanta. Early in the race, Bowyer seemed to be a potential contender for the race win. Unfortunately, Bowyer had a tire go down three different times which forced him to settle for 20th on the day. Bowyer moves into the top-15 in power rankings because he showed speed this weekend. His team has its work cut out for them as they investigate what caused their tires to blow on three separate occasions. In his last five races at Martinsville, Bowyer has three top tens and a win. He may show more speed this week.
15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is another driver making their first appearance in the power rankings. Stenhouse has shown speed lately and finished in 13th at Atlanta with a 7th place finish in Stage 1. Despite his spot in 20th in the standings, Stenhouse has shown speed for the first time this season. He is driving for an underfunded team in JTG Daugherty where his teammate, Ryan Preece, is currently in 30th in the standings. He is surely getting the most out of his equipment in recent races and therefore deserves a debut in the power rankings this week.
Falling out of the rankings: John Hunter Nemechek (was 14th) and Tyler Reddick (was 15th)
Featured Image courtesy of NASCAR Media
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