Following each race, I will rank the top 20 drivers based off of their finish over the weekend, their previous ranking and the momentum they’re carrying into the next race. Below the driver’s name, you can see a ↑ or ↓ that indicates whether they’ve climbed the rankings, fallen down the rankings, or ↔ indicating their ranking did not change. If a driver is new to the top 20 ranking, a “↑NPR” (not previously ranked) will be shown next to the “Change:” indicator.
1. Kevin Harvick
Kevin Harvick returns to the top spot after his big win at Dover. He swept both stages and took home the checkered flag for the fourth time this season after leading 201 of the 400 laps. He’s still third in the point standings, but he sits first in playoff points 19. He’s got two career wins at Kansas, where NASCAR travels to for a Saturday night race. Harvick has finished in the top-8 in his last four straight trips there, and five of his last six.
2. Kyle Busch
Rowdy slips from the top spot for the first time in a long time after his 35th place finish. Busch had a strong car all afternoon at Dover, running third for most of the day, until his drive shaft snapped shortly after the end of stage two. He’s still atop the point standings, but he has lost his momentum from his three straight victories. Busch has one career win at Kansas and is riding a streak of six straight top-10s at the track.
3. Joey Logano
Logano’s streak of six straight top-10 finishes came to an end at Dover after finishing 13th. This was just his second finish this season outside of the top-10, the other being a 19th at Phoenix. Logano has two victories to his name at Kansas, but his results at the track have been scattered recently. His last five races at the track have resulted in finishes of 21st, 37th, third, 38th, and first dating back to 2015. He’ll be looking to start another streak of top-10s on Saturday night.
4. Clint Bowyer
Bowyer had a shot at his second win of the season, but was beat out by his teammate. The race was put under red flag due to rain with Bowyer leading. It was past the halfway point, so if the rain continued the race would be called, but unfortunately for him, the race was able to resume. Although he didn’t win, he finished with a solid second place. Bowyer has his work cut out for him at Kansas. He’s only finished in the top-10 once over his last nine starts at the track.
5. Martin Truex Jr.
Truex Jr. got back on track at Dover, getting back into the top-10 for the first time since fourth-place finish at Martinsville, five races prior. His fourth-place finish was his sixth top-5 of the season, and he sits at ninth in the point standings. Truex Jr. has won the last two races at Kansas, so expect him to contend for his third straight at the track.
6. Brad Keselowski
Keselowski had a solid run at Dover, earning him a sixth-place finish. He sits fourth in the point standings heading into Kansas. He has one win at Kansas, but it came back in 2011. Since then he’s earned six top-10s, one being a runner-up finish in the spring race last season. It’s a little surprising that we’re 11 races into the season and Kes’ hasn’t won, but that shouldn’t last much longer.
7. Denny Hamlin
Hamlin finished seventh at Dover and was able to avoid speeding penalties this week. Hamlin has sped on pit road more than any other driver this season, including two last week at Talladega. He’ll hope to evade the pit road police at Kansas on Saturday night where he has one career victory that came back in 2012. He’s been sporadic over his last five at Kansas, with finishes of fifth, 23rd, 15th, 37th, and second.
8. Kurt Busch
Kurt Busch was the third Stewart Haas Racing ford to place in the top-5 at Dover. He finished in the fifth spot, marking his second top-5 of the season, and also his second in a row. He climbs to sixth in the point standings with this solid run. He’s never won at Kansas but has four top-10s over his last six races at the track. He hasn’t visited victory lane in more than a year, his last win came at the Daytona 500 to open the 2017 season.
9. Ryan Blaney
Blaney had a solid eighth-place run at Dover and finds himself seventh in the points heading into Kansas. He’s been solid at Kansas in his young career, with an average finish of 10.0 this far. He’s finished in the top-7 four times in his six starts and he earned a pole start in this race last season. This Penske driver is definitely one to watch on Saturday.
10. Kyle Larson
Larson was slated to start on the pole at Dover, but a pre-race inspection failure landed him at the rear. He was able to battle back for a 10th place finish, his sixth top-10 of the year. Larson has never won at Kansas and his number need some work. He had an average finish of 21.0 and only has two top-10s over his eight starts. But, he did earn one of his top-10s, a sixth place, in this race last season.
11. Jimmie Johnson
Johnson continues to move up the point standings each week after a dreadfully slow start to the season. He’s now made it up to the 12th position, 198 points back from Kyle Busch in first. Johnson’s numbers at Kansas are stellar, including three career wins, nine top-5s, and 17 top-10s. This is a great shot for him to break his career-long winless streak that he’s currently on.
12. Aric Almirola
Almirola nearly grabbed a top-10 at Dover but he fell just one position short, finishing the day in 11th. He was forced to start at the rear after failing inspection. Almirola hasn’t had the best of luck at Kansas that’s for sure. In this race last year he go into a hard crash with Joey Logano and Danica Patrick, and the result for him was broken back and several missed races. He rebounded very well with a solid ninth-place run at Kansas in the fall playoff race.
13. Chase Elliott
Elliott came into the race as a favorite to contend for the win. His average finishing position of 3.25 heading into the race was the best in the series, but he didn’t live up to the expectations. He ran around 10th all afternoon but finished 12th. Elliott has been hit or miss at Kansas in his short career. He has finishes of ninth, 31st, 29th and fourth across his four starts.
14. Daniel Suarez
Suarez matched his career-best finish of third at Dover on Sunday. He ran a stellar race and was able to bring home a solid third place finish. The finish was his first top-5 of the season and his fourth top-10 run of the year. Over his last four races he’s finished 11th, 10th, 10th and third. In his two starts at Kansas, Suarez has a seventh-place finish and a 36th place finish in the fall race after being involved in a crash.
15. William Byron
Byron finished 14th in his first career Monster Energy series start at Dover. The rookie continues to look more comfortable each week as NASCAR rolls into Kansas. He’ll be making his first Monster Energy series start on Saturday night at Kansas, but he did run the track last season in the Xfinity series. He finished fourth in the fall playoff race, the highest finisher of all the playoff drivers.
16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Stenhouse Jr. finished outside the top-10 in 15th, but he actually led 24 laps in the race. The finishing position isn’t very indicative of how well he ran for most of the afternoon, but his Roush Fenway Ford faded late in the race. Stenhouse Jr. has some serious work to do this weekend a Kansas. He’s never earned a top-10 at the track over his 10 starts and has an average finish of 19.1.
17. Alex Bowman
Bowman got trapped a couple laps down for the most of the race and wasn’t able to bounce back from it. He had a fast car that could have competed for a top-15 or even a top-10, but luck was never on his side in terms of getting his laps back. In five career starts at Kansas, Bowman has a putrid average finish of 29.6. But, in his one race at the track in Hendrick equipment, filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr., he finished seventh.
18. Erik Jones
Jones finished 18th at Dover, one lap down. He ran in the high-teens for most of the race and was always one lap down. For the majority of the race he was the first car one lap down but just couldn’t catch a break to get his lap back. Jones’ stats at Kansas are not good. In his three career stats at the circuit his average finish sits at 32.3, with his worst finish of 40th coming back in 2015 when he filled in for an injured Kyle Busch.
19. Austin Dillon
Dillon struggled again this past week as he finished the day in the 26th position. The finish was his sixth straight finish outside the top-10 and his ninth over the last 10 races. Dillon has three top-10s over his nine starts at Kansas and an average finish of 17.6. He sits 18th in the points, 221 points behind Kyle Busch.
20. Ryan Newman
Newman finished the race 23 laps down in the 33rd position. He struggled all afternoon and experience several issues that put him that many laps down. Newman has one career victory at Kansas, but it came all the way back in 2003. He has earned three top-5s and seven top-10s over his 24 starts at the track.
Falling out of the rankings: —
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